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Say No to Mud Season - Yes to Spring Skiing!

Don’t pack away the snow gear just yet. The most fun family events are still on tap at ski resort in New England. For our family, the best skiing of the season often arrives after “winter.” Spring skiing brings the obvious sunshine and soft snow, with a bonus of the best celebrations on the slopes. The opportunity to wear wild outfits and play silly on snow games is worth keeping the boards out into mid-April.

Sunday RiverMy daughter loves to rummage through our old ski garb to find funny “vintage” (that means 10-20 years old to her) attire. My son looks forward to having his cheeseburger in paradise, on the baselodge deck with music playing.

Spring ski parties aren’t just about babes skiing in bikini tops and tapping kegs for tailgates. There are some really fun family events you should check out with your children:

Carboard Box Races and Dummy Downhills are classic ski season ending traditions to test your family’s creativity. The whole gang can get involved inventing a snow sliding corrugated contraption. Dad can be design team engineer, Mom is best as creative material supplier, while the kids can go crazy with costume detail and crash testing. Look for cardboard box races and Downhill Dummy races at Okemo, Saddleback, Mt Abram and Sunapee. Many resorts incorporate a theme, like Sunapee’s Intragalactic race - now in its 18th year. Resorts typically give prizes for funniest and most festive, not just fastest sled.

Pond Skimming is a wet and wild spring ski ritual. I recommend this rowdy activity as a spectator sport event only. Suffice it to say my daughter’s ski boots took two weeks to dry after last year’s Sunday River splash down. You and the kids can watch pond skimming at Wachusett, Okemo, Killington, Cannon, Loon, Wildcat, Waterville Valley, Sunapee, Sunday River and Saddleback to name a few.

Easter is often a warm sunny weekend, and there is no better place to rejoice than in the mountains. Killington, Stowe, Smugglers, Waterville Valley, Loon and Sugarloaf deliver early birds up the mountain before dawn for a non-denominational Easter Sunrise Service. As a parent of two sleepy teenagers, however, I do not recommend waking Sugarloaftheir age group for this first tracks family activity. Sunrise Service is better appreciated by the bright and early younger set, with a promise of first tracks, a big breakfast and a treats from the bunny after their morning on the mountain. Ski resorts Killington, Okemo, Jay Peak, Loon, Saddleback, Sunday River and Sugarloaf all host egg hunts; many also have costume parades on the slopes.

Some of the best deals on lodging and lift tickets are popping up like crocus in your background this time of year too. Crowds dwindle as the snow turns to sweet creamed corn. Areas with high elevation can stay open well into April. Sugarloaf is planning to stay open till May, with ski and stay packages as low as $89 per person per day.

Lather the kids with sunscreen, dress them in layers, and teach them the joys of spring skiing. Forget frostbite and face masks, wacky sunglasses and kooky costumes are the wardrobe of choice. Summer sports will wait.

All Stories by Heather Burke
All Photography by Greg Burke

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