Now that January is behind us, we can focus on winter, which has finally arrived. We might still be short of natural snow, but at least with normal temperatures, snowmakers have made up for it, and most trails are now open. That’s good news as we enter the busiest month of the season. Ski areas plan more special events this month.

Of course, with the vacation week running from the 17th to the 25th, there will be plenty of activities.

A number of events are taking place this weekend. Lost Valley kicked off the month with the City of Auburn Winter Festival, which winds up today. Sunday River has a Community Day today with free skiing for residents of SAD 44. Saddleback hosted a Telemark Invasion yesterday and today is Maine day with $25 lift tickets for state residents.

The 17th running of the National Toboggan Championships are being held at Camden Snowbowl this weekend, and many areas are plugging in big screen TVs for tonight’s game.

High school ski teams to settle state titles during vacation week. We don’t have all the dates and areas, but we do know that there will be racing at Black Mountain, Big Rock and Shawnee Peak. We’ll be watching for these events as the dates draw closer.

Lost Valley’s busy month will continue when the vacation starts, and added to their full schedule that week will be Extreme Ski and Snowboard Camps.

On Feb. 26, the Valley has a Jib Jam Rail Competition and the next day is an Intermountain race with teams from different areas around the state. These teams are comprised of good skiers who take it seriously, and it makes good watching.

At Sunday River from the 11 to the 14 is Gould Sunday River Speedweek, and the 17th Casino Night will raise funds for the Sunday River Ski Club and the GSR program. On the 20th, snowmobiles take the stage with a freestyle exhibition. The 5th Annual Telemark Festival takes place on the 24, and the month winds down with Nickelodeon Winter Week from the 25th to March 2.

Sugarloaf kicks off the month today with the wind up of Big Game Weekend even though the Patriots aren’t playing. This week is “teens ski free week,” and the 9th is U.S. Ski Team Day with $1 from every lift ticket sold going to the U.S. squad. Look for some kind of romantic happenings on Valentine’s Day, and President’s Week will have fireworks, torchlight parade, festival nights and more.

Saddleback’s U.S. Ski Team Day is the 10th, with a dollar going to the team for each ticket, and the vacation week will have a full schedule of events.

Black Mountain is wrapping up Homecoming weekend today, and when vacation arrives, the mountain and the cross country trails will be busy with MVC and KVAC high school championships. The big event of the week will be the Greg Waite Memorial Race. Dedicated to a skier who devoted himself to Black Mountain and its programs, this event will raise funds for the racing program. There will also be a “Little Mountains That Rock” demo day put on by Ski Depot.

Shawnee Peak hosts the Western Maine Conference Championships Monday, and U.S. Ski Team Day is the 10th. Valentine’s Day will feature sleigh rides with a campfire and hot chocolate for $20 a couple. Among the events slated for vacation week is Family Fun Day, with a snow sculpture contest, sleigh rides and games. Casino Night with WBLM is on the 24th, along with the Russ Haggett Memorial Race.

Mt. Abram will be open all week for vacation with Family Fun Week. One of the highlights will be the Cardboard Boxsled Race on the 19th.

Titcomb Mountain has Little Mountain That Rocks demo on the 24th.

This gives you an idea of the many happenings in February. There are more and details for these and other happenings can be found at the various Web sites. If you’re not sure of a particular site, try www.skimaine.com.

Dave Irons is a freelance writer who lives in Westbrook.


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