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Pond Skim 2018
Pond Skim 2018
March 31 & April 14-15, 2018

Spring Back to Vail

There is no better place to celebrate spring 


Saturday, March 31

  • Expo Village at Gondola One | 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Music with a View, presented by Verizon, at Sarge’s Mid-Vail | 12 – 2 p.m.
  • Après music at Express Lift Bar, presented by Bud Light | 2:30 – 5 p.m.
  • Free Concert at Solaris, presented by Bud Light: SOJA and opener: Houndmouth  |  Doors open at 5:30 p.m.


Saturday, April 7

  • Music with a View, presented by Verizon, at Sarge’s Mid-Vail | 12 – 2 p.m.


Saturday, April 14

  • Free ski/board demos in Vail Village | 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Music with a View, presented by Verizon, at Sarge’s Mid-Vail | 12 – 2 p.m.
  • Après music at Express Lift Bar | 2:30 – 5 p.m.


Sunday, April 15

  • Expo Village | 12 – 4:30 p.m.
  • Bud Light Bags Tournament | 1 – 3 p.m.
  • 16th Annual World Pond Skimming Championships | 3 p.m.

About the Bands


  • Jacob Hemphill - Lead singer/Guitarist
  • Bobby Lee - Bass
  • Ryan Berty - Drums
  • Kenneth Brownell - Percussion
  • Patrick O'Shea - Keyboards
  • Rafael Rodriguez - Trumpet
  • Hellman Escorcia - Saxophone
  • Trevor Young - Lead guitar

"I want to speak for people who don't have microphones," Jacob Hemphill says. "Our goal as a band is to stick up for the human race. We see the world and we try to make it better in the limited time we have here."

This is the philosophy behind SOJA's music, a simple statement that has driven the D.C. area band, who blend reggae, go-go, D.C. hardcore, Latin, rock and hip-hop. Originally formed by a group of friends while still in middle school and has built a massive, dedicated fanbase around the world since. In the years following, SOJA has sold more than 200,000 albums, headlined shows in over 20 countries around the world, generated over three million Facebook fans, and 65 million YouTube views. The band has toured with Dave Matthews Band, Incubus, 311 and appeared at major festivals including Bonnaroo where they attract an almost Grateful Dead-like international fan base along the way, with caravans of diehards following them from city to city. After the release of their 2012 album "Strength To Survive," the musicians started writing material for what would become their fifth full-length album, "Amid the Noise and Haste."

For Hemphill, who pens the lyrics, chords and melody, each song starts with an experience: meeting someone, reading something, experiencing something that seems pertinent to the human condition. On this album, the songwriter is suggesting that "all of life's problems, and all of life's answers are within us. We've been conditioned to accumulate, compete and break others down around ourselves -- not inherent to the human condition, but rather taught. Those things can be untaught. The real us is in there, somewhere." All of this is translated into short, sweet packages of music.

The writing and recording process for "Amid the Noise and Haste" stretched out over a year and a half, mostly because the musicians kept finding new collaborators and new ideas along the way. The aim was to engage as many guest artists as possible, with each working on a song that had a legitimate connection to them. The album was produced by Supa Dups (Bruno Mars, Eminem, Rihanna, John Legend) and recorded at Circle House Studios in Miami and Lion & Fox Studios in Washington D.C. throughout 2013. Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley appears on "Your Song," a buoyant, hopeful number that asks fans to remind the band why they got into music by singing along, while "I Believe" brings Michael Franti and Nahko together to offer thoughts on how to control your own destiny. Collie Buddz, J Boog and Anuhea are also featured on various tracks. "We wanted to bring together people who would help demonstrate each song," Jacob says. "We wanted people who could either relate to or convey the message. The whole album is about the human race relating to itself and connecting with itself."

For SOJA, whose live show is an explosion of energy and positivity, music is a means of helping people relate in a more affirmative way. It also asks people to look inside themselves and really ask what it is they want to do with their life and how they can be happy. SOJA's music is about finding that happiness and peace we all deserve and helping others do the same, something "Amid the Noise and Haste" aptly conveys in its songs.

"I put words in my songs that I believe to be true," Jacob says. "The point of the album is reconnecting people to the power inside themselves, getting them to fall back in love with life again. Look around, take a deep breath. All the answers are there." 



In the last four years, Houndmouth have learned what it means to be a band. On their second album, Little Neon Limelight, they wear that wisdom like a badge of honor.

Less than a half-decade ago in the small Indiana city of New Albany, four pals were crafting tunes on their own, with few ambitions of turning those songs into a spectacle. That all changed when these friends crossed paths, and joined forces. Matt Myers, Shane Cody, Katie Toupin, and Zak Appleby became the drums and keys, guitars and harmonies of Houndmouth, and those personal numbers became the irrepressible core of an outfit turned magnetic.

In 2012, the group issued a self-titled EP on Rough Trade Records, the legendary imprint that signed them after seeing a single gig. One of 2013’s most incandescent debuts, their From the Hills Below the City LP affirmed what label owner Geoff Travis had heard: the sounds of Americana, renewed by the youthful glow of songwriters, musicians and pals unafraid to both celebrate and desecrate them.

