Today was supposed to be closing day at Shawnee Peak, but Mother Nature intervened with temperatures in the 50s and 60s, and too much snow was lost. That’s the way it goes this time of year. We never really know.

Most of the smaller areas closed a week or two ago, leaving us with only four in Maine planning on skiing after this weekend. Mt. Abram plans on operating next weekend. Saddleback is shooting for the 15th and Sugarloaf for the 22nd. Sunday River hedged its bets, calling for mid-April, depending on the weather. Of course, it will all depend on the weather. Not taking any chances, I will be wrapping up a visit to Crested Butte in Colorado as you read this.

Plans for Easter weekend have yet to be made, because like all skiers I will be watching the weather. Actually, the plan is to ski; the question is where and on what skis. The last few times out I have been testing some of next year’s Volkl’s, and so far the runs have been mostly on groomed snow, some hard pack, but no soft snow. The Tigershark with Power Switch is designed to handle a variety of conditions, and I can report that it works fine with the switch on. Now I need to find some soft snow to check them out with the switch off. With luck, next weekend will bring us some soft spring conditions, and I will be able to complete my report on these new models.

The other consideration is the various events that ski areas are putting together. Here are some of the activities being planned.

Saddleback has an Easter Egg Hunt at 11:30 Sunday morning, and the prize is a big one. Somewhere on the mountain, there will be hidden a Golden Egg, and whoever finds it will win a season pass for next season. At 1 p.m., it will be time to don costumes for the Easter Parade with prizes for the best costume and the best Easter Bonnet. For the kids, the Easter Bunny will make an appearance.

Sunday River has a full weekend that includes entertainment for kids. Nikelodean’s Spongebob, Dora the Explorer and the Russian American Kids Circus will be on hand both Saturday and Sunday as part of the Kids Snow Festival, which also features children’s games. Saturday will be capped by fireworks, and Sunday’s activities will start with a Sunrise Service, followed by an Egg Hunt and an appearance by the Easter Bunny.

Easter celebrations are a long tradition at Sugarloaf, which has a big Reggae weekend with concerts and a season passholders BBQ. Easter Sunday will start with a sunrise service followed by a traditional service at the Dick Bell Chapel at 9 a.m. and a downhill worship at the base of the Double Runner chair at 11.

For a free lift ticket, show up for skiing in a full head-to-toe bunny costume. Ears and a tail won’t be enough. The Easter bunny will be in the King Pine Room in the base lodge from 8:30 to 9:30, and kids can tell him something nice they have done for someone and color an egg for his Easter Tree. There will be scavenger hunt for 8-12 year olds starting from the King Pine room at 9 a.m. The Easter Parade starts at 11, with registration between 9 and 10 a.m. This most creative parade dates back decades, and there are prizes for the Snazziest Easter Bonnet, Most Original and Outrageous, Most Team Spirit, Family Fun Forever, Bodacious Easter Bunny 2007 and the Spirit of Sugarloaf.

Sugarloafers have always taken their spring skiing and partying seriously, and the few times I attended their Easter celebration, it has certainly been worth the trip. Of course, having skiing over 4,000 feet in elevation really helps spring conditions, which are the true reason for this celebration that started on St. Patrick’s day and continues until the end of the season.

Another great spot for a spring weekend is over in New Hampshire. Wildcat also enjoys an elevation advantage with a base over 2,000 feet that assures good skiing well into April. Their closing date is set for April 15, and for Easter, there will be an egg hunt and a BBQ on the deck. Wildcat is always a good bet in the spring, and it has one thing no other area can offer. The view of Mt.Washington and Tuckerman Ravine across the notch is unmatched in the East. Skiers who plan on skiing after the lifts have all closed will finish the season by hiking into those runs, and there is nothing like a visit to Wildcat on a clear day to get a skier excited about a trip into Tuckerman for a season finale.

For exact details on these events, a call ahead is best. Some of the information is on Web sites, but I found a lot more by direct contact with some of the areas. Whether your choice is a sunrise service or just watching a parade or taking the kids out for an egg hunt, a ski area is a great place to spend Easter Sunday.

Dave Irons is a freelance writer who lives in Westbrook.

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