Skiway's Pond Skim: An Upper Valley Awakening

Those as young as 5 years old turned out for this year's Dartmouth Pond Skim!

Hundreds Turn Out to "Skim the Pond"

Yesterday's Dartmouth Ski Patrol 3rd Annual Pond Skim event at the Dartmouth Skiway saw more than 300 people and over 100 "skimmers" turn out on a mostly windless, partly cloudy, totally wacky, silly, fun-filled day in Lyme Center, NH. It was all to benefit Special Olympics New Hampshire, with each $20 entry fee going to help special olympians and the activities they cherish — much like the Special Olympics Winter Games held annually in January at the Skiway.

Specatators and skimmers alike had a fun-filled day!

If you missed it, there are photos and links to videos here to help you get the feel of a real pond skim so you can plan to attend next year's event. It hasn't been formally scheduled, but jot down the last Saturday of March in your long-term calendar. If you were here yesterday, then these photos and links to videos will help you re-live the pleasure and silliness of the day, including watching that 5-year-old kid who, at the very end of the day, took his turn trying to skim his little body across the pond. There's just something about the physics of weight, speed, and gravity that didn't let him get too far, but it was an impressive try from such a brave little guy!   

Advertisement: Content continues below...

            Above video: Classic pond skim technique. Not everyone made it across as easily as this. Leaning back, keeping the ski tips up, and bilateral balance was key. (Click on "IMG 6345" in top left of image to view video a 2nd time.)

The Pond Skim is organized and run by Dartmouth Ski Patrol members, about 95% of whom are current Dartmouth students. Their energy and enthusiasm to help construct the ribbon of water and berms surrounding it, shoveling snow to make the landing area safe for skimmers, and work hand-in-hand with the Skiway staff made this charitable event a tremendous success.

A Dartmouth Ski Patroller makes ready for the day.

The Patrollers are an impressive bunch. They not only worked hard, but also made sure every skimmer was safe, using poles and offering helping hands to get those who sank out of the water quickly and easily, retrieving their skis and boards, and ensuring they were in good shape and ready to take on another skim run!

A Patroller extracts a downed boarder.

Of course, the crowd wanted to see the sinkers as well as the skimmers. A huge cadre of children turned out just to watch, cheering for skimmers to crash and burn, even as they got sprayed with water from skimmers who had perfected their water-skiing turn technique. At least two skimmers tried to get across on a single ski. One tried to go backwards. Another tried turning mid-skim to finish backwards. And the costumes were as crazy as could be. Three of The Incredibles showed up, as did Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, a skin diver in shorts with snorkel and mask, even a Superwoman in her red cape, along with dozens of others, in and out of costume. Plenty of Dartmouth students showed, as did many local Upper Valley community members who came with and without their families to skim or just watch the day's events unfold.   

Some crossed the pond in double, and even triple, teams!

Humorous announcing by a Ski Patrol member who emcee'd every downhill run and skim, along with music playing to the beat and speed of the skiers and boarders trying to skip their way across about a hundred feet of water, made the day that much more fun! Oh, and for those skimmers who sank, the pond's water was about as cold as any fast-moving stream edging the slopes of the Skiway at this time of year — like winter's runoff still coursing cold and chilly as it soaked their costumes and awakened their senses in a flash!

Wet and chilled skimmers warm up by the glow of the big-hearth's fire.

But there was good news just across the street in the Skiway's McLane Family Lodge where a large fire crackled warm and comforting in the oversized hearth. Skiers young and old, large and small, ranging from middle age on down to that 5 year-old, and all ages in between, used the fire's glow to dry wet clothing and come together in the kind of close-knit community atmosphere and ease the Skiway nurtures all winter long. It's a place where Upper Valley'ites flock, not just to ski, but to eat, meet, and enjoy one another's company in a friendly, lovely environment where knowing your neighbor is the order of the day, every day. The magic that is the Upper Valley makes its home in the Skiway's lodge all year 'round.

Above video: Not quite fully across. That water was cold! But a fun day was had by all. (Click on "IMG 6279" in top left of image to view video a 2nd time.)

With over a hundred skimmers and donations from dozens more visitors, along with a raffle by the Skiway's Thirty Trails Cafe, the proceeds from which all went to Special Olympics New Hampshire, the 3rd Annual Pond Skim at the Dartmouth Skiway, organized and run by the Dartmouth Ski Patrol, was a tremendous success. This annual charitable event is quickly becoming an Upper Valley fixture and tradition. Put it on your "to do" list of next year's late-March weekend events not to be missed!

Little ones practiced getting across the pond, too. A warm hug and wool blanket helped after a fun-filled fall into the wet!

A Patroller and organizer.

The day's emcee made sure every skimmer's successes and failures were announced with gentle, and sometimes familiar, humor!

A Dartmouth student and Dartmouth staffer work together in early morning's light to set up for the day.

All Special Olympics NH donations were welcomed and encouraged.

Even the Incredibles made a special appearance, with 2 out of 3 making it across the pond. Better luck next year!


Dave Celone of E. Thetford, VT writes as Poetic Licence here on the on many things great and small that impact the Upper Valley region of NH and VT. Please leave a comment or question below if you wish. And please do click on the blue Subscribe button above to sign up to receive the occasional post from PoeticLicence in your email inbox. Thanks for reading! 


Download the DailyUV app today!