Springtime in Colorado often brings about what some call a “rite of passage” from one season into the next, especially when it comes to skiing and riding. It’s the time of year when we get to see totally rational people – or not – don their wackiest costumes and try to ski, board, scoot, or slide on some other crazy device across a stretch of icy water. Yeah, sure, that makes sense.

The event, which has become not just a tradition, but an annual ritual across North America since the 1920s, is known by many names – slush cups, slush hucks, but most popular – pond skimming. Many resorts throughout Colorado wrap up their winter season with some variation of pond skimming. Test your talent, slip on your best silly costume, and celebrate the end of an epic season. Or, if participating is not for you, being a spectator on the sidelines is just as entertaining.

Whether partaking or spectating, here are a few tips for enjoying the most cheers, laughs, thumbs up, and high fives to this crazy, unique pastime!

Tips for Pond Skimming

Sign Up Ahead of Time

First and foremost, participation is quite popular, so it’s important to register for any pond skimming event well ahead of time to make sure you have a spot on the contest list.  Many resorts have an entry limit of the first 50 or 100 participants to sign up. It would be a bummer to show up day of on your skis, blades, or board, donning your best speedo, water wings, and sunglasses only to find out the list is full.

Pond Skimming Skills Tips

  • Wax your skies / snowboard beforehand – the wax will naturally repel the water and keep you above it.
  • Tips up!! Skis or board flat.
  • Go for maximum speed when you hit the water.
  • Aim straight forward.
  • Have fun!!

What To Wear Pond Skimming

Costumes are always a great way to earn the crowd’s attention. In fact, the duds you choose to wear while pond skimming can really make or break the decibel of cheering you’ll receive. Making it across or “yard sale-ing” into the pond is immensely more enjoyable to watch if the skimmer is wearing something completely ridiculous. Here are some creatively wacky ideas:

  • Scuba Steve – Water wings or floaties add that finishing touch on a “Scuba Steve” theme, while also providing additional protection and safety.
  • Random Collection – This mismatch of random sweaters, ski pants, jackets, and other patchy outdoor wear tells the crowd you are a true individual.
  • Beach Babe – Need we say more? A costume left to the imagination for either gender, and is sure to win both wanted and maybe not so favorable cheers and sneers from the crowd.
  • Here Come the Bride – Bridal costumes get plenty of stares on water, just as they do on land. Throw a groom in there and a couple of bridesmaids and you’ve got a party.
  • American Superhero – And of course, everyone loves a Superhero, whether it’s Superman, Wonder Woman, Mighty Mouse, and yes, even Scuba Steve.

Choose Your Equipment

Equipment rules and regulations vary by resort, so be sure to check out each resort’s website for specific details before heading out. For the most part, though, you can apply the general rule:  “if it slides on snow, you’re good to go!” While skis, snowboards, split-boards, and mono-boards are most commonly used for skimming, other popular toys include: tele mark skis, toboggans, sleds, surfboards, snow blades, snow scooters and yes, even snow bikes. Just be sure to wear extra padded biking chamois!

Snow blades and snow scooters seem to be taking the pond-skimming world by storm these days. Both have a lower swing weight than traditional skis, making it easier to trick and spin and get yourself into all sorts of wacky positions – and of course, more crowd pleasing attention.

Where To Pond Skim in Colorado

While a handful of these resorts have already enjoyed their own variations of pond skimming, Loveland, Breckenridge, and Arapahoe Basin have yet to celebrate their closing days. If you haven’t put away yours skis or that board for the season, we highly recommended taking advantage of this ceremonial ski activity. Cheers to an epic season, we’ll see you out there!