Despite the popularity of the recent movie “Lincoln,” U.S. presidents don't seem to be a big feature at ski and snowboard areas across the country for Presidents Week. But, fun tops the agenda everywhere.
In fact, “fire and ice” are creating the excitement next week, starting in Bethel, Maine, in the northeast corner of the U.S. where they have built and will set off a “Snowcano” Saturday (2/16) at 6:30 p.m.
Volunteers have built the Snowcano at the lot between the Parkway and Cross Street in Bethel, known as Festival Plaza. It consists of tree-length logs bundled together and stacked on end with a huge cone-shaped pile of snow pushed up around them. The height will be approximately 40 feet. The logs will be lit on fire via a tunnel dug at the base of the snow pile. Flames and sparks will shoot from the peak, creating the effect of an erupting volcano.
WinterFest is sponsored by Sunday River Ski Resort in nearby Newry and Norway Savings Bank, with Sunday River also providing assistance with snowmaking and grooming. Sledders can use the Snowcano for sliding fun.
More Fire And Ice
In the Colorado Rockies town of Avon, home to Beaver Creek Resort, guests can take in the Westin Riverfront Fire & Ice celebration in Nottingham Park, Sunday at 6:30 p.m. The fireworks show is set to a musical score and broadcast locally on KZYR 97.7. They’ll blast off more than 10,000 shells.
In addition, six world renowned ice carving masters, led by the legendary Scott Rella, founder of Icesculpture.com. The carving competition also starts at 3 pm, culminating in the People’s Choice Award.
Beaver Creek will sponsor its annual PrezFest the day before with skiing and the American Icon Ice Sculpture Exhibition.
Sun Valley will be honoring the presidents with a Presidential Party, Feb. 16-18. It kicks off Sat. with a Bowling Bash at 8 p.m. You can ski on Dollar Mountain’s Quarter Dollar and Progression Park Sunday. Season and Blaine County pass holders ski for free; same day lift ticket holders, discount and multi-day pass holders can purchase a $15 adult ticket and $10 for kids 11 and under. It wraps up Monday with a “Grooves On” ice skating party.
Big Air Show
Bend, Ore., home to Mt. Bachelor resort, is celebrating the 14th annual WinterFest, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They claim “the best of winter will be on display, including the U.S. Cellular Day Glow Big Air Show, national music acts including Hell's Belles and Tony Furtado, ice and snow sculptures, artists and artisan food at the Marketplace Tent, and Metal Mulisha's death-defying motorcycle show.”
Tickets are available locally in advance, or at the gate. Mt. Bachelor season pass holders get into the event for free (must show pass.) Kids 3 and under get in for free.
Squaw Valley, Calif., comes alive with a week-long kids’ extravaganza. Big trucks, street parties, balloon animals, skating parties and concerts are just a few of the festivities for kids and families taking place during Kid-O-Rama. From activities sure to entertain Squaw Valley’s littlest visitors to action-packed teen snowsports lessons, Kid-O-Rama offers non-stop fun. Check out Big Truck Night in the Village featuring fire trucks, snowplows and grooming machines, as well as an outdoor kids’ concert and Dance Party on Ice at High Camp.
Speaking of snow structures, Montreal, Canada boasts a Snow Village, including ice hotel, ice restaurant, ice chapel and ice bar 15 minutes away from a subway station. Montreal en Lumièr, http://www.montrealenlumiere.com/home.aspx an Ice Canoe Challenge in Montreal Old Port and an Urban Ice Fishing Village, also in the Port are available.
In The Presidential Range
You'd expect the Mount Washington Valley in New Hampshire’s Presidential Range to offer something special for Presidents Week. Black Mountain on Saturday will host its annual Chairlift Speed Dating event where you ride the “lift of love” chairlift, with another single. If you hit it off on the ride up you can ski or ride down together. If not, head back to the lift for another opportunity at meeting your soul or ski mate. Participation is free but a lift ticket or season pass is required.
Lutsen Mountains in northern Minnesota is foregoing the opportunity to charge extra for Presidents Week or spring break. All of February, any of their properties, the historic Scandinavian lodge, luxury condos or townhouses, or log homes or cabins are available at a special price: pay for three nights, gets a fourth free. The resort can arrange ski and stay packages which also give you a fourth day lift ticket free at adjacent Lutsen Mountain. Concerts at Papa Charlie's both this Saturday and next, as well as comedy shows on Friday evenings.
SnoCountry Vacations’ Deal of the Week offers weekly specials on lift and lodging deals to more than 35 winter destination across the U.S. and Canada. Complete vacations are available including airfare, lodging, rental car, lift tickets, equipment rentals, lessons, and excursions.
Photos: Top right: WinterFest Snowcano, Bethel, Maine; left: Fireworks, Avon, Colo.