Two years ago, everything abruptly shut down in mid-March, curtailing fun and wacky events usually associated with spring and skiing.
Last year, although resorts were open, there was no true socializing, no crowd gathering, and again, no real spring zaniness.
But this season, with pandemic restrictions being relaxed and folks feeling more comfortable, many of the traditional spring events are coming back. Families can find pond skimming, rail jams, races, treasure hunts, music festivals, costumed events and more at many of New England’s resorts. As the sun gets warmer and temperatures rise, hanging around on trail sides, decks and patios is a great way to chill between runs or at the end of the day.
Thsee events provide opportunities to be entertained or entertain others as well as to test your grit and skill. Do you want to show off in a mini-pipe, test your skill in a banked slalom or brave the icy water in a pond skim? Maybe just sitting on the patio, beverage in hand, and listening to music is more your style. Whatever your preferences, you’ll find plenty of ways to celebrate spring at your favorite resort, or perhaps try a new one.
Bromley Mountain celebrates spring with a hunt to find the gold at the end of the rainbow, honoring St. Patrick on March 17. On March 19, it’s spring fling and live music in the Wild Boar lounge. The mountain is south-facing and has been dubbed the “Sun Mountain” for good reason. Spring skiing and soaking up the sun are favorites here.
The Ski Vermont Specialty Food Day Tour visits areas around the state, highlighting local specialty foods and beverages. The tour will be at the base of Sugarbush on March 18 with plenty of Vermont vendors showcasing their special treats.
This year marks the 10th annual 24 Hours of Stratton fundraiser. Register for free and pledge to raise a minimum of $300 for charity. You’ll receive a bib that provides access to all open trails March 19-20. Ski under the lights and into the dawn Saturday night to Sunday morning. Participate in many of the other events during the weekend, such as the Vertical Uphill Challenge, team costume contest, snowman building contest, mini snowmobile riding, firepits, fireworks, live music and nighttime tubing. Form a team with family and friends – this event is open to both adults and kids. Also at Stratton there’s Marchdi Gras on March 26. This unique event is a celebration of spring outdoors in the village. It’s a big block party for all ages with music, food, drink, and entertainment. And not to be missed is the annual pond skim on April 2.
Purity Spring Resort in Madison, N.H., offers both a day and moonlight snowshoe tour of the Hoyt Wildlife Sanctuary Loop on March 19. The daytime one is from 2-3:30 p.m. and the moonlight tour begins at 7 p.m. and goes a bit longer. Registration is required and snowshoe rentals are available but should be reserved in advance.
Spring Splash makes a return to Cranmore on March 26, with prizes being awarded for best skim, best splash and best costume.
Because of its weather, some consider Cannon Mountain old-school and rugged, despite its modern lifts and nice beginner area. Cannon celebrates old school on March 26 with ’80s Day and the Old School Duel. Bring out your retro ski outfits for the best-dressed contest and photo-op at noon. Following that, the Old School Duel is the chance to show off those tricks from back in the day. Daffys, bump skills, spread eagles and backscratchers can be shown off for prizes in three age categories .
Olympic medalist and alpine skiing legend Bode Miller will host BodeFest on April 2 at Cannon. This popular event for children ages 18 and younger gives registrants a full day of activities including a BodeFest VIP pass, a run with Bode, a fun race and autograph signing session. Kids must be able to self-load a chair and ski unassisted. Registration is open and space is limite. All of the registration fee benefits Miller’s nonprofit Turtle Ridge Foundation. The following week, April 9, entrants in the Blizzard Splash Pond compete to win big prizes from Blizzard Skis and treats from Chutters Candy Shop.
You’ve heard of ski races. And possibly participated in one. But how about an après-ski race? Head over to Sunday River on March 19 and form a team for the second annual Après Relay. This fun race combines fat biking, snowshoeing, inflatable kayaking and corn hole at the base area of White Cap Lodge. Also at Sunday River, Spring Fest Weekend arrives April 1-3. Check the resort website for details. Pond skimming is big here, too, with the main event set for April 9. Prizes go out to the winners, and costumes are not just encouraged — they weigh heavily on your score.
Looking for something closer to home? If you live in eastern Massachusetts, check out Wachusett’s cardboard box race on March 27. This colorfully fun event, for spectators and participants alike, kicks off at 11 a.m. All you have to do is construct an original “vehicle” that can slide on snow, out of cardboard and duct tape and nothing else. “Drive” your vehicle down the slope for prizes, awards and lots of laughter.
Joan Wallen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.