Easter weekend festivities

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How long will the ski season last? That depends on which ski area you call.

A number have already wrapped up the season, and most will call it quits after Easter. As always, the season will end not due to lack of snow, but a lack of skiers. This happens even in a good year.

As the weather warms, we have other outdoor options – golf, fishing, boating, tennis, hiking and more. And those are just some of the recreational choices. With the snow gone from the yard, assuming it was ever there, we hear voices suggesting it’s time to get out the rakes. But it’s not time to hang up the skis, unless you want to miss the big party.

The party (spring) season begins with St. Patrick’s Day and hits an apex next weekend when the Easter Bunny will appear at many ski areas. And where he doesn’t appear, he will have hidden eggs.

Sunday River will begin the day with a sunrise service at 7 a.m. at the top of Barker Mountain. The Quad at Barker Base will open at 6:30 a.m. to transport skiers to the summit. There will be collections buckets next to the lift for skiers who wish to donate cans of food for the Bethel Food Exchange. Skiers are advised to dress for the weather, and the lift is free with or without skis. There will also be an egg hunt and other children’s activities.

When the season ends hasn’t been announced, but a ski-free day is scheduled for May 6.

At Sugarloaf, the Superquad will open at 5 a.m. to carry skiers up to the Sunrise Service. For those wanting to sleep in, there will a service by the Sugarloaf Area Ministry in the Chapel at 9 a.m. Dress as an Easter Bunny from head to toe, and ski free for the day. Better yet, show up for the group bunny picture at 11 a.m., and receive a free voucher for a day ticket through Dec. 23.

From 8:30 to 9:15 a.m., kids can meet the Easter Bunny in the King Pine room to color eggs and take photos with the bunny. At noon, the annual Easter Parade takes place. Sign up before 11:30 a.m. at guest services. There will be prizes for different categories.

Saddleback was planning a three-tier egg hunt with the little kids searching around the base and novice trails, with older children on the intermediate and expert terrain. Big kids – adults – can hunt for the golden egg, which is worth a free season pass for next year. At 11 a.m., there will be an Easter costume parade. Easter will be the final day of the season.

Over in New Hampshire, Bretton Woods will have an Easter Egg-stravaganza. A hunt will take place on the grounds of the hotel. A sunrise service will take place at the Top O Quad restaurant at 7 a.m., followed by an on-slope egg hunt with the Easter Bunny skiing along with the kids. There will be an Easter crafts show at 11 a.m.

The third annual Bode Fest – a giant slalom race in the morning and a golf tournament in the afternoon – is set for April 28-30. For details on entering a team, call 877-873-0626.

At Wildcat, the egg hunt will begin when the lifts open, and there will be a barbecue on the deck. How much longer the area stays open after Easter will depend on the weather.

There is plenty of skiing at those areas remaining open, and the snow that mountains received Tuesday has some thinking of continuing beyond Easter. Wildcat reported receiving 11-16 inches, Sunday River 5-10, Saddleback 12 and Sugarloaf 12-14. It was a fairly heavy snow, so once packed out, it added to the base. The new snow also can be pushed around by the groomers to cover bare and thin spots.

All we need now is cold nights to keep the skiing good for a few more weeks. Those skiers looking for more, do need to be aware of what new snow does this time of year. Often in midwinter, we can get away with little or no wax, but in spring with climbing temperatures, proper care of the ski base is critical.

New snow can be grabby, so warm temperature wax is needed. It’s also important to apply that wax to a clean base. Grime from several sources, lifts, snowcats and pitch from fir trees can build up in the snow through the season. As the snow melts, the grime becomes concentrated. Before the next trip, clean the base thoroughly with a citrus based cleaner and apply a warm temperature wax. Then take along a plastic bottle of the cleaner, some paper towels and some of those packets of wax so you can clean the base during the day if grime builds up.

Along with sunscreen and good sunglasses, taking care of the ski base can make those final spring days enjoyable. After Easter, you can count on plenty of activity on the various decks.

After next weekend, you will have to do without the advice of this column until fall, but we do have an important announcement about next season’s kickoff event before we prep our skis for the offseason.

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