Christy Sports The Ridge Report
A Blog About Everything Skiing & Snowboarding in Colorado & Utah

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!

Why We Love Spring Skiing

We’ve experienced quite the year for epic amounts of powder, so hitting the slopes right now might not even feel like it can be classified as “spring skiing.” But, alas, spring has sprung and we’re getting stoked to make turns in the months to come. Here’s why we think Spring Skiing is the bee’s knees:

The Weather

Spring is filled with bluebird days and sun kissed lift rides. Above freezing temps and clear skies make for a highly satisfying day of shredding, if you ask us. But beyond the wonderful weather, spring brings us to the slopes to enjoy

LESS:

Crowds

Since most skiers traveling from afar don’t plan their ski vacations for springtime, the lift lines are generally much shorter and the runs less crowded. While tourist traffic is crucial in supporting the resorts and ski areas we love, a locals-only feel can be fun in the months of April and May.

Traffic

A less busy resort means less congested roads leading up to the mountains. Traffic on a powder- filled Saturday can be borderline unbearable. But enter the spring months and you’ll likely find the traffic lightening up significantly, even when the snow is still falling. A less painful commute to the slopes means a more enjoyable day of shredding.

Clothing

There is something so freeing about not freezing while flying down the mountain in just a shell. While we aren’t suggesting stepping out in a bikini, especially in the instance of falling, wearing less layers and feeling lighter is awesome. Maybe without having to pack your car to the brim you can fit an extra buddy in to join you on the slopes.

If those reasons aren’t enough to convince you to get on those skies or that board before the resorts close, there is undoubtedly such a thing as a “spring vibe” to be noted. Everyone is laid back and relaxed, getting plenty of vitamin D and S-turns in.

If you’re into late season skiing like we are, here are some resorts in Colorado and Utah that are open past April and their estimated closing dates:spring skiing

Arapahoe Basin– June 2nd

Breckenridge– May 27th

Loveland– May 5th

Snowbird– May 24th

We’ll see you out there! 

 

Ski Resort Closing Day Events

If you’re like most ski and ride enthusiasts you dread the talk about “closing day”, but don’t fear, the fun isn’t over just yet.  It’s time to break out the neon onesie, lather on the sunscreen, and prepare for pond skimming.

We have to face reality that the mountains will be closing. Our final laps on slopes are almost over, so take the time to enjoy one last final hoorah!  Check out the different spring skiing events happening at the mountain resorts.

Colorado Mountains Ski Resort Closing Day Events:

Breckenridge Closing Date: April 24, 2016

Spring Fever at Breckenridge doesn’t just last a day or weekend, it is a whole month long celebration during April. There will be live bands playing both weekends of April 9th and April 24th. The mountain and town also have other celebrations such as Breckenridge Spring Beer Festival, Spring Fever Park Jam, and The Imperial Challenge.

Copper Closing Date: Sunday, April 17, 2016

Wrap up the season at Copper Mountain’s Sunsation. From the Eenie Weenie Bikini contest to the RedBull Slopesoakers contest, you won’t want to miss out. Not to mention there will be live music, closing weekend both Saturday and Sunday afternoon!

Crested Butte Closing Date: April 3, 2016

Get that costume on that you’ve been saving up all winter for the Pond Skim. It’s okay to look completely ridiculous attempting to glide across the pond on your skis or snowboard. If the pond skim is not really your thing, give the Rail Jam a try! Then, wrap up the day with live music from various artists.

Keystone Closing Date: Sunday, April 10, 2016

You may wipe out or be the Slush Cup campion, for there are many chances to claim your fame during Keystone’s closing day. Keystone also offers a Slush Cup for the kiddos, so bring the whole family!

Steamboat Springs Closing Date: Sunday, April 10, 2016

Join in the fun at the Springalicious Festival with the Pond Skimming Championships kicking off in the morning. The closing party continues in the afternoon with Colorado’s own Leftover Salmon to ‘Rock the Boat’.

Winter Park Closing Date: April 27, 2016

Extended Closing Date: May 7, 2016  

The stage will start rocking on Saturday, April 23rd with an afternoon full of great artists and headliners, Americans Authors. Stay for Sunday and participate in the legendary Spring Splash heading into its 48th year.

Vail Closing Date: Sunday, April 10, 2016

Spring Back to Vail featuring the World Pond Skimming Championships will be entering its 14th year. Kick the party off on Friday, April 8th with a free concert at 5:30pm. All weekend the Vail Film Festival will be taking place and the Expo Village happening Friday and Saturday.

Arapahoe Basin Closing Date: TBD

The bash at A-Basin kicks off as the other mountains close and you can ski into summer!  Starting April 23rd, catch the Spring Concert Series every Saturday until Sunday June 5th. Reserve a spot at “The Beach” and bring the grill to celebrate any occasion. Don’t miss Colorado’s Largest Swimwear Parade on Skis happening May 21st.

Utah Mountains Ski Resort Closing Day Events:

Alta Closing Date: April 17, 2016

Alta in April is the perfect excuse to get to Utah as this party starts April 1st and continues right up until closing day. Events include educational workshops, an earth day celebration, demo day and live music; you won’t want to miss out on the non-stop fun to celebrate.

Park City Closing Date: April 10, 2016

The party has already started at Park City with events happening just about every day in March at Spring Grüv! The tradition started about 9 years ago and is still going strong featuring the Pond Skimming contest, live music, kids après activities, S’mores and more. There isn’t a reason not to go!

Snowbird Closing Date: May 15, 2016

Hearing of a later closing date is like a dream come true. We know where we will be making some turns in May! Snowbird’s Après-Ski Music features live music every Friday through Sunday in the spring.

While we hate to say goodbye to the slopes, we know one thing is for certain during the spring – Après starts earlier in the day, the sun is shining brighter, and the live music will be jamming to close out the season right.

Do you have a favorite resort to send the season off in style or a mountain that is guaranteed fun? Add a comment below. Don’t know what spring skiing essentials you’ll need? Find out more here.

*Please note that closing dates can change based on weather and snow conditions.