If we’ve learned one thing from Kobayashi’s insatiable love for hot dogs, it’s that in no way is it humanly possible to crush a pile of hot dogs faster than a bear. But more importantly I believe we’ve learned that anyone, with enough focus and determination, can be a champion at just about anything that’s completely pointless. Since you’ll have to wait until May 7 for Whiskey Creek’s Jell-O wrestling tournament and July 4 for Grumpy’s hot dog eating contest, it appears that the closest option for shameless, irreverent glory this weekend is Mammoth Mountain’s Pond Skim challenge!
For more than 10 years, Mammoth has celebrated Canyon Lodge’s closing by affording guests and employees the opportunity to slip into costume and hurl themselves across a 110 foot long, nipple cementing body of chilled water. It’s a great event, and when properly combo’d with the 3B’s (beer, bikinis and, well, beer), the Pond Skim is without a doubt the perfect challenge for any Mammoth local.
This year there are three judges you’ll have to impress: MMSA Vice Presidents Bill Cockroft, Pam Murphy and Mark Clausen, who will award Mammoth gift cards and “swag bags” for best costume, best crash, best style and best skim. The gift cards are only rewarded to both male and female skimmers sporting best costume, which pays out $100, and best skim, raking in $200.
After receiving sage advice from Mammoth Taxi owner and master of ceremonies, Scottie Marzonie, as well as Mammoth’s pond skim organizers, accomplished veterans, seasoned hecklers and previous champs, what follows is a simple guide to pond skim immortality.
Bikinis and Speedos
“The saying used to be ‘skin to win,’ but we can’t do that anymore for obvious reasons,” mused MMSA’s Jack Copeland, reminiscing on past contests. Even though that may be the official Mountain position, don’t discount the benefits of Spandex. Bikinis and banana hammocks are invariably awesome, and Euro-inspired bathing suits provide a snug, comfortable, ergonomic fit, as well as great wind resistance. Downside: you run the risk of painful snowball impacts, Peter Morning could take your picture and your junk could fly out if you crash.
The Dependable Mascot Costume
They’re specifically designed to amp crowds, and allow you to get away with obscene gestures, provide optimal protection from projectiles and (the best part) you don’t have to workout to look good in one! Minuses include limited visibility, drunks wanting to beat you up for no reason and being super tough to drink in.
Since the run in for the pond skim is set at a medium slope (determined through y=mx+b), reaching maximum speed is essential in order to clear the moat. Wax couldn’t be more paramount, and if going for the timeless “half-birthday suit” look, you’re gonna want to wax the hell out of your ass, chest and upper back for increased aerodynamics. Oh, and put some wax on your skis, too.
Know The Venue
Seasoned pond skimmers always survey the crowd prior to drop-in. Always check out where the end of the pool is, but also scope for possible exes to spray and where the snowballs are most likely to come from.
“I try not to say the word snowball, because once you say it people start throwing ‘em,” Marzonie pointed out. Just to be safe you might as well count on it happening. “Typically I aim for the bare skin. But it’s also really important to get ‘em right before they reach the pond. That’s also were I like to drink beer,” stated an anonymous local snowballer.
End Zone Routine
What you need to remember is that the loot is going to the best costume and who can skim the farthest across the pond, so that means you could potentially win both. Now, you only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, cuz opportunity comes once in a lifetime. Damn, there I go quoting Eminem again.
The point is pond skims are more than just skimming across a pond in an awesome costume. They’re about showmanship. In “Gladiator,” Maximus won his freedom because he won the crowd! He also ran through a bunch of guys with his sword, but the message is the same. If you reach the end of the pond, be like Ochocinco and don’t hesitate to bust out a comedy break dance routine, the Dougie, Bernie, Diddy, Dirty Bird Tootsie Roll or the Stanky Leg. Remember Babe Ruth in “The Sandlot,” when he said, “Heroes get remembered. Legends never die. Follow your heart kid and you’ll never go wrong.”
Good luck and enjoy!
The public Pond Skim is set for this Sunday, April 24, snow or sun; the employee event is April 25. Registration is 11 a.m. at Canyon Lodge, the event starts at 2 p.m. Arrive early; only the first 50 contestants in costume can enter.