Squaw Valley, CA – First it was on, then it was off…and now it’s back on again: the 20th Annual Cushing Crossing, North America’s original pond crossing, will return to California’s Squaw Valley USA ski resort this Sunday for closing day. This wildly entertaining competition challenges local lunatics and gregarious guests to cross the vast and chilly waters of Lake Cushing on skis, a snowboard or any ski or snowboard-based vessel.nPond skimming has become a fixture on spring event lineups at ski resorts around the world. However, it was 20 years ago at Squaw Valley when the event was first conceived. At the end of each ski season, when Lake Cushing, the large pond at the base of the mountain, melted out, Squaw ski patrollers would attempt to ski across Lake Cushing in a ceremonious goodbye to the season. The ritual developed into a public competition and, later, Squaw Valley’s signature spring event.
Squaw Valley’s Cushing Crossing draws more than 1,000 spectators to the California ski and snowboard resort each spring.
Unlike bodies of water created for many other pond skimming competitions, Lake Cushing is a real pond, rather than a tarp-lined ditch. More than a thousand spectators come out to watch the event every year.
Prizes are awarded in five divisions – men’s ski, women’s ski, men’s snowboard, women’s snowboard and the fifth, and often most amusing, the Unlimited Division. This last group of participants has been known to attempt the Cushing Crossing on beach chairs, old snowmobiles without engines and even a lift chair affixed to three snowboards. Multiple people may compete as one unit in the Unlimited Division only if they are bound together. Judging is based on style, grace, creativity, and of course, successfully crossing the lake.
The grand prize is a Bronze 2010-11 Squaw Valley Season Pass and a $100 cash prize is awarded to the highest scorer in each class. Also, new for the 20th Annual Cushing Crossing are the Skinny Skis Award and the Most Creative Award. The skier who crosses the pond on skis narrower than 70mm and earns the most points will take home the Skinny Skis Award and $100 cash. The Most Creative Award and an additional $100 cash prize will go to the pond skimmer who competes in the most creative costume and/or apparatus — successful crossing not required.
The Cushing Crossing is open to the first 50 registrants. Registration takes place on the KT Sundeck at noon Sunday and the competition kicks off at 2 p.m. The cost to participate is $20 per person. All entrants must be 18 years of age or older and have a life preserver and a helmet. All entrants must also sign a liability release form.