snowboard pond skimming

A Guide To Snowboard Pond Skimming [2024]

by Fraser

As the season draws to a close, you’ve probably noticed the rise of one particular event…

Pond skimming!

Resorts around the world are promoting this crazy new sport.

But what is snowboard pond skimming?

Should you get involved?

Let’s dive skim right in!

What Is Pond Skimming?

Pond skimming is a popular snowboarding and skiing event involving participants attempting to glide across a pool of water on their boards or skis.

This crazy event is usually held towards the end of the winter season, when the weather is warming up and we’re a bit less precious about getting our gear wet. 

man snowboard pond skimming

What Is The Point Of Pond Skimming?

This part is simple… fun! 

Pond skimming is often paired with the now infamous gaper day; a day towards the end of the season when rider’s wear ludicrous outfits and drink one too many beers. 

The other objective of pond skimming is to gather enough speed and momentum to travel across the water without sinking or falling in.

Participants typically build up speed by riding down a snow-covered ramp or hill, and then launch themselves onto the pond’s surface. 

Most snowboarding pond skimming events now place a jump at the end of the pond. Those who reach the other side will throw in an extra trick for the crowd!

Who Organizes Pond Skimming Events?

Pond skimming events are often organized as competitions or exhibitions. Participants are encouraged to dress up in creative costumes before hitting the water (or not – if they can avoid it).

As you might imagine, most riders end up taking a spill. This inevitably results in laughter and cheers from the crowd.

Biggest Pond Skimming Events

Spring Fest 2023

Snowboard Pond Skim Tips

Pond skimming requires skill, balance, and a touch of insanity. Take it from me, that water is freaking cold! 

Prepare yourself for the (high) chance of getting wet. Secure your electronics before taking the plunge! 

Here are some more tips for your snowboard pond skim debut:

  1. Speed is your friend!
    You’ll be tempted to start out slowly. Don’t! You need enough speed to carry you across the water smoothly. Straight-line that run-in if you have to. 
  2. Keep your nose up. 
    Sinking the nose will cause you to sink, fast. Shift your weight over onto your back leg. 
  3. Dress to impress. 
    Today is not the day for your new gore-tex outerwear! Wear something a little extra. Bonus points for an 80’s style jumpsuit or costume. 
  4. Don’t jump (onto the water).
    This is a sure-fire way to slam… although the crowd will love you for it. Instead, try to smoothly “glide” on by leaning back. 
  5. Keep your base flat. 
    This maximises surface area and minimises the risk of edge catching. Now is not the time to show off your carves!
  6. Don’t look down!
    Focus on the opposite side of the pond. This helps to naturally shift your weight and maintain balance. 
  7. Armor up.  
    Consider a helmet, goggles and any additional padding. Water is pretty firm when you’re moving at speed. 
  8. Prepare to fail/fall. 
    Realistically, most people don’t make it across. That’s part of the fun. Embrace it!

Snowboard Pond Skimming Footage

Enough talk, I’m sure you’re ready for some light entertainment!

First up, here’s a super fun edit from Heavenly Mountain Resort. 

Next, a pond skim montage from Mammoth Mountain. 

Finally, another Mammoth Mountain edit, but this year, they added a grind rail. Madness!!

Is Pond Skimming Dangerous?

Pond skimming is not particularly dangerous, though inevitably runs a small risk of injury. 

Be prepared for the possibility of getting wet and wear appropriate clothing for protection. Safety measures are usually in place, including lifeguards and rescue teams. 

This probably goes without saying, but never pond skim on your snowboard without these safety measures in place. Cold water shock is dangerous, make sure you have buddies on hand to fish you out!

Final Thoughts

Pond skimming on your snowboard isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. 

Get it right and you’ll glide gracefully across the water in front of an adoring crowd. 

Get it wrong and you’ll crash-land in the water, in front of an even happier crowd!

Planning on giving it a try? 

Let me know how you get on. Or even better… send in the footage!

Happy riding.

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