It’s that time of year again: when the sun comes out and the season draws to a close, you know it means the Spring Run-Off at Big Sky Resort. For the 7th year running, Big Sky is hosting its annual pond skim, one of the most exciting and entertaining events of the season, along with a whole host of activities to celebrate the end of another successful and snowy winter.
For those unfamiliar with the event, a pond skim really is exactly what it sounds like: people trying to skim across the surface of a pond on skis or snowboards. But this is not just any pond; this one is made of snow and ice – and once filled with water, the frozen walls provide very little insulation for the future swimmers.
The aim of the game is to ski or snowboard down the slope, then tackle the trickier terrain of the icy, cold water. Some skim across as easily as if it were light fluffy powder, others find it a little harder to navigate and succumb to the chilly waters. The acrobatics can be truly astounding; in previous years the event has seen nose dives, flips, cartwheels or just huge dive bombs creating tidal waves across the entire pond.
What makes it even more entertaining is that the skimmers and swimmers do not stick to regular ski attire. Crazy costumes abound; in the past clowns, scuba divers and gorillas have entered, along with a generous helping of people sporting capes, grass skirts and other amusing accessories. Some brave participants even decide that as they will probably end up swimming in the icy run-off, then swimwear, and swimwear only, seems the most appropriate thing to wear down the ski slope.
The event is free to watch, $20 to compete and comes with a t-shirt, and proves to be one of the most popular of the season. Whilst audience participation is not required, any daring spectators who venture too close may find themselves unwillingly included in the ‘swimming’ aspect of the pond skim, as they are doused with water when it sprays over the side. The screams of the splashed and the cheers for successful participants all add to the festive atmosphere.
The pond skim is the highlight of a whole day of festivities to mark the closing weekend of the winter season. Children’s activities will be available in the plaza, with live music from DJ Joe all afternoon. This year the pond skim event has been moved to the later time of 4p.m., as since the switch to daylight savings time skiers and boarders have been able to stay on the slopes for an extra hour until 5p.m. with Sunset Saturdays. Once the event is over, the party continues with the live band, The Cropdusters, on the plaza.
“After another fantastic winter season, it’s always fun to end with a bang,” says Dax Schieffer, Director of Big Sky Resort Public Relations. “The pond skim is great as it appeals to people of all ages, whether they ski or not, to ensure that everyone enjoys the last weekend that Big Sky is open.”