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Spring Back to Vail

Tom Boyd

April showers bring May flowers, or so they’ve always said.As for this valley, there’s little in the way of showers come April — unless snow showers count. And when it comes to flowers, well, in May, this valley can only boast a few brave daffodils sticking their heads out through the mud and melting snow.Which is why, when May comes, the only people left to populate the valley are a few die-hard locals and the ever-growing group of paddle-wielding kayakers searching for the spring runoff surge.Since everyone knows that May is on the way, March and April tend to be a continuous ramp-up to the end-of-the-year parties. March gets started with the spring break phenomenon, and April becomes the slush-skiers dream — sunny days, late mornings, and lots of time spent on various wood-planked decks, soaking up the rays of sun that begin to last well into the evening.With the downfall of BB&B, Vail’s legendary end-of-the-year party, it’s up to the official party-creators to provide social events to the liking of the general public.With the backing of Toyota and Highline Sports and Entertainment, the local party providers have amped up the age-old sport of pond skimming, creating The World Alpine Pond Skimming Championships on Sat., April 17.They’re not actually World Championships, and they’re only vaguely alpine, at best. But have no fear: there is definitely going to be some pond-skimming going on, lots of splashing, lots of costumes, and lots of fun in general.The “sport” of Pond Skimming involves finely tuned athletes attempting to defy — or at least bend — the laws of physics and slide completely across a pond of freezing water on skis or a snowboard. A select panel of celebrity judges will score each contestant on distance, style and creativity.”Pond Skimming is one of the great mountain rites of spring,” explained Amy Hornyak of Highline. “And we are stoked to be able to host once again the World Championships. Costumes are definitely encouraged and we will have life guards on duty for those who forget their water wings.”Pond Skimmers of all ages and abilities can pre-register for the Championships online at http://www.pondskimming.com. Entry has already begun, and is limited to the first 125 skimmers at $20 each, with event-day registration for $25, based on availability. Remember, last year’s event sold-out.The pond-skimming championships are the grand finale to an April full of pretty amazing events. Blues Traveler, for example, will be playing a free concert on Saturday, April 10, from 3:30-8 p.m., with opening act Bobby Lee Rogers. The concert will take place in Vail VillageThe two-week extravaganza ends with a performance by E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons on April 17, after the skimming championships — also in the Village. Fresh off of tour with Bruce Springsteen, Clemons will be joined by his 12-piece Disciples of Soul from 5:30-8:30 p.m.For additional information on Spring Back to Vail visit http://www.springbacktovail.com.


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