Others noticed, too. The Guardian noted that, with From the Hills, “reservations fade,” while Rolling Stone’s David Fricke lauded the “earthy melancholy with a rude garage-rock streak.” Treks with the Drive-by Truckers and the Alabama Shakes followed, plus performances at the Newport Folk Festival, Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo. In cramped clubs and big theaters alike, Houndmouth earned a reputation as a must-see act, their hooks, energy and charisma making them feel like a lifelong friend you’d just met. 
That success, though, turned what had started as fun into something closer to work. Houndmouth learned that being full-time musicians required much more than the nine-to-five endeavors they had left behind in Indiana. But they grew into the role and grew from it. Experiences accumulated; perspectives expanded. Relationships stalled; others progressed.

“We’re not in party mode all the time anymore,” says Myers. “We’re refining how we write songs, writing about people we love, more important things than just nonsensical stuff.” If that was the charge, then Little Neon Limelight is an unapologetic success. These eleven songs sparkle, fade, and sparkle again, mixing innocence and experience, acceptance and aspiration, horror and hope. 

Recorded by Dave Cobb in Nashville, Little Neon Limelight pairs the energy and nerves of raw first takes with the accents and moods of a more contemplative, thoughtful unit. Hearts are broken and friends are exiled, love grows cold and drugs do damage, leaders make mistakes and money turns tricks. On the acoustic “Gasoline,” one of the most poignant moments of Houndmouth’s catalog, Toupin barbs the confessions of a perennial party girl with the specter of mortality. “Maybe I’ll meet my maker on a bedroom floor,” she sings, her voice fighting against its own existential fade as bowed cello traces her words. Haunted by samples of the buoyant opener and single “Sedona” and the noisy filigree of a Moog, the beautifully downcast “For No One” stalks through personal blues with conviction. Its world-weariness has been incubated by the world it surveys.    
But all of these feelings aren’t worn on Houndmouth’s collective sleeves: Despite the turmoil embedded within many of these songs, they are equal parts energetic proclamation, built with choruses that can’t be denied, harmonies that can’t be escaped and rhythms that can’t be resisted. With its carousel keyboards and start-and-stop drums, “Say I”” is a combination come-on and kiss-off that might make Keith Richards blush. For “15 Years,” Houndmouth conjures barroom bluster to voice the woes of a prisoner, backing the cries of his soul with howling organ and slashing guitar. When all the action drops into a shout-along, gospel-strong bridge, you might feel the urge to bust the fella out yourself. What’s the point of having the blues, Houndmouth seems to say, if you can’t have fun with them, too?

Nowhere is that balance of tragedy and triumph better than on the romp “My Cousin Greg,” a Band-style saga where each member takes a turn with a verse. Written about Myers’ actual cousin and former cover-band bandmate Greg, these four minutes present the title guy as a mischievous, enlightened and acerbic genius. He leaves Florida with his master’s degree in physics for a brainy job in Los Angeles, raising metaphysical hell and questions along the way. Greg thinks his cousin has it made, touring the country by van while playing the songs he’s written. 

But Myers disagrees: “If you wanna live the good life/Well, you better stay away from the limelight,” the quartet sings as one in the chorus, repeating the mantra as though it were their only lifeline to sanity. For those long drives, it’s a reminder of the thrill and toil of what they now get to do. “For the first record, we were floating around after having been thrown into this,” explains Myers. “This time, we were able to write more about experiences than random stories, because that’s where we are in life. There had to be an attachment to what we recorded.”

For Little Neon Limelight, the charged, charming and preternaturally mature Houndmouth did exactly that.

- Grayson Haver Currin

Thanks to our sponsors

Spring Back to Vail is presented by Vail Mountain, Bud LightPepsi, GMC, Verizon, Helly Hansen and Town of Vail, and brought to you in part by, Nature Valley, Vail Resorts Retail, Vail Racquet Club and Colorado Mountain Express.

Register Today

Pond Skim Registration

The World Pond Skimming Championships is open to anyone and everyone that believes they can make it across the pond. It is guaranteed to be a wet and wild good time! Participants must be 14 years of age and older. The top male and female finishers will receive a 2018/19 Epic Pass! All participants will get a special Helly Hansen backpack and other prizes will be awarded to the best crash, best costume and more!


Registration opens Wednesday, March 14.  Skimmers from all parts of the globe are gathering floaties and flippers and making the annual migration to the Vail Valley. Many will compete for fame and glory, while others have their eye on the grand prize, “The Golden Skimmer.” They are the unsinkable athletes that will showcase their water solubility on Lake Golden Peak Sunday, April 15, from 3-4:30 p.m. in a showing that defies the laws of physics and perhaps even common sense.

Golden Peak 
SUNDAY, April 15

  • 12pm - Venue Opens including a BBQ and Spring Back to Vail Expo Village
  • 1pm - Bud Light Bags Tournament Begins
  • 3pm - World Pond Skimming Championships Begin