Monday, April 14, 2014

Ski season continues through Easter & Patriots Day

Our Family Ski Vacation blog has moved, follow us here at Family Ski Vacations!

If you were prepping your taxes or raking your yard last weekend, you missed some of the best skiing all year. Sunshine, soft snow, spring parties and pond skimming, and then it snowed on Sunday in the higher elevation mountains. So have no fear, there is still more New England skiing on tap. 14 ski resorts are still spinning in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Last year  on Tax Day there were only 9 ski resorts remaining in the game.

Easter Sunday will be the grand finale for most, although given the quaintly of snow, a few ski areas have pledged to keep going beyond Patriots Day Monday April 21.

In Maine, Sugarloaf, Sunday River and Saddleback are all open and planning fun events for Easter Sunday.  Sugarloaf has East Coast Pond Skimming next Saturday, and $59 lift ticket for the remainder of the season.  Sunday River will have free skiing Patriots Day Monday April 21 as their season finale.

For New Hampshire ski areas, Bretton Woods is closed midweek, but will reopen for April 19-21 with special Patriots Day ticket prices of $17.76 on Monday April 21 including a bonus voucher for early season next winter.  Cannon and Loon are both 61% open this week through Easter weekend. Wildcat vows to keep going, but will close Tuesday April 15 given the forecast, reopening Wednesday with $40 midweek tickets.

In Vermont ski country, Jay Peak, Mount Snow, Smugglers Notch, Sugarbush, Stowe and Stratton are still skiing on more than 50% of their terrain. Stowe will host its 60th Easter Sunrise Service, and lift tickets through April 20 are just $49 - a steal for Stowe. Killington  is on ski day 174, and plans to keep going as late as snow allows, with Nor'Beaster Pond Skimming this Saturday and Easter services Sunday.

Be sure you know before you go, as conditions and operating hours change unexpectedly in spring. These are the bonus days of winter, especially when the snow softens to creamy corn and you shed layers and feel the sun shine in. Watch the forecast, as the right temperatures and clear skies make or break a spring ski day. 

See you on the slopes. As published on www.Boston.com/ski 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Skiing the Ravine - Tuckerman's Spring Ski Ritual

Our Luxury Ski Vacation blog has moved, follow us at Luxury Ski Trips! Thanks!

Now's the time of year more and more skiers head into Tuckerman's Ravine on Mt Washington to enjoy true spring skiing, au natural, no lifts, no grooming, just the great White Mountains under a blanket of winter's snow. The sun comes out, the partyers do too. Trekking the 2 mile ascent up from Pinkham Notch into the bowl to be surrounded by snow, like minded skiers, and folks who are eager to celebrate the essence and the end of the sport of skiing for the winter.  Tuckerman's is an Eastern skiers rite of passage, certainly the passage from winter to spring.
Tuckerman's has been attracting skiers since the 1930s, the first Inferno race was held on these Mt Washington south slopes in 1933. Tony Matt made it famous tucking the headwall in 1939. Today you see other crazy stunts, costumes and hard core skiers attempt the snowfield, the headwall and Hillman's Highway.

Me, I prefer riding the high speed Wildcat Express across the valley, enjoying my cushy quad ride, resting my quads and doing 2,100' vertical laps on groomed snow that softens to perfect corn in the spring. Why hike when I can ride a 6 minute lift? I get the allure of Tucks, I did it as a teenager. Its a lot of ski gear to carry up the Fire Trail for those few runs. The party is fun, but its kind of a freak show on weekends these days. With as many as 4,000 people on a sunny spring Saturday, dare I say some don't know what they are doing up there, which scares me.

I urge folks to know before the go... check the avalanche danger, be prepared for the natural elements, changing weather, and don't put yourself or other skiers and riders at risk. PS: remember that you have to carry your empty beer cans and yourself out at the end of the party.

See more on Skiing Mt Washington's Tuckerman's' Ravine and skiing at Wildcat at Family Ski Trips!