skiing

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It has always amazed me how the skiing and riding public is so willing to pack in the season at the end of February.
I get it. This has been a long, endless winter, with week after week of cold, snowy weather. But folks, these are snow sports, and we need wintry conditions to provide smooth surfaces of packed snow.
After the past two months, we have perfect late winter and early spring trail conditions. Now we can add longer days in March and April, with higher and brighter sun, softer and more forgiving snow, and lunch on the deck with grills blazing. As the weather warms, we begin shedding layers and goggles and finally break out the lighter clothing, sunglasses and SPF 50.
What’s not to like about all that?
Then we tack on less crowded slopes and more favorable pricing for lodging and lift tickets, and it’s almost imperative to continue our seasons for a while longer. For instance, at New York State-run facilities at Gore and Whiteface mountains, bring any unopened Coca-Cola product on Wednesdays and get a day pass for just $45.
Embracing the enormity of the snow this season, West Mountain in Glens Falls has big plans through March. The Slush Cup is scheduled for March 28, when skiers and boarders, in their most outrageous attire, skim across an 80-foot pond, simply looking for adulation and a prize.
West Mountain, under new management since 2013 which brought the site out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, has live entertainment every Wednesday and Saturday nights through March. Given the nature of this winter, it would not be surprising to see West offer skiing and boarding in April.
Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont officially opens the spring with three consecutive Mercedes-Benz test drive weekends starting March 1. Register in advance through www.stowe.com and receive two complimentary lift tickets (one-time offer) valid for the remainder of the season. Four models will be available for cruising through Stowe Mountain Resort and a road course.
The 24 Hours of Stratton is a means of giving back. The fund raiser benefits Moving Mountains, which raises money for underprivileged youth in Vermont. You can ski or ride as an individual or bring a group with as many as 12, which helps provide the state’s needy youngsters with the necessities of life.
And, oh yeah. At press time, Stratton Mountain saw 134 inches of natural snowfall this year, with up to a five-foot base on some slopes.
At Killington Resort, NOR’BEASTER Spring Passes are on sale now, offering unlimited skiing and riding from March 14 until the end of the season, which could be in May—or as many Killington diehards hope, June.
Mount Snow offers $17 Lift Tickets for Saint Patrick’s Day and a $69 Ski & Stay Getaway that is valid midweek, midseason and weekends beginning March 16.
Bromley Mountain suggests the Spring Loaded Card, which includes four days of skiing or riding for $119, and the Kids Rule 3-Pack of lessons for kids 5-14 for just $299. Both are valid through December 23, 2015.
Certainly Albany will begin losing snow in March, but if you venture to the suburbs, you will still find alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing and snow shoeing within a short drive to a higher elevation.
In a span of just 50 miles on either side of the city, enthusiasts will find Maple Ski Ridge in Rotterdam, Pine Ridge Cross Country Ski Area in Petersburgh, and Jiminy Peak in Massachusetts. These will help continue your season closer to home.
I hope I made a strong enough case for you to keep your on-snow options open for just a few more weeks. In addition to the physical benefits, there is a joie de vivre in the snow sports crowd that brings out more smiles and laughter in the spring. The warmer weather is rejuvenating and seems to bring us closer together with a common theme of camaraderie.
These are the benefits that snow sports lovers understand at this time of the season. So why end it too soon?
Thank you for spending time with me in this space all winter, and I look forward to re-connecting in the fall. Until then, keep thinking of that next visit to snow country.

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