Eskimo Escapades was formed by John Cox, David Bernheim, John Tillett, and Buddy Coomer and held its first event in 1995 at Ned Ray McWherter Park in Knoxville, TN on January 14, 1995. It continued there the next year, and then in 1997, the event moved to its present location at Volunteer Landing in downtown Knoxville, TN.
The first year at Volunteer Landing goes neck and neck with the 2003 event as the coldest on record. That year the water temperature was a particularly chilly 37 degrees and the air temperature high was 28 degrees. It was painfully cold and there was a big drop in the number of skiers, but the event still did well. 2003 was extremely cold again, with a high temperature of 27 degrees, recovery from a 3 inch snow on Thursday evening, and only 82 skiers. Even with the cold, snow, and drop in skiers, the event still raised $23,000 for its two local charities. The event continued to grow with a record 150 skiers in 2005.
2006 was the first year that BWXT Y-12 in Oak Ridge sponsored the whole event and in doing so was instrumental in bringing in a record $40,000.
In the 17 year history, we have raised over $350,000 for the benefit of local East Tennessee charities!