Updated March 11, 2019

Pond skimming competitions are a rite-of-spring in ski culture. Between March and May, ski areas across the world celebrate the end of the season with skiers and snowboarders gliding across a man-made pond in wild costumes.

Vermont pond skimming events have been around for 50 years. Sugarbush kicked off the annual tradition in 1969 when they bulldozed a pit in front of the Valley House Lodge at Lincoln Peak, where the event has been held every year since. The pit is lined with plastic and filled with water, creating a 120-foot-long stretch for skiers and riders to make their way across (or not).

Seeing what the contestants wear—which can range from wedding dresses to tutus to super hero costumes—is what makes pond skimming so festive and fun. You can watch or participate in pond skimming events at many Vermont resorts, including Sugarbush, Stratton, Burke, and Mount Snow.

How to Pond Skim

If you’re thinking of participating in a pond skimming event, Liftopia.com suggests keeping your tips up (but skis/board flat), go for maximum speed when you hit the water, and go straight. They also advise waxing your skis beforehand as the wax will naturally repel the water and keep you above it.

Banff in Canada is said to have the oldest pond skimming event in the world, and this year it will host the 91st Annual Slush Cup in May. In Vermont, pond skimming at most resorts takes place between late March and mid-April.

Craig Panarisi, vice president of mountain operations at Stratton, points out that pond skimming isn’t just a fun event, but an actual technique skiers have historically used to get down a mountain in the spring.

“I’ve worked at seven ski resorts beginning in 1982, and each and every one has held a pond skim,” he says. “Pond skimming was a result of spring melting on ponds and lakes, (and it was) simply in the way of skiers exiting the mountains, resort or not. I know from my guiding days that we would always skim small melted out sections of rivers or lakes, if that’s what it took to get off the glacier.”

Vermont Pond Skimming Events

vermont pond skimming events
Photos courtesy of Sugarbush Resort

Here’s a round-up of select pond skimming events taking place at ski areas around Vermont this year.

Burke Mountain
March 23, 2019

Mount Snow
March 23, 2019

Stratton Mountain
March 30, 2019

Middlebury Snow Bowl
March 31, 2019

Smugglers’ Notch
April 6, 2019

Okemo
April 6, 2019

Sugarbush Resort
April 6, 2019

Jay Peak
April 20, 2019

For more information about events at Vermont ski areas, visit www.skivermont.com.