The $15 Pond-Skim-Scandal: Ride the Rainbow

Next Up

It was 3:30 PM on a Saturday evening, and I saw one last reminder about the Taos Ski Valley Pond Skimming Championship. It was $10 to register online or $15 to do it in person. It had always been on my bucket list, and I thought a couple of minutes before pressing the "Register" button. Now it was time to decide what to wear.

Photo: Allie Bynum

The next morning, I wondered why I was paying to ride my snowboard regular into a freezing cold pond filled with ice water. I tried to think of what tricks I wanted to try to pull off, as I studied the drop leading into the mysterious water below. And then I thought, screw it, I just want to make it to the water, and I'll be a happy camper.

Photo: Allie Bynum

The 2019 Taos Ski Valley Pond Skim started off with a 13-year-old making it all the way across to the other side of the pond. I was intimidated and slammed a couple Tecates hoping I'd even make it down the ski hill. I blended in with the spectators and shook the Sierra Nevada cowbell with all my might. I woo'd the other participants coming down and plopping into the chilly water. I actually enjoyed spectating so much that I almost forfeited my turn to dance down the mountain on my snowboard. My almost two-year-old daughter shook her cowbell alongside me with her pop, and I was stoked we had decided to come out for the event. It sparked my inner redneck and forced out a couple "Dale Yeahs."

Photo: Allie Bynum

Two Tecates down and a very happy toddler, I decided I'd better get to hiking up the mountain in line with other pond skimmers and shim shammers. One by one, they took turns freestyling down the slope with goals and great ambitions of skimming their hearts right to the other side of a murky pond. You know some people make goals with suits and ties, and here I was feeling aligned with the stars by marking off one of my most anticipated bucket list items involving nothing more than a snowboard and a pond. I marched my happy behind up that hill and watched as other costumed pond skimmers tested their fates in the water dressed as T-Rex and Abe Lincoln. I was going as a "Ski School Dropout" in my sweater and spanks. It was a fine spring day!

Some made it look easy, and many took a frigid swim. We were lucky enough to be standing in the splash zone and shook our bells even harder. Pond Skim crashes are more exciting than Nascar. Everyone was smiling and welcoming the transition season in with a bang. Lawn chairs and beanies sum up the style for pond wear.

My mind went blank halfway riding down the hill, and I could no longer hear the jazz of cowbells. My body took over and led me straight into the pond over a mirage of rainbow. I soared over the inflated flamingos and took a dive belly down into the pond. The water took my breath. I tried swimming but forgot that I was strapped into bindings. Flow bindings make for an easy unlatch when sporting pond, by the way. My cheeks were numb, but I couldn't stop cheesing.

Praise Wolfgang's Spa Works for setting up a hot tub near the pond. And I was glad they put the sign up, because my brain was too cold to remember to take off my boots. I highfived other pond skimmers as we warmed up our bones. Hot tubbing in a sweater is actually kind of nice in the spring, for a ski school dropout anyways. 11/10 I'd do it again.

See the full crash here.

Next Story

TGR Tested: Faction Dictator 3.0