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There Are Pond Skims And Then There Is The Cushing Crossing

Charlie Walker May 1, 2023

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Not All Pond Skims Are Created Equal: The Cushing Crossing

For all intents and purposes ski season is over. Spring has sprung, melting away the days of powder and corduroy bliss. Along with gaper days, and harvesting corn, the traditional closing ceremony for many resorts seems to include a pond skim. The ancient Nordic ritual symbolizes the crossing over from winter to spring. Just kidding, I have no idea if that is true. But what is a fact is that pond skims are good clean fun for participants and spectators alike, where sometimes the more spectacular the failure, the bigger win for everyone.

Pod skims are like pizza. Even a bad pond skim is better than none. But one event reigns as spring’s supreme event, Palisade’s Cushing Crossing. Sorry, but your mountain’s little pool party is the equivalent to your local dive bar selling pretzels and having a stein holding contest each fall. Cushing Crossing is full blown, authentic lederhosen wearing, Berlin and Munich level Oktoberfest.

The Pond at Palisades

The 31st edition of Cushing Crossing will be going down this year on Saturday, May 13th. Why so late? Well after this year’s record setting snowfall in Tahoe of over 700 inches, Palisades has plenty more runs left in it this season. But the real reason is the pond is not ready. The skimming at Palisades is not done on artificial surfaces like many of its contemporaries. It is not a faux-pond, dug by lifites and filled with a hose, but a naturally occurring water feature.

Cushing Pond is revered for its beautiful natural surroundings but also for its degrees of difficulty. Some of those degrees just above freezing because of the natural snowmelt. All crossing entrants required to wear both a helmet and life preserver because the 25 yard skim is 10+ feet deep at its lowest points. And if you crash, you are not walking out knee deep with a smile.  Instead lifeguards paddle over by raft and pull you to shore. And if you lose a ski? You might very well have actually lost a ski. Grab a snorkel and wetsuit or hike back at the end of summer for a one-of-a-kind type of treasure hunt. Winners must cross the pond dryly.  But also do so with style and grace. Crossers often involve costumes, tricks and props adding to the colorful pageantry of the day,



The list of past attendees, participants, and judges reads like a list of Tahoe and skiing royalty, including Amie Engerbretson, Daron Rahlves, Cody Townsend, Elyse Saugstad, JT Homes, Jonny Mosely, Connery Lundin, our very own Michele Parker, and more! Want in on the fun? You better wake up early. Registration is in person only, the day of the event, starting at 7am and limited to the first 50 people. With good reason too! The prizes this year across six categories include: Yeti Coolers, GoPros, Darn Tough Socks, Smith Sunglasses, cash, and for the overall champion a 2023/2024 IKON Base Pass!

And for those that want to join the fun as spectators, your wake-up call might be just as early. People start camping out at first light for good seats like they are waiting in line for KT-22 for first tracks on a powder day. The crowd attendance can regularly top over a thousand spectators to witness the spring spectacle.

Palisades: The Pond Skim And Spring Skiing Capital

The Cushing Crossing is a one-of-a-kind, full day party, and the crown jewel on the throne of the spring skiing capital. If you can’t attend in person be sure to follow along via all of Palisade’s social media channels. And tune in on Saturday 5/13 to catch the best vibes and pond skimming on the planet. And until then we’ll see you on the other side!

All 📸Courtesy of Palisades Tahoe

RELATED: Care Less, Do More – E13 – JT Holmes

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