This is the time of year when skiers’ and snowboarders’ thoughts turn to the rites of spring: goggle tans, on-hill barbecues, slush bumps, tailgate parties, pond skims and minimal ski wear.
Though not renowned for their spring skiing vibe, East Coast resorts can still crank it up as the calendar heads toward late April and mud season.
Here are a few resorts — and one decidedly un-resort — that plan to party hearty as the month of May approaches:
After hosting such spring traditions as the Vertical Challenge Finals (April 7) and pond skim (April 15), this northern Vermont resort will close out the season with its 8th annual Tailgate Party on April 22. The action takes place at the Stateside parking lot, where skiing/snowboarding chefs will try to impress the judges with their favorite back-of-the-vehicle-prepared dishes.
Every weekend in April there’s something going on when this suburban Quebec City resort presents it Spring Madness promotion, which includes summit barbecues, inflatable games, live bands and free soaks in the base area’s assorted hot tubs.
Kids of all ages will scurrying around this south-central Vermont resort in the annual Okemo Marked Golden Egg Hunt on April 22. Find the special egg hidden somewhere in the trail system accessed by the A and B quads and get a pair of skis or a snowboard. Other eggs strewn about the hill will contain such goodies as candy and toys.
You may come to this northern Vermont resort on April 8-9 for the Sugar Slalom, a costumed, style-points event that’s been a spring tradition since 1940, but you’ll stay for the food when local businesses (Cabot Cheese, Ben & Jerry’s, Mad River Distillers, etc) hand out free samples during the Ski Vermont Specialty Food Day on April 8.
Stein’s is a classic New England double-diamond bump run, and skiers and snowboarders will have a chance to test their mettle — and perhaps win a trinket or two — in annual Stein’s Challenge on April 22 at the north-central Vermont resort. Contestants have four hours to make as many laps as possible while entertaining the beer- and pizza-imbibing spectators at the bottom of the run.
For nearly three decades, this Maine resort has been jamming to the Jamaican beat with its three-day Reggae Festival in early April. This year’s 29th annual festival, which takes place April 6-9, features New Kingston, John Brown’s Body and Gorilla Finger Dub among others.
This Maine resort likes to extend the season as long as it can, and Sunday River planning to hold Ski Maynia, its annual end-of-season celebration, on May 1, a day of outdoor barbecues and entertainment and free lift tickets to skiers and riders who can negotiate advance terrain (because that’s all they’ll have open).
Perhaps the epicenter of the New England spring skiing and snowboarding scene, but you have to hike there because Tuckerman’s is located along the flanks of New Hampshire’s Mount Washington, the highest point (6,288 feet) in the northeastern United States, some 2.5 miles from the parking area. Because the cirque that includes Tuckerman generally has the deepest snowpack in the region, skiing and snowboarding in the Ravine can go on until July, and it’s not unusual to witness thousands of springtime frolickers taking on the challenges of the steep (40- to 55-degree) chutes and faces.
If you don’t feel like hiking to get your spring fling in but still want get a feel of Tuckerman Ravine, head to this New Hampshire resort, which is situated right across the valley from Mount Washington and has a bird’s eye view of Tuckerman. You can also hang around for such late-season Wildcat events as Cat Scratch Fever, a freeride competition on April 7-8, and annual Pond Skim on April 14-15.