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Spring Brings Ski Culture’s Happy Times

pondskim_Mammoth-Karen-story Slush Cups may be cold for those who don’t quite make it across the pond, but they are great good fun with zany costumes and lots of laughs. (Mammoth)

East and West have reaped abundant snowfall so this spring is a great time to enjoy the best of snow and ski culture.

Warmer temperatures and sunshine bring festive events like pond skims, deck barbecues, mogul contests, live music, brew fests, Easter services, egg hunts, and tailgate parties — festivities that are highlights of ski culture. This makes spring a fun time to introduce someone to snow.

Don’t forget the sunscreen. (Killington/Dave Young)

Reading Snow, Sun for More Fun
If night temperatures drop below freezing, conditions may be firm and fast at opening bell so heed condition reports, temps and sun, and ski/ride according to your preferences.

Wait an hour or so and the sun softens up the surface. Starting at 10 a.m or 11 a.m. versus 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. is not a crime.

But if overnight temps were above freezing or its 40 degrees at 8 a.m., hit first chair for sweet corn conditions.

“Control speed and make nice rounded turns just like in winter,” advises instructor Pepe Lopez.

If one side of the trail is tree lined and in shade, you may find edge-able winter conditions there whereas the part of the trail in the sun means softer snow. You might find three different conditions on the same trail, Lopez notes, so ski/ride the snow you prefer!

Follow the sun. South facing trails soften up faster so hit them early and move on to eastern and northern facing trails as conditions soften up.

As the snow begins to get sticky, it’s time for wax. Silver wax is great for days in the forties, but Lopez said make sure to “squiggle it on” — run it crosswise versus up and down the boards for a smoother glide.

Sugarloaf’s Reggae Fest, one of the biggest parties in the East returns April 11-14. (Sugarloaf)

Enjoy Ski Culture’s Good Vibrations
Part of ski culture is enjoying late-season deals and events. April brings sales on lift tickets, lodgings, clothing, and gear. Deals on demo equipment make it a great time to demo and get a bargain.

“Five New Hampshire areas ski through April 7 and another five through April 14-15,” Ski NH's Kathleen Harrigan told SnoCountry.com. Check out special events, lift ticket deals, and best prices on next year’s season passes with free days for this season, she advises.

Events abound with Mogul Challenge, Pond Skim and a May Day Slalom at Killington as the resort aims to ski into June.

Sugarloaf features its Reggae Fest April 11-14 as it stays open daily to May 5 and thereafter on weekends “as long as people are skiing,” a spokesman said.

Sunday River’s April 20 World Snowshoe Wife Carrying Championship and Great Tailgate Jamaican Vacation party help close out its season April 21 or the following weekend.

“Typical closing dates in a normal year are mid-to-late April, President of Ski California Michael Reitzell said, noting “most are open through April 21.

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth, Mt. Rose, and Heavenly will be open into May with Mt. Rose and Heavenly adjusting open days at some point, typically Fridays through Sundays. Squaw and Mammoth will ski into at least July — likely through July 4 weekend,” he added.

Oregon’s Mt. Bachelor will keep its Sunrise base area open through April 21. The primary base area, West Village, gives access to 2,000 acres and remains open through the planned closing May 26 with a Finale Festival and Pond Skim.

Tailgating is an essential part of the spring skiing ritual. (Arapahoe Basin)

Colorado’s perennial late closer Arapahoe Basin plans to stay open to June 3 with a full April and May events line-up.

If your home area has closed, spring’s the perfect time to go farther afield and explore the vibes of sunshine and soft snow.


Midwest Passes That Offer Multiple Ski Areas
SnoCountry SnoShots: Midwest Spring, Sun And Snow
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