Winter Park Resort: Splashing into Spring Since the '60s

It really doesn't get much better than spring skiing. Bluebird skies, longer days, warmer weather, and slushy snow bring fewer layers, fun costumes, and contagious smiles. We still get those spring-storm powder days, but the higher daytime temperatures give us the best of both worlds. Pull up a beach chair in the snow to bask in the warmth of the mountain sun. Add in a little live music at Winter Park Resort, and you get mountain living at its best. 

The palpable enthusiasm standard for this time of year isn't anything new: skiers have been taking advantage of spring weather, complete with wild outfits and thrill-seeking celebrations, for decades. And what would closing day be without Spring Splash? The beloved event that now marks the last day of skiing on the "park side" of Winter Park Resort has been a staple celebration since the 1960s. 

While the event has most definitely evolved over the years, the basic principal is the same: with rowdy spring skiers cheering them on, participants try their hand at skimming across an chilly pond at the base of Larry Sale.


This year brings the 56th "official" Spring Splash at Winter Park Resort. But the event's roots reach even further back in history than when it was formalized in 1968. No one definitively knows when and where the first pond skim was schemed up, but many attribute its origins back to 1928. Legend has it that two friends, c, were spring-skiing near Banff, Canada when they came across small pools and streams of snowmelt. And, naturally, they decided to send it. The story goes that only one of the two friends crossed the water successfully, but they were both successful in laying the foundation for what is now a classic way to end an epic ski season. Resorts big and small celebrate with the annual pond skim.


Spring Splash in Winter Park got its start as an event called Geländesplash (gelände = German word for terrain). Geländesplash started as more of a grassroots celebration held sporadically in the spring. The weekend event was complete with a beer chugging contest, dual slalom race, t-shirt contest, and splash race. Once the resort officially embraced the pond skim and weekend of revelry in 1968, it was still called Geländesplash. The name wasn't changed to Spring Splash until the late 1970s or early 80s. Today, locals often simply refer to it as "Splash." 


The pond skim itself has stayed true to its roots over the years. The basic challenge has stayed the same: make it across the pond with style. And the creative costumes and epic wrecks never get old! But the way Splash is celebrated has evolved over the years. An obstacle course before the final descent into the pond was added years ago, and Geländesplash's weekend-long format is now a month-long party with events each weekend leading up to Spring Splash. Beach parties, live music, costume contests, and beerfests are hallmarks of what is now dubbed "Spring Bash + Splash."  

And while this is technically the 56th year of the officially Spring Splash at Winter Park, 2020 brought a different twist to the annual tradition. Not to miss out on a celebration even in the midst of a global pandemic, skiers and riders participated in a virtual Spring Splash. Contestants got creative with videos "pond skimming" at home, and it was all  for a good cause. All registration fees were donated to the Grand Foundation's Emergency Assistance Fund. We love the way our community banded together to still play outside and support each other even when we couldn't celebrate together with this tradition we all love!

This year's Spring Bash + Splash kicks off Saturday, March 30 and ends with the pond skim on Sunday, April 21. If you want to try your hand at the challenge, registration opens up the morning of the event at 8am at the Balcony House. Registration is limited to the first 100 participants (18 and up), so make sure you snag your spot in line early!


Splash is one of our favorite events of the year, and we hope to bump into you out there as we celebrate the end of the 2023-24 ski season! The rich history of and zany traditions in our area are just another reason we love calling this place home. If you're ready to "take the plunge" into the Winter Park area real estate market, we're here for you. Connect with us today to get set up with listing alerts, get a complimentary property valuation, or schedule a consultation to start your mountain living adventure.

Posted by Angela McDonough (Sandstrom) on


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