It’s cute to hear some weather folk in Massachusetts celebrate the “end of winter,” touting the dearth of snow the Commonwealth has received during the month of February.
It’s like they just got here or something.
Any New Englander who has been around the block at least a few times knows with a certain amount of confidence that winter isn’t ever really over in the Northeast until the Red Sox have played a solid month or so of the regular season.
But this is also the sort of winter like the one that inspired Sunday River’s Les Otten to dump a truckload of snow on the Boston Common in order to convince city folk that, despite the lack of snow in the Back Bay, there was plenty in Maine.
The line of demarcation in terms of snow this season is striking. The further you head north in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, snowpack gradually appears until it finally looks like winter. All you have to do is blink on the drive and, voila.
In fact, as recently as Tuesday, the Mount Mansfield snow stake read 58 inches, only five inches below average on that date. Want more good news? By the end of the weekend, that reading could be above average.
End of winter. Right.
That doesn’t mean there won’t still be some disappointments and missed opportunities. As of Thursday morning, a storm that was slated to dump up to 14 inches of snow, stretching from New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Valley to Sunday River and Sugarloaf in Maine, turned out to be more of a wintry mix. But the flakes were still flying as of this writing, with nine inches expected to fall at Wildcat Mountain, and up to a foot at Sunday River. Elsewhere, at Loon Mountain, the morning’s conditions were characterized as “challenging.” Cannon Mountain was forced to close due to high winds, but was still expecting 4-8 inches by Friday morning. (Update: As of 9:30 a.m., Loon also announced it was closing for the day due to sustained winds.)
Josh Fox of the Single Chair Weather Blog, who is a dependable source for all things weather-related in Vermont, isn’t optimistic about snowfall in the early portion of March, but that doesn’t mean to start donning your flip-flops.
Winter is hardly over. OK, in Massachusetts, maybe it never really got started.
But it’s still not all that hard to find it.
Majestic experience in Lincoln, N.H.
One thing I failed to mention in this week’s recap of vacation week skiing in New Hampshire was visiting the popular Ice Castles in Lincoln. My wife has been wanting to visit this attraction for years, and this year, she was sure to purchase tickets on the first day they were available since it sells out quickly. I, admittedly, didn’t really see the big deal.
That changed immediately upon entering what can only be described as an immersive dive into something other-worldly. At night, the Ice Castles glow in a variety of colors, and as you walk through the passageways, it’s easy to feel transported into something out of a working movie set. There’s a Game of Thrones feel to it all. It is really quite remarkable.
There are a few available time slots remaining before the Ice Castles melt away. Check out availability at icecastles.com/new-hampshire
Vintage day at Mad River Glen
Friday is Skiing History Day at Mad River Glen., presented by the International Skiing History Association. There will be guided mountain skiing both in the morning and afternoon and a luncheon including a heritage presentation about Mad River’s history. Tickets are available online for $64; $15 to only attend the luncheon. Attendees are encouraged to don as much vintage skiwear as they can find.
New Hampshire College Pass now available
I’ll never forget the thrill of picking up my first college season pass, the mighty “Big Pass,” good at both Stowe and Sugarbush in the 1990’s. Now, college students frequenting New Hampshire ski areas, have something similar to look forward to next season.
The new New Hampshire College Pass is now available for $289, providing unlimited access to Waterville Valley, Cannon, Cranmore, and Gunstock during the 2020-21 season. Perhaps even more enticing is that students who purchase the pass today can also use it the remainder of this season.
Get more information at www.waterville.com/nh-college-pass
Twenty-four hour ski-a-thon at King Pine
Fundraising is currently underway for Cynthia’s Challenge, a 24-hour ski-a-thon at King Pine Ski Area on March 13-14. Now in its sixth year, Cynthia’s Challenge has raised more than $300,000 to help ease the burden of children and their families who encounter staggering medical costs.
Cynthia Verrill was the first benefactor in 2014, when the $35,000 raised was used to provide her with a seizure-detecting service dog. Last year, the event raised $65,000 to purchase a handicap van for another family.
To make a donation, or to become a fundraiser, visit www.classy.org/campaign/cynthias-challenge-24-hour-ski-a-thon/c251198
Some sad news to report regarding King Pine as Bob Hoyt passed away earlier this week after a battle with cancer. The Hoyts are long-time owners of King Pine. The ski area posted a tribute to Hoyt Wednesday on its Facebook page.
A day for Jake
Stratton Mountain Resort is among the 13 ski areas — and the only one in New England — paying tribute to the late Jake Burton on March 13 with free lift tickets. “A Day for Jake” will take place on March 13, to celebrate the legacy of Burton, who died last November after a battle with cancer.
You must register ahead of time at www.adayforjake.com
New England Ski Journal TV visits Wachusett Mountain and Ski Bradford
Wachusett Mountain and Ski Bradford are two of the top skiing destinations in Massachusetts. We went to visit both on this episode of New England Ski Journal TV. Catch a new episode on NESN Tuesday afternoon at 3, when we travel to North Conway, New Hampshire and Cranmore Mountain Resort. (Episode will re-air on Friday, March 6, and will also air on NESN Plus Friday at midnight.) Later in the month, NESJTV will head to Jay Peak, Vermont.