Five resorts that shine come spring time

Why is it that parents only take their kids skiing in snow-deprived December or jaw-clenching cold January? Families pay big dough for Christmas vacation, when snow can be thin and crowds thick. But come spring, when the best conditions often prevail, a ski trip is the last thing on a family’s calendar.

 

When you are thinking spring, don’t think theme parks down south – think terrain parks and trips north.

 

These New England ski resorts really shine come spring time.

 


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Sugarloaf

in Maine has elevation and a northern location. Maine’s “King of Spring” keeps skiing until late April, so you can likely ski and ride at the Loaf during school vacation week. They even have a “beach” in front of the base lodge, with sun and snow (sorry, no sand). Easter is a fun time at the Loaf, and so is Reggaefest (April 15-18). Though not family-oriented, most of the island music fans don’t ski, so that leaves the slopes open for your family.

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Killington

 keeps its events and lifts cranking into May. The Sunshine Daydream Festival on April 17 is fun for grownup hippies and offspring alike. Picture granola, tie-dye, good tunes, and turns.

 


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Wildcat is a late-season great in the White Mountain state. The high elevation by Mount Washington means more snow. Wildcat stays open till May some seasons. Riding the speedy quad with your kids sure beats hiking Tuckerman’s Ravine and hearing little Timmy complain the whole way that he’s tired (in my motherly opinion). Lodge your family in nearby North Conway or Jackson, and make tracks for the ‘Cat.

 


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Sunday River stockpiles snow all winter (remember they opened Oct. 14), and the lifts often keep spinning through April vacation week. The resort has plenty of beds and late season deals for families, whether you want condominium convenience or hotel lodging. Parrot Head is later this year, April 10-11, always a fun fiesta with pond skimming and silly outfits.

 

Jay rhymes with May. Thanks to their Northern Vermont locale and lake effect snow clouds, JayPeak plans to ski till May 2. Last season Jay was the last ski resort to close in Vermont. Their Splish Splash party is scheduled for April 17. Take your family to Jay to play this spring.

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Mickey and Grammy in the sunshine state can wait. Book a late-season ski-and-stay package at a ski resort with elevation and a strong snowmaking reputation. Just keep in mind, its intermediate and advanced skiing on the upper mountain terrain as the season goes really late, as snow coverage on the lower mountain evaporates. Pack the sunscreen and the camera to take lots of photos of your kids skiing and snowboarding on the sunny slopes.

 

You and the family will feel like king of the hill, not just another mouse in the amusement park.

 

Heather Burke is our family ski guru. Photos by Greg Burke. For more of Heather’s family ski tips and stories, go to www.familyskitrips.com