The 'ultimate' bucket list for snow addicts...No.9
Our countdown to the number 1 bucket list of things you'd love to do but will never find the time continues with Number 9: Pond Skimming.
At some level, most people to have skied in Easter have (perhaps unknowingly) experienced pond skimming to some degree. In essence, pond skimming is skiing across a small amount of water- come May time at the bottom of the Alps, most people will have found troughs where the spring time slush has turned into summer time ponds. Now, multiply those small pools by a factor of 10 and you have your traditional pond skimming activity.
10/10 FOR CROWD ENJOYMENT, 0/10 FOR SELF-DIGNITY
To fail is to be a hero
The general rules of skiing still apply on water as they do on snow. When entering the pond with a bit of speed, it is paramount to keep one's tips up or risk a catastrophic (yet incredibly entertaining to the crowd) belly flop, ending your adventure prematurely, soaked through and depending on the size of the pond, perhaps even leaving your rescue to the life guards in a canoe. Entertaining to the audience it is, good for the ego it is not.
Conversely it is also vitally important to keep your weight balanced. Attacking the water with the weight in the back seat to avoid the dreaded aqua-skorpion risks the overtaking of the feet to the body and the opposite reaction: the ungainly back flop. Although it is still entertaining to the crowd (the skier still gets wet), the skier's implosion is far less impressive and the hapless individual will be left with a feeling of 'what could have been' and a degree of embarrassment from failing to understand the simple physics of skiing.
Now you might be asking "where can I do one of these?" Obviously, due to weather conditions and practical allowances, pond skimming can only be realistically enjoyed at the end of season. Attempting pond skimming in the winter months is too cold, too easy and ultimately a not very crowd-pleasing event. As funny as it is to see a penguin falling through ice on a nature show, the realities for humans is somewhat less entertaining and a degree more dangerous...
Many ski resorts across the world hold such events come the end of their seasons. Often a channel is carved out of the snow near the resort village, covered with a plastic sheet and filled up with water. Skimming an elongated bath tub will leave you with a sense of accomplishment though a successful crossing will likely leave the crowd disappointed; the dilemma between inner-fufillment and wider group gratification is yours alone to decide.
However, like the summit packages available at Snow Rehab, if you're going to invest in an event, why not do it properly? While some French ski resorts offer pond skimming more akin to roller-blading a hot tub than water skiing a river, a couple of resorts in the USA should be given special attention for their sheer outrageous events. How to make it harder? Add a kicker, force the skier to turn, or just make it 200ft long!
Squaw Valley's Cushing Crossing offers one of the longest pond skimming contests around. More akin to water skiing that a short jaunt across a man made pool- this is a pond that is uncovered by snow for 8 months a year!
Whatever you choose to do, know that accomplishing it makes you one step closer to completing the Snow Rehab Bucket List!