Skiing closes with a splash |

Skiing closes with a splash

Pond skim, concerts and late-day sun mark end of season

Margaret Hair

— Style topped grace in the second annual Steamboat Splashdown Pond Skim on Sunday, closing out the 2008-09 ski season with flashy costumes and a ride across a man-made pond at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.

A capacity group of 50 skiers and snowboarders attempted to cross the pond – most succeeded, with a few memorable crashes and sputtering swims out of the pool thrown into the mix.

Honorable mentions went to a skier wearing a fluorescent duct-tape bikini and a snowboarder dressed as Jesus, but announcers awarded a 2009-10 Steamboat ski pass to a pair of skiers with character.

Outfitted as Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Tamera Malczyk and Megan Gilman won the contest with a high-speed race into the pond, a seamless crossing and a heavily flawed victory dance. The two dressed in yellow, green and red polka-dotted costumes held out with a hula-hoop waist.

“Our goal was to be the first female duo to get across the pond together,” Gilman said, after Malczyk joked the two were trying to work off excess weight in the race. The pair competes at a similar event in Vail – where Gilman lives – every year. They started competing at Malczyk’s home resort in Steamboat last year.

Announcers read the water temperature in the pond at just below 34 degrees Fahrenheit moments before the first pond skimmer skied down the bottom section of Stampede and crashed into the chilly water.

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Skier Martha Anderson – clad in a brightly colored ski suit and a cape – was the first to be pulled out of the water by the lifeguards on scene. Her friend Mallory Hoots came down the hill a few minutes later dressed in scuba gear and was the first contestant to successfully cross the pond.

“I think I just leaned back, but I was pretty scared,” Hoots said. Her costume served multiple purposes, she said.

“I tried to just make it a thing so I was able to stay afloat but also make it a costume, in case I went in,” Hoots said.

Costumes are key to the pond skim, with this year’s contestants dressing as construction workers, Marie Antoinette, Broncos players, and people wearing very little clothing.

Denver resident Bobby Rivard fell into the last category, as he crossed the pond wearing green spandex tights, briefs and a red cape. Rivard said his friends came up with more elaborate costume plans, but most were complicated or expensive.

“I thought, you know what, wearing a pair of tights and putting some underwear on them always works, and then the cape just came naturally,” Rivard said, adding that his strategy of watching a handful of contestants skim the pond before he attempted it kept him safe from an icy swim.

Members of the Minneapolis power-pop band Catchpenny took the stage in Gondola Square shortly after the pond skim, followed by a high-energy, multi-styled set from the Los Angeles dance band Ozomatli.

Rain and snow showers in the morning and early afternoon gave way to partial sunshine and slush as chair lifts started to close for the season, treating those who were willing to stick around for a late afternoon run to an hour of spring skiing.

By just after noon Sunday, the ski area had logged 405 inches of snow for the season, giving the resort its third season of 400-plus inches of snow in the past four years.

– To reach Margaret Hair, call 871-4204 or e-mail

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