Ah, springtime — that season of soft snow, goggle tans and skier celebrations. Since there have been ski areas in New England, the end of ski season always has included jovial events that are part bittersweet adieu to winter and part happy salutation to spring. Easter parades with wacky costumes, picnic lunches enjoyed along the sides of trails, and — in recent years — a celebration of neon colors and one-piece suits known as ’80s Day.
Amid all the hilarity is what has become a favorite at many ski areas come March and April: the pond skim.
“Pond skims have grown in popularity, especially in the last couple of decades,” said Win Smith, principal owner at Vermont’s Sugarbush Resort, which lays claim to the longest continually run pond-skimming event in the country. “You have the people who are really intent on making it across, and you have people who are just there for the fun and frivolity.”
While Smith couldn’t pinpoint the exact start date of Sugarbush’s pond skim, he figures it started soon after the resort first opened for the 1958-59 ski season. That means New Englanders — some hearty souls, anyway — have been attempting to ski across barely unfrozen water for more than half a century.