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Deighan: Pond skimming not for the weak

Ian Cropp
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VAIL ” Guys, leave your thongs and Speedos at home.

That’s right, because no matter how much skill you display in Spring Back to Vail’s annual World Pond Skimming Championships, if you show too much skin, you just won’t win.

But the costume is just one part of the event that combines H20 in the liquid and solid form.



“Pond skimming is not for the weak,” said James Deighan, who along with Jeff Brausch founded the event five years ago. “It takes a strong heart, strong will and guts of steel.”

And, a little suspension of sanity.



Today, more than 75 competitors will ski or snowboard down Golden Peak and attempt to skim across a 100-foot pool of freezing water (the temperature will be approximately 34.7 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Deighan).

But the journey from the snow to the water isn’t a smooth one, with a 6-foot kicker that can launch even the most seasoned skiers head-over-heels and into a cold plunge of embarrassment, or glory.

“A belly-flop will give you absolute points,” said Deighan, who will be judging the contest along with a crew of celebrities that Bill Jensen, Chris Jarnot, Toby Dawson, Ryan and Trista Sutter and Stef Luciano.



Deighan, who will also be the master of ceremonies, is sitting out this year’s competition with a groin injury.

What could have been

When Deighan and Brausch were brainstorming for events to spice up Spring Back to Vail, a few other ideas were on the table, such as a cardboard derby and saucer-cross.

And there were even more radical ideas, like sending people down the hill in gigantic plastic balls, or sending dummies down the hill on skis.

“I still think it’s a great idea,” Deighan said of dummy racing. “There’s some pretty crazy carnage.”

Pond skimming may not have the same carnage as dummy racing, but the requirements are just as stringent.

“The competitors are judged on several factors,” Deighan said. “Distance across the pond, creativity and ingenuity and showmanship. A one-dimensional skier of snowboarder won’t cut it.”

Come one, come all

While the registration sold out in a few hours, Deighan said there are some exceptions made for international competitors and surprise celebrities.

“We have reports that Jamaica will have a representative this year,” Deighan said. “There is supposedly a Latvian team coming in.”

And there may be a few Guamanians taking part.

But how does a Guamanian or a Jamaican practice for pond skimming?

“A lot of these people will take a dirt hill, water them down and make their own pond skimming that way,” Deighan said.

As far as celebrities go, Deighan could neither confirm nor deny that stars like Mick Jagger or Wayne Gretzky will be present today.

The skimming beings at 2 p.m.

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or icropp@vaildaily.com.

Vail, Colorado


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