Mad River cardboard raceMidwest ski areas are getting an early jump on the spring carnival season with family events, cardboard sled races, pond skims, family events and live music. It’s never too early to have some fun on the slopes.

Three of Peak Resort’s Midwest ski areas, Paoli Peaks, Hidden Valley and Snow Creek are hosting Duct Tape Derby’s Sunday, Feb 28. Check-in is at 11 a.m. and races begin at 1:30 p.m. There are some nice prizes and two categories to compete in at each ski area.

The best designed sled prize is $250 first place and $100 for second. The fastest sled receives $250. The sleds must be constructed with cardboard and tape. No glue allowed. Skiing, riding and tubing will be available. It’s a popular spectator event.

Mad River Mountain, also a Peak Resorts ski area, is holding its fourth annual Cardboard Sled Race and Pond Skim March 5. The pond skim requires that you wear a costume—keep it clean. The skimmer making it across the pond in what judges deem to be the best costume wins an “anytime” season pass. Next comes the classic cardboard sled race, just cardboard, duct tape and zip ties allowed. This year’s theme for the sled race is Star Wars. The popular Ark Band takes the stage at 9 p.m. for its annual reggae rock concert.

Wisconsin’s Cascade Mountain hosts its annual Spring Carnival and Midwest Open March 5. It’s a great family festival with lots of special activities and games scheduled for the kids. The Midwest Open rail competition, one of the Midwest’s best rail events, takes place in the base area beginning at 1 p.m. Register online ahead for $15 or up until noon on event day for $20. Several nearby Wisconsin Dells waterpark resorts offer lodging packages that include lift tickets to Cascade.

Mad River pond skim