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Best spring trails in the Northeast

Posted by Heather Burke  April 9, 2010 09:05 AM

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white_heat_spring.jpgHere are a few ski trails that really heat up in spring time. As the snow melts (rapidly this year), skiers slather on the sunscreen, shed their layers and seek out the best spots. Some trails are better that others come spring - most notably those still open. Here are a few fine trails that typically offer longer lasting base depths, great scenery and good turns as the snow goes from firm to slush. Ironically several of these terrific trails also afford spectators a good show given their location under the lift.

 

Sugarloaf  is “King of Spring” for its northern Maine location and its late season events like Reggafest April 15-18.  White Nitro, which can be pretty firm midwinter, is finally grip-able in April. This long legendary trail from the upper snowfields is double black diamond, so you earn your bragging rights and your beverage at The Widowmaker overlooking “The Beach” when you reach the base.

 

If Killington is the “Beast of the East” then Superstar is “spring headquarters” at this animal. The name says it all, it’s located under the Superstar quad – perfect for show offs. Cascade on Killington Peak, under the K-1 Gondi, is also worth mentioning and worth making spring turns on.

 

Wildcat  has Lift Lion, cleverly named for its centerpiece location under the speedy 2,112’ vertical Wildcat Express quad. This trail gets bumped up, has beautiful views of Mt. Washington and Tuckerman’s Ravine, and it’s beneath the chairlift. If you ski it well, you may elicit some cat calls from the chairs above.

 

Sunday River’s White Heat has a long legendary spring skiing history. It has been home to Bust n’Burn – where pro skier celebs like Wayne Wong would compete with local bump talent in the 80’s. That event has been moved around to Tempest and this year, Monday Mourning. A few years back, “Heat Harvest,” a freeskier filmmaker event, showcased young talent hucking off huge jumps harvested from the waning White Heat snow. Ski the Heat first thing in the morning when its cord, or wait till it softens to corn, then big bumps. White Heat is always long, wide, and steep, always with spectators on the fixed grip quad. Great trail compliments of Les Otten. Right Stuff and Monday Mourning with their northern exposure hold the snow well too.

 

Stowe’s National finally softens up come spring time, particularly the headwall. As one of the famed Front Four, it is a rite of passage for Eastern skiers earning their stripes. So ski it, and ski it well since you’re viewable from the Fore Runner Quad. Stowe, sadly, is closing for the season on Sunday.

 

Sugarbush’s Lincoln Peak features Stein’s Run where the moguls get bigger and squishier as the day goes on. Of course, there is also aptly named Spring Fling which is typically groomed if you are not quite up to Stein Eriksen caliber car-sized bumps.

It’s going fast, so get out there and hit these time honored trails.

 

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

 

 

sugarloaf_hrb_snowfields.jpg 

 

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Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.

Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.

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