GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

February 1, 2013

Skiing around New England

Outdoors
Dave Sartwell

---- — Man! It has been cold skiing lately, but they tell me a thaw is coming this week. The problem is the dance between rain and snow in the mountains. Will it be cold enough at elevation to make the white stuff or will we see a lot of cover washed away? After the disaster of no snow last year, the ski areas could really use some help from Mother Nature.

Monday Eric Friedman reported in from Mad River Glen that they expect 4-8” of snow in the early week. Although some of the trails are a little thin, runs like the Chute, Fall Line and Quacky are really good. But what he was most excited about was one of the biggest and best Randonnee races in North America is taking place Sunday, Feb. 3 in the Mad River Valley. In a coordinated effort between Mad River Glen and Sugarbush, this US Ski Mountaineer Association-sanctioned race starts at the base of Mad River Glen, climbs to the top, traverses the Long Trail to Mount Ellen, descends into Slide Brook, climbs into the Lincoln Peak area and finishes at Valley House lodge. All proceeds benefit the Green Mountain Club. It is the biggest mountaineering race in New England. It starts at 10 a.m.

Mad River and Sugarbush have developed a new joint ticket venture that really benefits Mad River Valley skiers. Ski the Valley+ Packages require minimum three-day weekend stay (Fri/Sun) or minimum two-day midweek stay (Sun-Thurs) and are non-transferable, non-refundable. You are able to ski the three mountains, do a little cross-country, work out at the gym and get a different free-bee every day that includes pizza, work-out classes, and the movies. The package is available from Dec. 15 - April 15th, 2013; Go to madriverglen.com for more details,

Sugarloaf has had great skiing even though it has been very cold. Ethan Austin tells me that the early snow in December, when combined with other drops since, has provided a pretty nice base. Up until now there has been no significant thaws so the mountain magic workers have been able to add to the natural snow with snow making. Even if they get a little rain later this week, they will be able to groom it in such a way as to provide a nice skiing surface.

Ethan wanted me to remind our readers about. Kids Ski Free Week. From 2/4/13 - 2/8/13 kids and teens ages 6-18 ski for free during the Kids & Teens Ski Free Weeks when they stay 3-5 midweek nights with their parents! They also have some big plans for school vacation week with a huge fireworks display on the 18th and on the 23rd the Spirit Family Reunion, the Brooklyn-based Americana band will entertain with an unprecedented old-tyme, knee-slap’n, gospel sound that’s bound to baptize the crowd. Joining with them will be special guests, Hot Day at the Zoo.

In the past the slopes have been fairly empty on Super Bowl weekend. Many New Hampshire ski areas are offering special deals for those that want to ski, especially on Sunday.

Among them is the Super Sunday Special at Cannon Mountain where two people can ski or ride for $70 on February 3. Cranmore Mountain Resort is offering a Super Bowl ECoupon that must be printed by midnight the night before from Cranmore.com and is valid for $47 adult lift tickets on February 3. Bretton Woods Ski Area will be offering a limited amount of $30 lift tickets when purchased in advance online at shop.brettonwoods.com.

Several specials are available at Gunstock Mountain Resort on February 3 including Souper Bowl Sunday, when guests can bring a can of soup to donate to a local food pantry and receive a 2 for 1 Prime Time Lift Ticket. Guests who wear a piece of clothing with an NFL logo will receive $10 off a Prime Time Lift Ticket and two for one afternoon lift tickets and two for one Zip Tours (1 p.m. and 2 p.m. only) will be available that day, as well.

For cross country skiers, Jackson Ski Touring will be hosting Super Bowl Widows’ Weekend on February 3 with two day trail passes available that day for only $21 for groups of three or more guests.

Okemo has opened its superpipe for the season. The Amp Energy halfpipe measures 520 feet in length with 18-foot-high walls and a span of 55 feet between decks. The Amp Energy Superpipe is located on Okemo’s Lower Sel’s trail, and is accessed by several lifts including The Pull surface lift, a T-bar that allows pipe enthusiasts to run laps on the Superpipe to their hearts’ content.

In addition to being home to one of the East’s few superpipes, Okemo offers a variety of terrain parks, bump runs, glades and un-groomed trails with natural conditions.

Okemo’s premier park, the Super Park on Nor’easter, offers a variety of elements: a cliff drop, a down box, a down-to-flat rail, an up-to-down box, a flat-up-flat rail, three jumps, a Gatorade feature, a battleship box and a park plaza – a collection of multi-use and multi-directional features.

For skiers and riders who are just starting to experiment with park features, Okemo offers two introductory parks: Hot Dog Hill and Bounder Park. The Black Out Progression Park spans the gap between introductory elements and big-time features. For snow sliders who like a challenge, Okemo combines gladed terrain with all-natural elements in Broken Arrow. Okemo plans to open additional parks as the season progresses. The Amp Energy Big Air Bag is a great treat. It allows skiers to work on the aerial moves with a guaranteed soft landing!

Okemo has been a leader in terrain park safety. Guests must obtain a free Park Safety Pass to access terrain parks and the Amp Energy Superpipe. The PSP program ensures that skiers and riders know some basic rules of park safety and etiquette prior to riding features.

Upon successful completion of a ten-question quiz, taken online or in person, guests are issued a certificate to present for a card pass that they must wear, like a season pass, while riding Okemo’s terrain parks. Park rangers enforce the program and administer the quiz onsite. Riding terrain park features without a park pass initially

results in a verbal warning and supplemental warnings may result in loss of lift ticket privileges. For more information, like Okemo Mtn.

Terrain Parks on Facebook, visit www.okemo.com or call (802) 228-1600.

See ya out there on the slopes.