There’s something about spring that brings the wackiness out of skiers. It could be the ample amount of sunshine, the deep snow pack or maybe that the season is almost over. Perhaps this is how Pond Skimming came to be. A competition or rite of passage as some would describe it, contestants ski or snowboard into a frigid pool or ‘pond’ with the goal of skimming across to the other side. Here are the most unique pond skimming events in North America going down this April & May.
Most Unique Pond Skimming Events (Order by Date)
Pond Skimming (Sugarbush)
Longest Pond in United States
Date: April 4, 2020
Spring is a time of contrasts in Vermont. One day it might snow and the next, the dirt mountain roads become ‘slop’ during the infamous mud season. Those hearty East Coasters always seem to take it in stride. Makes sense that this would be where the OLDEST continuously running pond skimming event in the United States would exist. Adding to that, the Sugarbush event also claims to have the longest stretch of water to skim in the United States. How long you ask? 120 feet!!! That’s like a 12 story building.
19th annual World Pond Skimming Championships (Vail)
Spoof on the World Alpine Championship
Date: April 12, 2020
The first thing you’ll think when you read the title World Pond Skimming Championships is “Who crowned this event with such a big name?” Well, it started as a spoof on the World Alpine Championship way back in 1999. Now as part of the ‘Spring Back to Vail’ Festival, this is a rowdy event filled with thousands of spectators. If you aren’t into skimming, don’t worry. There’s music, fun, and all kinds of other happenings going on to close out their season. But if you do want to try for the Golden Skimmer, the top male and female finishers will receive a 2020/21 Epic Pass! Actually, all participants will get a special Helly Hansen backpack and there will be other prizes awarded to the best crash, best costume and more!
Longest pond skim in North America
Date: April 19, 2020
Tucked away in the eastern province of Quebec is an unassuming ski area called Parc Regional Val-d’Irene. As part of their 44th annual Parc-de-Snow party, they offer contestants a chance to pond skim across the longest pond in North America – 215 FEET. They’ll also be serving up three days of partying to go with it.
Red Bull Slopesoakers (Copper Mountain)
Pond Skim meets Slopestyle
Date: April 18, 2020
Leave it to Red Bull to take the pond skimming concept and apply their own style to it. First, over a 150 competitors are allowed to take on the course. Second, take two parts pond skim, one part slopestyle, mix it all together and VOILA! You have the Slopesoakers contest. Filled with a plethora of obstacles both on and over water, this is definitely a can’t-miss event.
Big Sky Pond Skim (Big Sky)
Most Creative Setup
Date: April 18, 2020
Big Sky pond skim is by far the most creative on the list. In 2011, the course contained two successive pools on the slope with a small area of snow between them. Then in 2014, there were two side-by-side water pools, one with a jump next to it and another with a long rail across it. If the past is any indicator, the 2019 edition will be just as off-the-wall and fun! No matter if your attempting to skim or just spectating, chances are you’ll be blown away. Just beware that if you do spectate, there’s a good chance you’ll get ‘hosed’ from the water spraying into the crowd.
Springfest Pond Skim (Stevens Pass)
Chuck-A-Duck, Dummy Downhill & More
Date: TBD – Late April
Not to be outdone by the other pond skimming events, the PNW Wonderland resort, Stevens Pass, holds their Springfest on the last weekend of the season. Besides the pond skim, they also have a dummy downhill race and a Chuck-a-Duck. The dummy downhill is like the demolition derby of skiing with chaos, mayhem and of course fun. The Chuck-a-Duck contest is where you attempt to throw a duck into a target out on the pond. The first five ducks to make it earn a FREE season pass for the 2019-20 season! You’ll get 1 ducky for $5 or 5 for $20. All proceeds go to the Outdoors for All non-profit.
30th Annual Cushing Crossing (Squaw Valley)
Done on an actual pond
Date: May 2, 2020
This pond skimming event is across a REAL pond named Lake Cushing, located just below the Gold Coast lift. The event is the brainchild of Jean Hagan, the woman in charge at the Squaw Valley Beer Garden. Jean and her staff plus Tom O’Neil of Olympic Plaza along with a group of ski bums cobbled together that year’s first event. Thirty years later, this event is still bumping along just as wild as the first one!
92nd annual Sunshine Village’s Slush Cup
The oldest Spring fest in North America
Date: May 18, 2020
Yes, you read that right! In it’s 92nd installment, this could be considered the grandfather of all spring events. Started by a couple of rowdy skiers in 1928 named Cliff Whyte and Cyril Paris, they discovered that fires and logging had created ready-made ski slopes all around Banff. After skiing deep powder all winter long, these ski bums along with their buddies, gathered to celebrate the snow-melt runoff and started what has become a tradition for finishing off the long ski season in Banff. Makes sense why we put these two resorts in our top 10 for spring skiing.