Monday, March 7, 2016
Written by John Bleh
Has this been the worst snow year ever? It certainly seems so. In reviewing our historical records, I discovered that there have actually been three worse years...
When we look back at past snowy winters, there is the potential to feel demoralized. But knowing that we have a solid base going into spring, let's put the natural snowfall totals aside, and focus on the fun traditions of spring skiing.
What would March be without the après scene in the Lincoln Peak Courtyard, with Gerry's pizza oven flaming, cocktails flowing on the patios, and our local live music scene on display? How about the deck at the Mt. Ellen Base Lodge, with the spring sun hovering above the ridgeline showering us with warmth and light while we sip on Sip of Sunshine? There is no better skiing than spring skiing.
For the freeskiers out there, there's no March tradition like the Castlerock Extreme Challenge. This event is now in its 19th season, and we've had winners of all ages. If you're an East Coast freestyle skier or rider, Castlerock is must-do terrain, and the Castlerock Extreme Challenge this Saturday, March 5th, earns you bragging rights. The deadline to register is midnight tonight. Saturday also marks the final Peter's FUNdracer, a fundraising race and social event in its 17th year that has raised over $1.5 million for melanoma research and local charities.
Over the last several years, you may have noticed our growing connection to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. Summers on the islands and winters at Sugarbush is a recreational pattern followed by many of our guests. Nantucket Weekend at Sugarbush is scheduled for Friday, March 11th - Sunday, March 13th, and we'll be celebrating with beach music, culinary specials (including Allyn's Lodge Fireside Dining), and island-themed activities in honor of some of our favorite summer destinations. Wear your Nantucket Reds and come join the fun!
March in Vermont is also known for a tradition that may even precede skiing: sugaring. Considering that Sugarbush is named for its abundance of Sugar Maples, we think it's appropriate to honor our maple syrup producers with the Sugaring Time Festival on Saturday, March 19th. Come celebrate the start of sugaring season with a variety of maple-themed activities including a maple-syrup scavenger hunt, maple-themed food specials, guest maple producers, and more.
March is also Mt. Ellen's final stretch of the season. Back when it was Glen Ellen, the mountain was known for numerous traditions, including the Cowbell Champagne Party and The Elliot Family Brunch (held in late February), and the Gelandesprung Championship. The Gelandesprung Championship, scheduled for Saturday, March 19th, is a long-distance ski jump competition for all ages and abilities, with prizes awarded to the best jumpers in each age group. (See if you can find the vintage photo of the Gelandesprung in the Mt. Ellen base lodge.)
Easter comes early this year, on Sunday, March 27th, and we'll be holding our traditional morning Easter Service at Allyn's Lodge, followed by our Easter Egg hunt.
Looking a bit further ahead, perhaps one of the most well-known spring-skiing traditions in the ski world is Pond Skimming. Both Sugarbush (Lincoln Peak) and Glen Ellen hosted pond skimming events back in the day, and we continue to build the pond each year at Lincoln Peak. Our tradition calls for our fearless leader Win to take the first plunge. Most often, he sails across (though I have seen him get wet on occasion). Win makes it look easy, but I assure you, it is not. When I pond-skimmed a few years back, I face-planted right off the jump and into the pond. Join us on Saturday, April 2nd for some wet wackiness.
March traditions can be anything -- laps on Stein's Run with your aging college buddies, local burgers and beers on the Timbers patio, warm chocolate-drizzled waffles for the kids at the end of their ski day, or family hot-tubbing at Clay Brook as the sun sets. Or, start your own family traditions with slopeside living at Sugarbush -- tour Gadd Brook Slopeside and see for yourself. Sugarbush is all about traditions -- those we share with you, as well as those you create with your family and friends. We invite you to come celebrate spring skiing with us -- it's going to be a great month!
See you on the mountain,