As the days get longer, the temperatures warmer and the sun higher, an air of springtime celebration and silliness takes over the mountain resorts. Across New England special celebrations herald the end of the season.
In northern Vermont at Jay Peak, the Easter celebration on April 12 starts early as the tram begins loading at 4:45 a.m. for a sunrise service at the summit. Ski or board down, or ride down on the tram and enjoy a sumptuous brunch at Alice’s Table. Promptly at noon join the Easter Bunny for an Easter egg hunt on the waterpark patio.
The following weekend on Saturday, April 19, get wet and wild at the annual Pond Skim. With prizes for the best in categories of run, splash, bail and costume, it’s sure to be entertaining for participants and spectators. Follow it up, and warm up, with the annual Beach Party in the Pump House Waterpark, where prizes will be awarded. On April 27, the Stateside parking lot turns into a huge all-day Tailgate Party with a competition for the best in tailgating. Whether it’s the best dish, presentation or dessert, the competition is fierce and the fun unbounded.
Celebrate the beach at the mountain with Sugarbush’s Island Weekend March 21-22. Break out those Hawaiian shirts, shorts and sunscreen and enjoy reggae music, island drinks and cuisine at the tiki bar, hula dancing and more at this traditional spring event.
Saturday also is Ski Vermont Specialty Food Day at Sugarbush. Sample all the flavors of the state’s food and drink purveyors at the Lincoln Peak courtyard. Finish off the day with a moonlight skin or snowshoe up Mount Ellen for dinner and drinks at the Glen House. While the adults are enjoying this, the kids can celebrate with pizza and a movie at The Schoolhouse.
Make a splash on April 4 at the Lincoln Peak Pond Skim, entertaining for spectators and exciting for participants with prizes for best costume, style and splash.
If you’re up to the challenge, head to Bromley on March 14 for a stop on the NE Rando Race series. This is hard-core, with the challenge to skin up from base to summit on alpine touring or telemark skis, then ski down as quickly as possible. But it’s not just one run, it’s multiple laps accumulating up to 6,000 vertical feet — a true challenge of ability and endurance.
The next day, celebrate an early St. Patrick’s Day with a scavenger hunt throughout the day for the pot of gold prize — a season’s pass! Bromley is called the Sun Mountain, and on March 21 the sun deck will be the place to be as the ski area celebrates the season with Spring Splash. There will be family-friendly activities on snow. A highlight will be the Penguin Plunge. Bromley is teaming up with Special Olympics Vermont to host the Southern Vermont Penguin Plunge, a fundraiser in which everyone can participate — if they dare. Unlike a pond skim, where you try to stay on top of the water, the plunge submerges the hardy souls who dare to take the plunge.
In New Hampshire, Waterville Valley hosts the Last Run Luau on April 4. Slushy runs, pond skimming, music all afternoon and après giveaways and beer make this a fun spring event for all. Don’t want to get wet? Join the “beach bums” and cheer on your favorite skimmer.
Want to try to ski 100,000 vertical feet in a single day? Head over to Wildcat on March 9 for the 17th annual 100,000 Vertical Foot Challenge. This fundraiser for Make A Wish NH is not a race, just a challenge to ski 100,000 vertical feet in a nine-hour window from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Held on the Lynx trail, 48 runs will do it, with a maximum of 50 runs allowed. With a lift ride of just under seven minutes, each round trip is allowed about 11 minutes and 15 seconds. This leaves about 4½ minutes to get down, enough time to ski or ride safely down this direct route.
Cat Scratch Fever, on April 11, is a festive day for a freeride event to show off your best tricks and vie for the “Cat’s Meow.” Try your hand at on-snow disc golf in the morning and enjoy the beer garden and BBQ while you watch the competition.
Loon celebrates the spring season with the Cardboard Box Derby. Kids transform cardboard boxes into decorated means of transportation down the hill with some strict guidelines as to what can and cannot be used. You might see a rocket, a moose, a boat or an airplane gliding down the slope in front of the Governor Adams lodge. Within the contest’s guidelines, imagination is the only limit.
On April 4, an all-day celebration of the 1980s returns. Wear your best neon, hit the moguls or carve the corduroy, listen to music of the decade all day. With fun for the whole family, you can show off your best moguls tricks and compete for prizes in the Battle of the Bumps, and all ages are welcome to enter the Most Excellent Costume Contest.
For the 33rd year, Bretton Woods hosts the annual Beach Party on March 28. Break out the suntan lotion, wear a favorite spring or beach outfit, bring your skis or board and celebrate the season with spring skiing and riding, a barbecue, live music, après-ski entertainment and of course the Slush Pool event. And on Patriots Day, April 20, wrap up the season with $17.76 lift tickets plus a voucher for early season skiing next winter.
Mark your calendars for March 21 and bring the kids to Cannon Mountain for a memorable experience at BodeFest. Hosted by Franconia native, Olympic medalist and world skiing champion Bode Miller, this is a chance to ski with, and learn from, one of America’s great athletes. The registration fee includes a run with Bode, entry into a Kids Fun GS race, an autograph session with Bode, a BodeFest VIP pass, a BBQ lunch and much more as well as the opportunity to hang out with one of skiing’s greats. All proceeds go to the Turtle Ridge Foundation, which supports youth athletic opportunities in the local communities.
A week later, March 28, return for ’80s Day. While dressed in your neon ’80s finery, show off your daffies, backscratchers, spread eagles and bumps skills in the Old School Duel. Categories are for Radicals (12 and under), Hotdoggers (13-39) and Old School Legends (40+). Prizes will be awarded and followed by an après party with an ’80s cover band.
Blizzard Skis and Chutters Candy Shop will offer big prizes for anyone who can make it across the Blizzard Splash Pond on April 11.
The Hannes Schneider Meister Cup Race will take place at Cranmore Mountain this year on March 14. It’s a low-angle-format dual GS suitable for all levels of skiers and boarders. While competition is fierce at the highest level, recreational skiers will have a blast competing head to head as well as against the clock in this fun event. All ages are welcome and, in the past, racer ages have run from 4 years old to 90. It’s part of a weekend fundraiser for the New England Ski Museum, which honors the traditions of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division. Other activities include a show of vintage ski wear and equipment, a dinner and a silent auction offering equipment, clothing, gift certificates and more.
Not to be missed is the Slip n Flip tournament at Sunday River on April 4 as part of the Spring Festival weekend. This relay-style event involves 16 five-member teams competing on the slope above White Cap Lodge — sliding on tubes and chugging Spring Fest punch, otherwise known as water. The competition goes on until only one team is left, crowned grand champion. There will be lots of music, BBQs and other food throughout the weekend as the arrival of great spring skiing, riding and weather is celebrated.