Among the few critical periods for the New England ski industry every season, this year’s February vacation break comes on the heels of what the resorts might call the best advertising they can get.
The mountains have been getting hammered with snow, but it’s the recent pair of storms in the Boston area that help give the “snow in your backyard” mentality that might easier prompt some to head north more than others.
There’s plenty to do waiting, whether you’re all booked and ready to go, or looking for a last-minute deal in order to enjoy what is some of the best skiing of the season.
In Maine, Sugarloaf Mountain Resort has a variety of events on tap, including family game and movie nights, a wood-carving demonstration and a backcountry skiing presentation by Patrick Scanlan, Carrabassett Valley Academy’s new Alpine Leadership Pursuits for Skiers and Snowboarders coach. Sister slopes Sunday River Resort is also all geared up for the President’s Day vacation period with a week of activities that include live music, fireworks and a top-of-the-mountain family dinner with mascot Eddy the Yeti (Feb. 20).
King Pine’s Winter Carnival begins Feb. 20, kicking off five days of sleigh rides, snowshoe tours, family races and fireworks over the Madison, New Hampshire, resort Feb. 23. Nearby, Cranmore Mountain Resort, in North Conway, will feature back-to-back weekends of “Cranapalooza,” the resort’s signature winter event with live music, outdoor entertainment, and fireworks.
For those looking to stay in the Mount Washington Valley, Wildcat Mountain will host a children’s version of après ski along with a torchlight parade Feb. 18, followed by a week in Pinkham Notch that will include races featuring cardboard boxes and cafeteria trays. Cannon Mountain will host family fun nights Feb. 18 and 25, including fireworks, a torchlight parade, and live music. Loon Mountain Resort will host a “Snowshoe and S’mores Après Party” on Feb. 23, with a snowshoe tour, followed by hors d’oeuvres, hot cocoa and s’mores.
In Vermont, the week kicks off with a torchlight parade and fireworks at Okemo Mountain Resort, paving the way for a busy schedule that includes a first-hand encounter with live falcons and hawks, as presented by the Vermont Institute of Natural Science. Mount Snow also boasts a torchlight parade and fireworks Feb. 22. There will be an ice-carving display at Sugarbush Mountain Resort, along with other activities geared to the younger set, like a kids torchlight parade and pizza and movie night. At Stowe Mountain Resort, a celebration dinner kicks off the week, with family-friendly food station prior to a torchlight parade and fireworks Feb. 19.
Closer to home, Wachusett Mountain in Princeton will also keep the kids busy next week. In addition to family-friendly activities, including the Polar Balloon Races, the mountain will host Massachusetts Audubon (Feb. 21) and the New England Aquarium (Feb. 23) for a pair of “Science on the Slopes” seminars.
Also, if you’re looking to get your children lessons next week, be sure to call ahead and make reservations. It’s one of the busiest time for the ski business, and classes can fill up quickly.