Pond skimming contests are a springtime ritual throughout ski country. These events-in which contestants attempt to cross a frigid pool of snowmelt-are an exhibitionist’s dream. There are two goals:
winning and creating the biggest spectacle. To win, you must cross the pond, but also stand out from the crowd. Distinguishing features run the gamut from eye-catching outfits to stunning dismounts, spectacular recoveries and unique vehicles (these range from double-binding tandem skis to Snurfers to high-speed sleds). Keep in mind that while fat skis are the obvious choice for flotation, most judges eschew them because they make the crossing too easy. Here are the basics: Get a good start-several strong pushes and a couple of skates. Then, grab your tuck and settle in for speed on the in-run. The more momentum you carry into the drink, the more maneuvers you’ll be able to execute.
Just before hitting the water, you want to lean back hard-but not too abruptly-to shift your weight to the rear of your vehicle (as if performing a sustained wheelie). If on skis, keep your feet and skis pointing straight and riding flat-catching an edge is the most common cause of wipeouts. Use your poles as rudders if necessary. If you find yourself crossing with ease, execute a signature move as you exit the pond, preferably something gymnastic.
If you’re not going to make it, have the presence of mind to go down with some flair. The judges and the crowd will appreciate it.