They are merely jesters in the court of ski. For one day each spring people laugh, and jeer, and cheer for them, but few truly understand.
For they are the pro pond skimmers, an elite group of intrepid skiers and riders around the globe that put body before wits in an icy quest to reach the far side of a pool-sized slushy.
Scott Loveless of Copper Mountain is one such skimmer, and his time to shine like an ice berg is coming up April 18 as Copper Mountain hosts the 4th Annual Red Bull SlopeSoakers. We recently caught up with Scott to learn more about the life of a pond skimmer.
What makes a good pond skimmer?
A good skimmer has a flair for style and knows how to accessorize. Water wings or a tutu can really set you apart from the rest of the crowd. Being able to take a snowball to the face while maintaining your course is a great personality trait. Most of all though, you’ll need a passion for getting rad.
How do you train in the off-season?
Pond skimming is not a sport – it’s a way of life. A good pond skimmer is versatile and ready to skim anytime, anywhere. For instance, one day you might be skimming a 100 foot natural pond on your powder skis, wearing a furry costume; the next you’re dropping into a manmade pond, switch, on your snowblades, wearing a polka dot bikini top and cutoff jean shorts.
Most skimmers will tell you the only real training for pond skimming is, well…pond skimming.
What’s more important, style or technique?
If you have a technique for pond skimming, it will eventually fail you. Style is king.
What do the words “ice cold enema” mean to you?
Sometimes it’s actually better to take the water than the snow. The water can be quite refreshing on the right day. Ice burn, belly flops, and whiplash are all inherent risks of pond skimming. Everyone pays the piper eventually.
Was your father a pond skimmer? How proud are your parents?
My dad was surfer, so I guess there could be some genetics at play. I’m lucky to have supportive parents to cheer me on and greet me at the bottom with a dry towel.
Any thoughts on pond skimming as an Olympic event?
Keep the soul in skimming! I’m pretty sure the Olympic Committee has rules against nudity, so I’m not sure how that would work out.
It would be pretty neat to see a world record set for distance, though. It’s cool to see events like the Red Bull Slope Soakers gaining popularity; they’ve combined a pond skim event with a rail jam, so you get huge freestyle tricks mixed with the absurd fun of pond skimming.
There’s doctors, scientists, and firemen, where do pond skimmers fit in?
The answer to this question is deeply philosophical and probably outside of the scope of this article. Let’s just say that without pond skimmers the world would be a much more boring place.