“I can’t wait until Friday!” has been the mantra of happy anticipation around my house this week. While I snuck in my first runs of the season on Loon’s opening day last week, my kids are itching to don ski boots, click into bindings, and feel snow beneath their skis again. And today — the Friday so eagerly awaited — is the day.
There is something special about opening day, whether it’s the first chair of the season at your favorite area or just your own first turns of winter, whenever they happen. I’m always a little bit antsy that inaugural chairlift ride: excited about that first run after several snow-less months, anxious about whether I’ll remember how to do this, reconnecting with that constrictive feel of ski boots after a couple seasons of flip-flops and sneakers.
But then I slide from the lift, push off down the slope, and it’s just pure happy. Wind in my face, skis slicing through snow, dancing-with-the-hill happy.
Last Friday I joined a smiling crew of Opening Day-ers at Loon that ranged from preschoolers to college kids playing hooky from class to retirees cruising the slopes. Other early openers this season were Bretton Woods and Wildcat, which spun the lifts beginning Veterans Day, and Mount Sunapee, which opened the day before Thanksgiving. Today marks opening day for Cannon, Cranmore, and Waterville Valley, with several other ski areas around the state slated to welcome skiers and riders over the next two weeks.
To celebrate the start of the season and amp up the excitement even more, several areas have special events planned throughout this holiday weekend. Bretton Woods and Cranmore Mountain Resort are both hosting homecoming celebrations featuring Warren Miller’s newest ski movie and brew fests.
Bretton Woods (www.brettonwoods.com) will show Miller’s “Line of Descent” at the base lodge at 7 p.m. Friday. Doors open at 6 p.m., and there’s a cocoa pre-party in the gazebo out front from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday the celebration continues with a slope-side barbecue on the deck of the base lodge from noon until 2:30 p.m., and a beer tasting featuring regional breweries from 2 to 5 p.m.
Cranmore (www.cranmore.com) will offer two showings of the Warren Miller movie, at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday in Zip’s Pub. Also Saturday afternoon is Cranmore’s Annual Brew Fest and Vintage Trail Sign Auction — along with live music — from 3 to 5 p.m. at Zip’s.
The weekend also offers three rail jams — at Gunstock, Loon, and Wildcat. Gunstock’s Black Friday Rail Jam (www.gunstock.com) allows jibbers to hit the snow a week before the area officially opens. Friday’s event starts at 3 p.m., with registration beginning at 2 p.m. at the Stockade Lodge. Loon (www.loonmtn.com) will hold its annual Cease and Desist Rail Jam under the lights Saturday, with skiers hitting the park beginning at 5:30 p.m. and snowboarders an hour later.
Wildcat’s Getting Jibby at the Kitty (www.skiwildcat.com) runs all day, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the rail garden near the base area.
It all adds up to more happy snow-sliders getting their Opening Day turns after the long wait for ski season.
Winter Notes is published on Fridays during ski season. Contact Meghan McCarthy McPhaul at email@example.com.