Spring lures the green back to the trees and warmth back to the breeze. It also chases away the snow and, eventually, the snowboarders and skiers.

It’s not easy to ski on melted winter.

But that doesn’t stop some people from trying.

At Saddleback Mountain in Rangeley on Saturday, skiers and snowboarders will test the balance they spent all winter honing. Only instead of skimming the top layer of mountain snow, they’ll skim across a shallow pond next to the base lodge.

During the 7th annual Pond Skimming event, skiers and snowboarders will attempt to slide across the water – from one snowy end to the other – without sinking in the middle.

Gaining speed in advance helps. As does a little luck.

“Some people make it,” said Sharon Thompson, marketing assistant for Saddleback Maine.

Some, on the other hand, sink to their knees in the water. Those who need it are helped out by the ski patrol, on hand to keep things safe.

Boarders and skiers gifted enough to make it across are greatly rewarded – with a sense of accomplishment. There aren’t any prizes for making it to the other side dry and upright, Thompson said. But the feeling of personal achievement is its own trophy.

Adding to the spirit of the event is the potential for creative costuming.

“One year we had Gumby,” Thompson recalled. “Another guy was in a big sumo wrestler costume.”

Registration is from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday and is free and open to anyone with a signed waiver. Skiers and snowboarders under the age of 18 need a parent’s permission.

For folks less ambitious about skiing on water, the event makes an ideal spectator sport.

Next Sunday at Saddleback, after the ski pants have dried, kids and adults can enjoy the Easter egg hunt on the lower trails at 9:30 a.m. Two thousand treasure-holding eggs will be hidden all over the mountain, and one golden egg will gift its finder with a 2010-2011 season pass to Saddleback. The Easter Bunny will be present. On skis, of course.

At 2:30 p.m., former Saddleback owner John Christie will emcee a celebration at the Swig ‘n Smelt Pub to honor longtime members of the Saddleback community, Roger and Patsy Page. Friends and Saddleback frequenters can share stories about the duo, who played an integral part in Saddleback’s history. Afterward, Portland-based musician J. Biddy takes the stage. Both the music and the Page celebration are free.

Saddleback has long been an ideal place to spend the winter. But next weekend, it’s an ideal place to welcome spring.

Staff Writer Shannon Bryan can be reached at 822-4056 or at:

[email protected]


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