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March 02. 2013 8:14PM

It was a week of family fun in the snow in Wolfeboro


Kira Jakobs, 5, of Tuftonboro, shows off her purple, blue and red butterfly face paint design she received at the Winter Carnival at Abenaki Ski Area. (LARISSA MULKERN/Union Leader Correspondent)

WOLFEBORO - Skiers and snowboarders enjoyed spring-like skiing conditions at the Abenaki Ski Area on Saturday during the annual Winter Carnival. But visitors didn't have to be ski buffs to enjoy the day.



Town of Wolfeboro Director of Parks and Recreation Ethan Hipple and his staff, along with ski and race club members and the nonprofit Friends of Abenaki collaborated to offer something for everyone.

Aside from the ski races and other contests, people enjoyed horse-drawn sleigh rides, face painting, lots of food and even an inflatable obstacle course for the kids.

The carnival kicked off on Saturday, Feb. 23, and continued through the week with events that included a winter triathlon, ski movie screening, skiing competitions and an ice skating party. On Saturday, the day began with a pancake breakfast at Garwood's Restaurant and Pub. Back at the ski area, attractions opened at noon and continued into the night. After dark, a fireworks display capped off the day. Extended hours for both the ski area and the ice arena are offered through Sunday, March 3.

"We couldn't be happier," said Hipple of the turnout and Saturday's weather.

"We really try to have something for everybody," he said.

He anticipated that the fireworks and bonfire on Saturday night would draw about 500 viewers.

Abenaki now has its own snowmaking equipment, so much of the ski hill was covered with man-made snow to add to what was already there. Abenaki Ski Area and the Pop Whalen skate area is owned by the town, but supported by a group that includes the Friends of Abenaki, a nonprofit entity, which raised money for upgrades to the facility. Those upgrades included snowmaking equipment, said Hipple. The towns of Tuftonboro and Brookfield also provide funding for recreational department programming, he said.

Hipple said a goal for 2015 is to build a new lodge, the Abenaki Outdoor Center, to replace a small lodge that was built in 1936 out of recycled lumber.

For those new to sports, or who just wanted to try out new equipment, sales representative Ryan Dee offered demonstrations of Fischer skis and Tubb snowshoes. He said cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are low impact sports that individuals and families can do anywhere, including in the backyard. He said Fischer skis are manufactured in New Hampshire, at a facility in Auburn.

"They are one of the last ski manufacturers in New England," he said.

There will still be time to enjoy the ski hill and skating arena on Sunday. Abenaki will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the Pop Whalen Arena is open from 11:50 a.m. to 1:50 p.m. for public skating. The facilities are located on Pine Hill Road.

After March 10, the ski area will be open on Fridays and Saturdays only and will close after March 31.


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