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Sloshing Around at the Annual North American Pond Skimming Championships

pond_skimmingAs the warm weather enters and ushers out winter, snow turns to slush on mountains, but that doesn’t mean that ski and snowboard competition ends.

That’s right, it’s time for pond-skimming contests at ski resorts nationwide to commence.

In Bend, Oregon, they’ll be celebrating the annual National Pond Skimming Championships at Mt. Bachelor on May 16. Each year the event marks the beginning of summer activities at the resort.

Full Sail Brewing Company is sponsoring the event, with an entry fee of $30 for the traditional skimming event and the Dash for Cash or $40 total to enter both. A cash prize is available for the winners of both events.

If you’re unfamiliar with pond skimming, here’s how it works:

Costume-clad skiers and snowboarders bravely gain speed down the mountain (a few hundred yards worth) in order to build up enough momentum to ‘skim’ across the freezing cold, icy, slush-filled pond that awaits them at the bottom.

With crowds cheering and judges scrutinizing with a discerning eye, contestants either successfully glide across the pond, or fail altogether. The trick is to reach the other side unsullied, and more importantly dry (and warm). Those unable to navigate the stretch of partially frozen water will be questioning whether they entered a pond skimming contest or took part in the Polar Bear Plunge.

The panel of judges scores each participant in three areas: style, distance and appearance, with the last component typically carrying some hefty weight. Of course everyone appreciates the skill and talent that entrants exhibit, but the wilder and more exotic the costume, the more of a fan favorite a person becomes.

The Dash for Cash consists of any obstacle course in the water; staying dry is not even an option for competitors as they traverse the water seeking to gain favor of judges.

On top of the competition itself, pond-skimming events are typically accompanied by great revelry filled with great drink, food and music. To take part, check your local resort’s calendar or join the folks up in Bend, Oregon.

The origins of the time-held tradition are unknown, but its popularity as a seminal springtime tradition at many resorts is undeniable.

-Ryan O'Leary

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