WORLD’S BIGGEST POND SKIMMING CONTEST – THE 19TH ANNUAL CUSHING CLASSIC – TO TAKE PLACE MAY 3, 2009

Daredevils cross the frigid waters of Lake Cushing on skis, snowboards, and various manmade vessels

[Squaw Valley USA] April 25, 2009 – North America’s original pond crossing, the Lake Cushing Classic, returns to Squaw Valley USA for the 19th consecutive season. 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. Notorious for its colossal crashes, hilarious costumes, and ultra-creative pond skimming contraptions, the annual Lake Cushing Classic comes to the frigid waters of Squaw Valley USA on Sunday May 3, 2009.

Pond Skimming has become a fixture on spring event lineups at ski resorts around the world. However, it was at Squaw Valley, 19 years ago, when the event was first conceived.  At the end of each ski season, when the large pond at the base of the mountain (“Lake Cushing”) had melted, Squaw Ski Patrollers would attempt to ski across Lake Cushing as a ceremonious goodbye to the season.  The ritual developed into a public competition and later, Squaw Valley’s signature spring event.  Since then, plenty of ski resorts have their go at pond skimming events, but none do it quite like Squaw Valley.  Perhaps it is because the characters at Squaw are a little more daring, a little more agile, and a little bit better on sticks.  Or maybe it is because “Lake” Cushing is a real pond, rather than a tarp-lined ditch or kiddie pool.  Whatever the reason, the Cushing Classic blows other pond skimming events out of the water, and the thousand plus spectators each year are testament to that.

Prizes are awarded in five divisions – men’s and women’s ski and snowboard divisions and the fifth, and often most amusing, the unlimited division. This last group of participants has been known to attempt the Cushing Classic on beach chairs, old snowmobiles without engines and even a chair lift affixed to three snowboards. Judging is based on style, grace, creativity, and of course, successfully crossing the lake. The grand prize is a 2009-10 Squaw Valley Season Pass and a $100 cash prize is awarded to the highest scorer in each class.

Judges for the 19th Annual Cushing Classic are 5-time X-Games Gold Medalist Nate Holland, ski legends Tamara McKinney and Scott Gaffney, and the royalist of Squaw Valley royalty (hint: their last name’s are Cushing and McConkey).

The Cushing Classic is open to the first 50 registrants. Registration takes place on the Sun Deck rotunda at noon with the competition starting at 2 pm. The cost to participate is $15 per person. All entrants MUST be 18 years of age or older and have a life preserver and a helmet, and sign a liability release form.

More information on the 19th Annual Cushing Classic is available by calling (530) 583-6985. The most up-to-date resort conditions, operation schedules, events and live mountain cams are available on www.squaw.com.

For Great Lodging Specials Call 866-366-7261 or visit www.squawvacations.com.