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Spring's peaks: A guide to the upcoming ski season

Yes, it has indeed been a schizophrenic winter in New England.
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My wife questioned my appearance last Friday afternoon when I threw on a pair of khaki shorts. After all, the temperature had reached an abnormal 70 degrees in the Boston area. ’Tis the season … or something like that.

But even that shift in the weather did not sway her from changing out of her woolen sweater with matching scarf rolled around her collar. “It’s still February,” she reasoned with me.

Like I needed that reminder.

Yet, in like a lamb comes March with the skier’s apprehension that the lions have been put away for the bulk of the month. It’s, once again, forecasted to be in the 60s this week, with the sudden prognosis that spring skiing, much like it did last year, has arrived terribly too early. Nah.

This month can typically be one of the snowiest of the year in the mountains of New England, helping to quell the fears that record snowfall in places like Sunday River and Sugarloaf in February — when each resort received more than 5 feet — might disappear faster than anyone intended it might. In Vermont, Pico Mountain went and made snow Monday, a seeming commitment to calming the nerves of those who slipped into their sandals at some point last week. Sunday River’s snowmaking team is planning on hitting the mountains on Thursday and Friday night.

Not that there hasn’t been a cost. The recent warmth cost 3 feet of snow at the summit of Mount Mansfield. That may sound dire until one realizes that the result is only 4 inches off from the average snow stake at the top of Stowe at this time of the year.

Yes, it has indeed been a schizophrenic winter in New England.

But with March comes the necessary, annual reminder for some that the skiing and riding season does not end with the conclusion of February school vacation. Heck, Killington Mountain Resort, aiming to maintain its reputation for being the “King of Spring” is already planning on having late-season skiing scheduled for Memorial Day weekend.

The Vermont resort is also offering a new deal beginning this month with its Nor’Beaster spring season pass, which is good for the remainder of the season — however long that may last — beginning March 17. You can purchase the pass for $189 before St. Patrick’s Day, or for $209 on or after the start date. That’s, of course, in addition to a wealth of events planned through April, including the annual pond-skimming, Bear Mountain mogul challenge and the May Day slalom. killington.com

Wachusett Mountain has also resumed snowmaking practices this week, setting up its Rest of Season Pass for $168. Even better, you can upgrade your lift ticket and only pay the difference. wachusett.com

Pat’s Peak, in Henniker, New Hampshire, is planning a sliding scale of midweek prices this month, starting with $35 lift tickets next week, decreasing $5 each week until $25 tickets will be available March 20-22. A portion of the proceeds will go to local charities. patspeak.com

Spring skiing also brings out all sorts of other rock-bottom prices at the ticket window, including Mad River Glen’s St. Patrick’s Day special, when anybody wearing green can ski for only $17. Donate a minimum of five nonperishable food items and ski for $39 at Okemo Mountain Resort. At Waterville Valley, April 1 will come a little early, with the resort offering lift tickets on March 31 for the grand total of $1.

No fooling, unlike the weather. But we can probably put the shorts away for now.

 
 
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