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Where You’ll Find the Lifts to Late-Season Snow

Where You’ll Find the Lifts to Late-Season Snow

Well, here we are, the first of April, and, I kid you not, winter is stilled firmly entrenched in a good chunk of North America. So much so that nearly 40 of the 600-some-odd resorts in the United States and Canada are flirting with May — and beyond — as their closing dates for the 2018-19 ski and snowboard season. Most resorts across the continent — even in the obscenely snow-laden Sierra Nevada — will stop spinning their lifts by mid-April — or no later than Easter, which falls on April 21. But those that stay on, however, will reap the spring harvest of sweet corn and mashed potatoes left in the wake of a cold and snowy winter. So break out the SPF 50 sunblock and warm-snow wax and celebrate the last days of the season at these resorts, many of which will be open on a weekends-only basis after mid-April. East Seven resorts in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine are expected to be spinning lifts into the first week of May. Sunday River will be the first to call it a season on May 1, followed by Wildcat (May 4) and Whiteface, Jay Peak, Sugarloaf and Sugarbush, all May 5. Killington will be the last holdout, with a scheduled closing on May 26. Midwest Four resorts in Minnesota and Michigan will continue to operate past Easter with Mt. Brule and Boyne Mountain shutting down on April 29 and Lutsen and Mt. Bohemia hanging on until May 5. Rockies As one would expect, winter lingers longer in the high mountains, and 10 ski hills from Idaho to Arizona will...
How to Make a Big Splash in Pond Skimming

How to Make a Big Splash in Pond Skimming

Pond skimming. Is it a rite of spring or a rite of passage? You decide. But whatever it is, skiers and snowboarders, there is a right way to do it. And to help us figure that out we turn to JD Hoss, “Fearless Leader” of  Truckee Tahoe Radio (101.5 FM) and veteran competitor and judge of many a pond skim, including the notorious Cushing Crossing at Squaw Valley. “Some people may say that maybe I take pond skimming too seriously,” Hoss says. “But it’s the only competition I know of where a common man can beat an Olympian. And I’ve done it. “It’s a whole lot of fun. It’s what spring skiing’s all about.” Tricks of the Trade … “The No. 1 thing to remember is speed is your friend,” he says. “If you don’t go fast enough (on the in-run) you’re not gonna make it across the water. It’s all about inertia and friction. “The second thing you need is the right right gear … and have confidence in your equipment. Some people go way wide (on skis) but those don’t allow you to have enough control on the in-run and you lose speed. I have a pair of skis in the garage that are 108mm underfoot with twin tips and reverse camber that I strictly use for pond skimming. “Another important aspect is the costume, which for some people has everything to do with it (pond skimming). Make sure it is aerodynamic and make sure you can see (out) at all times. And you need to wear a helmet and a life vest.” A life vest? “I’ve done...
Time for On-Mountain Festivals — It’s a Spring Thing

Time for On-Mountain Festivals — It’s a Spring Thing

The vernal equinox is upon us,  and you know what that means, skiers and snowboarders. It’s party time. The loooong, cold, snowy winter is, one fervently hopes, behind us and up ahead only blue sky, corn snow and slush bumps. So what better way to greet the spring season than by putting on your dancing shoes and checking out one of these multi-day, on-mountain festivals? WinterWonderGrass Squaw Valley is the site for the 5th edition of WinterWonderGrass Tahoe, an annual brews-and-tunes get-together that takes place March 29-31. With the musical emphasis on bluegrass and acoustic roots music, some of the biggest names in the genre will grace Squaw’s main stage, including Greensky Bluegrass, Trampled By Turtles and Leftover Salmon. Also on tap, if you’ll pardon the expression, will be tastings of some of Northern California and Nevada’s finest brew masters, including Sierra Nevada, Alibi, 805, Fifty Fifty, Knee Deep, Lagunitas, Sudwerk and Great Basin. Meanwhile, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, which kicks off the Squaw event with a free concert on Thursday, March 28, is among the headliners at Sugar and Strings, a mini-WinterWonderGrass production that will be held at Stratton Mountain Resort  in Vermont on April 13-14. This free, two-day concert series also includes the likes of Kitchen Dweller and Twisted Pine. Details on both the Squaw Valley and Stratton festivals can be found at winterwondergrass.com. Taste of Vail Wines from Napa Valley, Santa Barbara, Corsica, France and Greece are among the featured attractions of the Tase of Vail, an annual foodie and oenophile fest at the Colorado resort that will be held April 3-6. Labeled as “a platform...
Western Snowfall Going Deep Into Record Books

Western Snowfall Going Deep Into Record Books

If you think this has been a particularly dark, dreary and dank winter, you’re not imagining things. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration just released its observations for the past winter season (December through February) and numbers confirmed it: The total winter precipitation (i.e., rain) average across the entire contiguous United States was 9.01 inches, which is a record 2.22 inches above average for that period. What that means for skiers and snowboarders is that the mountains across the West have been pummeled with powder, with many resorts, particularly in the Sierra Nevada range, reporting obscene — and in some cases record — amounts of snow.  Above Average Snowfall Try these numbers on for size: Mammoth Mountain, which averages about 400 inches of snow per season, is sitting at 635 inches and has a good shot of breaking the all-time mark of 668.5 from the 2010-11 season. Squaw Valley has had 618 inches of snow, which is just five inches shy of its all-time mark set two years ago. Northstar, which averages a paltry, for the Lake Tahoe region, 350 inches of snow annually, has been buried under 555 inches of snow this season. Brighton and Snowbird, which each average around 500 inches of lake-effect Wasatch powder annually, are sitting at 513 and 505 inches, respectively, and counting. Jackson Hole, which averages 459 inches a season, had tallied 486 inches by March 12. The various ranges of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are seriously above their average water equivalent, with Steamboat, which got 282 inches of snow this season, having received 124 percent already, Aspen (329 inches of snow) having received...
Ski Resorts You Can Experience Under A Moonlit Sky

Ski Resorts You Can Experience Under A Moonlit Sky

These Ski Resorts Offer the Unique Experience of Skiing at Night Night skiing and snowboarding is not for everyone. After all, after you’ve spent all day racking up vertical, busting pow or bashing bumps during the sunlight hours, you can hardly be blamed for sitting out the night session. Plus, it can be darn cold. Still, there is a certain aesthetic for taking to the hill when the sun goes down. The glow of the artificial lights on the snow — especially falling snow — lend an other-worldliness aspect to the rather mundane nature of making turns down the mountain. Features that are readily recognizable during the day take on more curious looks in the semi-darkness. And because of diminished light, the runs seem a whole lot steeper. So if you have a hankering to see what it’s like to ride under a dark star filled night , grab a pair of clear-lensed goggles, put on some extra extra-layering and check out these interesting night-skiing hot spots:   Brighton With 200-plus acres and more than a dozen runs lit up, Brighton is the place to be if you happen to be looking for some evening excitement in the Salt Lake City area. The Big Cottonwood Canyon resort spins three lifts until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Buy Brighton Resort Night Skiing Tickets   Alyeska Situated way up there near Anchorage, Alaska, it gets dark awfully early at Alyeska in the dead of winter. But the resort lights up 375 acres when the sun goes down, with three lifts, including the tram, providing access to 2,000 vertical feet of terrain until 9 p.m.   ...