Thursday, March 17, 2011

Skiing is Sugar Sweet this Spring!

The sight of steam billowing from local sugarhouses marks the start of spring skiing season. And what a sweet season it is ~ especially with the amount of snow we've had this season! The mixture of warm days and cool nights helps fill sap buckets hanging from maple trees and creates the snow surface conditions that skiers and riders savor through the final days of winter. In fact, here is the forecast for the next few days...and it looks pretty sweet!

Friday - cloudy, some precip, with summit temps 45-49
Saturday - partly sunny with summit temps 22-26
Sunday - mostly sunny with summit temps 17-23
Headin' into next week - Monday's temps moderate a bit, followed by Tues and Wednesday a bit cooler and probably dry

Closing Date? Not so fast. Okemo Mountain Resort is planning to offer skiing and snowboarding through mid-April, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy the spring snow, sunny skies and numerous on-snow events like Okemo’s Joey Jam, Slush Cup pond-skimming competition and, new this year, a wet and wild Tug o’ War.

On March 26, some lucky Joey is going home with a 1987 Kawasaki JS 550 stand-up jet ski!

Okemo is pulling out all the stops for the third annual celebration of all things "Joey." Known as Gapers, Front Rangers or by other regional monikers, in the Northeast it's the Joey who provides us with endless hours of entertainment on the slopes with his bravado and ubiquitous sense of style. Joeys will be required to ski or ride on (or near) several easy terrain park elements. Big points will be awarded for costume and attitude. Participants may register for $20, from 8-10 a.m., in the Main Base Lodge on Sat., March 26, or online at; limited to the first 50 adults to register. The competition gets started at 10 a.m. for under-18 and 11 a.m. for adults.

It’s no joke – on April Fool’s Day, April 1, when skiers and riders donate at least three nonperishable food items they can purchase a full-day lift ticket for $10. All donations will go to a local food bank.

It's a chilly spring dip for costumed skiers and riders who don’t make it across an 80-foot long slush pond at Okemo’s annual Slush Cup pond skimming competition on April 2. This popular competition is open to the first 125 participants. The entry fee is $20. Fabulous prizes will be awarded in several categories: best costume, driest competitor, best wipeout, and more. Registration starts at 8 a.m. and the pond skimming starts at 11 a.m.

New this year, a wet and wild Tug o’ War will determine the strongest (and driest) team in the Okemo Valley. This single-elimination battle will land one team in the slush pond during every round. The victorious team of eight will win $250. Registration is free and limited to the first 16 teams.

With a little planning, skiers and riders can combine some sweet spring snow sliding with a visit to a Vermont sugarhouse and a chance to win Vermont lift tickets. In partnership with Ski Vermont, select maple producers across the state will give away free lift tickets during the Tenth Annual Maple Open House Weekend, Sat., March 19 and Sun., March 20. A lift ticket will be awarded to the first sugarhouse guest who knows how many gallons of sap it takes to produce one gallon of Vermont Pure Maple Syrup. Visit for more information and a list of participating sugarhouses.