Across the pond
One day, Shawn McLennan hopes to soar over the pond at the Spring Gruv pond-skimming event at Canyons Resort, impressing the judges and drawing oohs and ahs from the crowd in the process.
Unfortunately for McLennan, Saturday was not that day.
Sporting a brightly-colored ’80s-style jumpsuit, he and his homemade hang glider barely made it through the Red Bull inflatable starting gate, losing valuable speed in his approach to the ice-cold water below.
Ultimately, his contraption failed, sending him plummeting into the frigid pond instead of skimming along the surface.
"When I jumped, it put me down instead of up," he said. "It was all backwards."
McLennan, who last year dressed up as George of the Jungle and attempted to swing across the pond on a makeshift vine, has been trying to clear the pond for 10 years now. Though he has yet to accomplish the feat, he said the event is still a lot of fun.
He’s already making plans for next year’s event, which will be the 18th year in a row for pond skimming at Canyons.
"It takes a good amount of time," he said. "It’s an ongoing thing every year. I thought this was it. I’m going to have to do some recalculating and some redesigning."
While McLennan actually attempts to clear the water every year, some participants go solely for style points.
Jim Haft and his crew, including his sons Alex and Jay and family friends Ted and Marshall Hales, dressed up as the Budweiser Clydesdale wagon this year, continuing a theme of intricate designs aimed to please the judges.
"It took a while," he said. "First we had to come up with the concept and then it took a couple days to put all the boxes together."
Haft said his group totally expected an icy finish to their run.
"We never had any hopes of making it across the pond," he said. "We were going down for sure."
The wagon lived up to Haft’s expectations, crashing into the pond and leaving him trapped under the weight of a horse costume and a fellow crew member.
"I’m just happy I didn’t drown," he said. "I was underneath the water for a while."
Haft and his team won an honorable mention award for their efforts.
After escaping the ice-cold water, contestants were in good spirits. McLennan said it’s all about having the right mindset.
"I’m warm, totally warm," he said. "(The ice water) is like warm snow; that’s what I think of it as."
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