The real March Madness is on the slopes, my friends. It's not about the Final Four, it's about those final turns in the heat of ski season. We have had a super-snowy winter and now is the time to go enjoy the softening corn snow and sunshine.
Confession: I am better at picking ski resorts than NCAA basketball teams. In fact, I am 44th out of 44 in my brother-in-law?s pool, and Barack Obama is winning. I am not bitter about being dead-last (darn you, Clemson). I knew going in that my odds were slim ? hence my chosen hoop handle "Ski Gal knows () bout b-ball."
So, here are my picks for March Madness skiing. These ski resorts will be looking good well into April, outlasting NCAA madness (or sadness for fellow bracket losers).
Sugarloaf just shines come springtime. As the thermometer climbs at this big Maine mountain, so does the party atmosphere at the Beach (outside the base lodge) with Reggaefest April 14-17, an Easter celebration April 24, and skiing into May.
Saddleback, just down the road from the 'Loaf in Rangeley, has pledged to stay open into May, weekends only after April 3, for as long as snow holds on their 4,200-foot mountain.
Sunday River opens first in the East and blows tons of snow all season long. So, the River goes strong with this weekend's Dumont Cup, and well into April with Bust 'n Burn and Parrothead weekend April 1-3, a Totally Tubular Hot Tub Party 80's weekend April 9, and maybe even a free ski day towards May.
Wildcat is where it's at come springtime. Why climb Tuckerman's when you can ride the 2,000-foot vertical high-speed quad across the notch? Wildcat has elevation on its side, and a wild side for events like its aptly named Wet Ditch Skim on April 2 (props for honesty here when it?s not really a pond you are attempting to skim).
Killington parties on into spring with the Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge April 2-3, the Sunshine Daydream Festival April 16, and Pond Skimming April 23.
Jay Peak boasts over 300 inches of snow this season. They are celebrating with a Beach Party this weekend, and Jay keeps jamming with Pond Skimming April 9, and a huge Tailgate Party April 16.
Stowe keeps spinning until April 17, and Sugarbush may ski till Easter, which is late this year, April 24.
So put down the remote, walk away from Sports Center and CBS basketball coverage, and make your own magic swoosh on the ski slopes while you can.
Photo by Greg Burke. For more of Heatherís ski tips, go to www.familyskitrips.com
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.