GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

October 31, 2012

New England nears ski season

Outdoors Dave Sartwell
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — The start of the 2012-2013 ski season is just around the corner. As usual, the 31st Boston Ski and Snowboard Expo will kick off the year in grand form from Thursday Nov. 8 through Sunday Nov. 11 at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. I like to go in if for no other reason than to get my mojo working for the coming season.

Dozens of resorts from throughout New England, Quebec, western Canada and the Rockies will be selling show-only specials on lift tickets, season passes and vacation packages. Retailers like East Coast Alpine and Eastern Boarder will be rolling out incredible deals on ski & snowboard equipment, clothing and accessories.

Admission will be $12 (cash only at the door), kids up to age 12 are FREE. Pre-buy tickets online or download a $2 discount coupon at www.OnTheSnow.com. For special savings, deals and schedule updates, follow the Expo on Twitter @SkiSnowExpo or like Expo on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bostonskisnowboardexpo. Included with the ticket purchase is a $10 Liftopia.com gift card, after filling out the electronic forms, and a one-year subscription to either SKI or Transworld Snowboard magazine.

Hours: Thursday 3-10 pm., Friday 3-10 pm., Saturday 10 am.-10 pm., and Sunday 10 am.-6 pm.

The Olympic Stars Come Out

Expo visitors can meet once and future Olympic stars at regularly scheduled poster signings and one-on-one time with some of the superstars of snowsports. Look for Hannah Kearney, reigning Olympic mogul gold medalist on Friday evening and Saturday morning and Boston Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster on Saturday afternoon at the Waterville Valley, NH booth. Olympic gold mogul skier Donna Weinbrecht will be chatting with visitors at the Ramp ski and snowboard booth on Friday and at the Killington, VT booth on Saturday. Olympic gold medalists Tommy Moe, Jackson Hole, WY, and Seth Wescott, Sugarloaf, Maine, will also be making Expo appearances on Friday and Saturday.

Slackline Championships

For the 1st time in the U.S.A., World Slackline Federation (WSF) World Championship will be held at the show. This professional slacklining competition featuring the top world ranking pros in awe-inspiring competition on this amazing cross-training apparatus will thrill the audience.

This is the first time the World Championships have been staged in the USA. Professional athletes will perform stunning aerial and gymnastics maneuvers while balancing on a two-inch wide trampoline known as a slackline. Look for colorful Andy Lewis, who performed during last season’s Super Bowl Halftime Show with Madonna, and 15-year- old Alex Mason, currently ranked #1 in the world, to headline this outstanding athletic and crowd-pleasing visual extravaganza. New England pros will be in the mix going for World gold in Boston. Check out video and general information about this growing sport at www.gibbonslacklines.com. and http://news.yahoo.com/gibbon-usa-host-2012-world-slackline-federation-world-202841240.html.

Last year, The Boston.com Ski & Snowboard Expo hosted the US national championships; this year, the Worlds! Expo visitors will have exciting opportunities to try out slacklining with guidance from the pros.

Other entertainment

Cheer on the ever-astounding SkyRiders! Aerial trampoline show of Guinness World Record holder Ken Kovach, a truly remarkable performance on giant trampolines.

Participate in the hands-on Eliteam Fitness Challenge hosted by Olympic skier Doug Lewis, and see how much fun fitness training can be.

Take the young ones to the Stowe Kids SnowPark learning center where they can get their first taste of sliding on mini-skis and snowboards.

Test your weather knowledge, pick up some key pointers so you’ll know when the snows cover the slopes and tour the outrageous new WBZ Mobile AccuWeather Lab vehicle making its inaugural Expo appearance.

Take a break at the Long Trail Beer Garden, watch the fast-paced action at the popular Vitamin Water Fall Brawl Street Skate Contest on the Waterville Valley street course, or·take a spin on the Cross Country Ski Areas Association Ski Demo Track.

Okemo Ski Sale

November 16-18 marks the return of Okemo Mountain Resort’s annual Ski and Snowboard Swap to benefit Okemo Mountain School. Skiers and snowboarders can gear up for the winter with new and used equipment at great prices while supporting a good cause. Everything from skis, and snowboards to boots, bindings, helmets, goggles, outerwear and more, will be for sale at Okemo’s Clock Tower Base Lodge Friday, Nov.16, 4-7p.m. (Early-buy hour From 3-4 p.m. is $5 or free for Okemo employees); Saturday, Nov.17, 9 a.m. 5 p.m.; Sunday, Nov.18, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Anyone interested in parting with gear (please no equipment older than 7 years), can sell it on consignment. Okemo Mountain School receives 25 percent of the selling price and the remainder is mailed to the seller a few weeks after the Sale. Consignment items will be accepted only at Okemo’s First Aid Building (in the Clock Tower Base Area): Saturday, Nov. 10, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 11, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday, Nov. 14, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For further information, please contact Mariel Meringolo at (802) 228-1513.

Dogsledding by Moonlight

Dogsledding is becoming more and more popular around New England. Here is just one I thought might make a great date night later this season. Snowshoeing or skiing under a full moon is fun, but dogsledding by moonlight is a whole different level of excitement. Lone Wolf Guiding Services offers three-hour moonlight rides on trails in the Moosehead Lake region. Enjoy the trip bundled under blankets in the sled alone or with a companion. Only the sound of panting dogs and the woosh of the sled break the night silence, while a star-filled sky or the Northern lights add to the experience. You might give them a call at 207-343-0486.