This ski winter was a winner....
1. First and foremost, there was the SNOW. New England received quality and quantity snow much of the season, a vast improvement over the previous. The Weather Channel exhausted their silly snow storm alphabet, with names like Nemo and Euclid delivering big dumps. Skiers that had their downhill days dialed got dozens of western-like powders days here in the East.
2. Sugarloaf was the winner of our Boston.com Skiing Showdown with over 63,000 voters participating. The Loaf rose above the rest - edging out Jay Peak in the end. Sugarbush (last year's winner) and Stowe made the final four, but Sugarloaf fans tipped the scale with their fierce passion.
3. Sugarloaf is beloved and big... big enough to get lost at, just ask Nicholas Joy of Medford, Mass. The fact that JOY survived 40 hours, two cold nights alone on Sugarloaf Mountain, but walked out on his own, definitely makes my top 5 of winners this winter. #MedfordStrong.
4. The U.S. Ski Team gets props for winning crystals globes around the Globe. Ted Ligety won five World Championships medals. Mikaela Shiffrin, at just 18, won World Cup Slalom Gold. Lindsey Vonn won her 59th World Cup and captured her 6th Downhill Title, impressive considering her season ending injury in early February. America's ski team sweetheart is back in the gym like a tiger (sorry, couldn't resist - for anyone out of the loop - she's dating Tiger Woods) training for Sochi's Winter Games. The U.S. Ski Team is looking strong for the 2014 Olympics.
5. For me, getting back on skis in March after a January tibia fracture was my highlight. In a skier's silver lining playbook, an early winter injury can have the upside of a same season comeback. It was indescribable joy returning to my favorite sport and the thrill of carving downhill. I still managed to squeezed in 44 ski days, including a grand finale in the Swiss Alps making this a memorable ski season for me. But, aren't they all?!
Ski season isn't over yet. You can still make turns at Sugarloaf, Jay Peak and Killington.
Still open for skiing out west are Snowbird Utah, Arapahoe Basin and Aspen Highlands in Colorado, Mammoth in California, Bachelor and Timberline in Oregon, and Lake Louise and Whistler Blackcomb in Canada. Photos of Sugarloaf and Zermatt by Greg Burke
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.