Skiing into spring with good snowpack

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Spring may be less than a week away, but cold temperatures are holding steady and new snow is falling. And that means snow conditions are looking good for the weekend!

Despite some heavy rain that hit early this week, ski resorts – including those in Connecticut -  remain in good shape.

On Thursday, northern New England and New York ski areas picked up a few inches of fresh snow, helping to cover damage from the deluge.

This weekend in the North Country, Saturday will be mostly cloudy with temps in the 20s, Sunday is the pick of the weekend with sunny skies and in the 20s as well. In SoNewEngland, it will be in the upper 40s.

Overall, it’s been a great winter. Snowfall has been generous, especially when compared to last year. Below is a map from the National Weather Service office in Burlington, VT on last season/this season snowfall.

While few ski areas up north have 100 percent of their trails still open, most northern areas have between 60 and 90 percent of terrain open.

Check snocountry for the latest conditions.

It will be a big party weekend at many ski areas because of St. Patrick’s Day. The biggest bash will be at Mount Snow in southern Vermont. Those of you who waited to buy the $17 lift tickets at Snow on Sunday are out of luck; the online deal went quickly (I warned you). But there will be plenty of Irish fun with live music on Cuzzin’s outside deck. The party begins Saturday night at Snow Barn where A Thousand Horses rock the house.

It may be a little early for drinking, but Snow says: “Start Sunday morning off right with Green Eggs & Kegs at Cuzzins at 8am.” Eight AM?

There will be a party going on at Okemo with a St. Patrick’s Day bash sponsored by Guinness  from 3-6 p.m. in the Sitting Bull Bar & Restaurant. The party continues down the road at The Killarney with more Celtic music and Guinness draught.

The rock supergroup Yukon Kornelius will play the East Coast in a special one-night performance at Okemo on Saturday as part of the resort’s FestEVOLV.

Stowe in northern Vermont has a different kind of attraction this weekend. It says: “Come out and test drive some of the best automobiles and SUV’s that Mercedes Benz has to offer. Take a test drive and receive two complimentary ski tickets valid through the remainder of the 2013 ski season. Sign up on the first floor of Spruce Camp from 1-4pm. No reservations are accepted for this first-come-first-serve event.” Sounds interesting, but I’d rather be skiing than driving.

Over at Stratt0n this weekend, the resorts says snowboarding legends host this all-new snowboarding and music festival. “Three competitions will go down on Stratton’s main face: halfpipe, rail jam and banked slalom (aka Washed Up Cup). Designed to be truly open, all events are open to riders of all ages and pedigrees, from juniors on up to the washed-ups. Registration is open at www.vermontopen.com for $135, which includes entrance to all competitions, music, parties and events. Competitors can enter as a junior (12 and under), amateur, pro or washed up. Musical lineup includes Gold Town, Barry and the Penetrators and DJs Nook and Kranny and Joe Bell on stages around the Main Base area,” the resort says.

Killington is kicking off five weeks of its Nor’Beaster events. Today, its $199 Nor’Easter pass begins. It’s a great deal if you plan to ski/ride Killington at least three times this season. Do the math: a $199 pass to the end of the season or $80 midweek or $88 weekend tickets? Here’s the list of Nor’Beaster events.

When I think of St. Patrick’s Day I remember those big parties at the long closed Brodie Mountain in Massachusetts. Live bands, several bars, green show and even a priest from Ireland to celebrate Mass.

The still open Massachusetts areas like Catamount, Butternut and Jiminy are in great shape with nearly all their trails open. Jiminy has a good deal on Monday: $17 lift tickets with an e-coupon here.

Connecticut ski areas are hanging in there with deep snowbases and most trails open.

Who knows? This could be the last good weekend of the season for state ski areas.

Ski Sundown will be holding its “Moguls, Money & Malarkey” Bump Competition” on Saturday. Check out the “Bump of Bust” event on Gunbarrel starting at 1 p.m. Details here.

Mohawk Mountain will be serving up 25 trails this weekend and Woodbury will have 12 or its 15 trails ready.

On Sunday, Mount Southington is knocking off $17 the purchase of any 4 hour Flex, 8 Hour Flex or the fast pass lift ticket. Also save $17 on any Lesson package. And of course, the bar will also be serving green beer from noon-6 p.m. to those 21 years and older.

After this weekend, I expect lift tickets prices to start falling again as ski areas see the end of the season in sight. Look for most areas to pack it in by mid-April, some after Easter on March 31.

Jiminy Peak in northwestern Massachusetts has a great deal on lift tickets on Monday, March 18. With an e-coupon, you can get a lift ticket for just $17.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Jim Shay

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