Long winter, plenty of snow mean good spring ski seasonBY KATHLEEN BAGLIO HUMPHREYS
Special to the Union Leader March 20. 2014 9:20PM
After many record cold days this winter and especially in recent weeks, spring skiing and riding will be a welcome relief.
The calendar says it’s spring and the temperature is predicted to be on the rise.
Welcome to spring; the time of the season skiers and riders look forward to for fun and sun on the slopes. As the winter winds down, the fun ramps up with traditional spring events such as pond skimming across long, icy, man-made water while in your skis or on your snowboard, trying not to fall into the water or get your costume wet, to creative hand-made cardboard sleds that race against the clock and each other.
It’s fun to win, unless the category is best crash.
Family fun races, music, snow golf tournaments and terrain park competitions are some of the spring events to enjoy.
Most of New Hampshire’s mountains and cross-country ski areas are still 100 percent open due to extensive early season snowmaking and plenty of natural snow.
It’s expected this season’s spring skiing could be extended through much of April due to the deep base, which will ensure classic spring conditions as well as comfortable temperatures on uncrowded slopes that typically accompany the warmer spring days.
Topping the list of snowfall in New Hampshire is Cannon Mountain, which reported 170 inches, with 38 inches in the past nine days.
Loon Mountain reported 158 inches so far but has its fingers crossed for more.
Mount Sunapee’s six inches of new accumulation Wednesday night put that area at 115 inches, putting it above its yearly average of 110” inches.
Mount Sunapee is 100 percent open according to Bruce McCloy, director of marketing and sales, who said, “A lot of skiers and riders will tell you how great last March was. This March is even better as we have more trails open than last March. We are going to run out of skiers and riders long before we run out of snow this winter.”
Over in Lincoln, conditions are looking good.
“This has been a very good season for us. Cold weather early in the year allowed us to open on Nov. 8, which is the earliest we’ve ever opened the mountain top to bottom. With the exception of a brief thaw in January, consistently cold weather and generous snowfall delivered a classic New England winter. With no big warm-ups in sight, we expect to be skiing well into mid-April,” said Loon Mountain media director Greg Kwasnik.
Spring is a good time to purchase a 2014-2015 season pass. The best deals are available now so a little pre-planning could add up to savings, but prices will increase as the spring offers expire.
There are some creative new promotions offered right now. For example, Attitash and Wildcat’s “Twenty-Something” pass with no college requirement for ages 19-29 at $399. “This new, lower-priced pass will keep skiing and riding an affordable activity for an age demographic that can be financially challenged. They are finishing school, finding themselves taking on new financial responsibilities, establishing early careers, often with entry-level wages or salaries, and generally living and moving further away from the support of parents,” said Attitash and Wildcat Mountain President John Lowell.
A popular promotion is to allow new season pass holders who pre-purchase a 2014-2015 pass to access the trails for the remainder of this season. Crotched Mountain and Loon Mountain have such offers.
Discounted lift tickets and fun promotions are common as the season winds down and there are some substantial deals on New Hampshire’s mountains. Check www.skinh.com or the individual resorts for daily specials and for a list of spring events.
Here is a short list of upcoming events. Consult mountains or SkiNH for a complete list.
March 22 events: Governor’s Cup at Loon; Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge and Cynthia’s Challenge at King Pine; 80s Old School Duel and Retro Day at Canno; Pond Skimming at Crotched Mountain and Cranmore Mountain.
March 23: Mueller’s Cup, mogul competition; Cardbox Sled Race at King Pine and Loon
March 29: Pond Skimming at Cannon, Attitash, Ragged Mountain and Black Mountain; April Fool’s Rail Jam at Mount Sunapee; Beach Party at Bretton Woods
March 30: Mount Sunapee “Cares & Shares” Day, bring 5 non-perishables for a $35 ticket.
April 4: Pond Skimming at Waterville Valley
April 5: BodeFest at Cannon; 80s Day at Loon; Slush Cup at Mount Sunapee; Snowmobile Hill Climb at Pats Peak
April 6: Cardboard Sled Race at Mount Sunapee; Pond Skimming at Gunstock
April 12: Pond Skimming at Loon