If you enjoy skiing with plenty of snow and warm temperatures, March is your month to ski. Compared with the early days of the season, the days feature enough daylight hours to ski until the last lift ride of the day.  

The fallen snow that covers all the man-made snow has opened just about every trail in the region, and with a bit of luck, temperatures will remain cold enough to maintain mid-winter conditions.  We never know when spring skiing conditions will arrive, but if there is an official start date, it has to be Saint Patrick’s Day.

Dave Irons, Ski Columnist

St. Patrick’s arrives on a Tuesday this year and we might not see as many celebrations as we would if March 17 fell on a weekend, but you can bet plenty of skiers will take the day off to ski. You can expect to hear Irish music at some ski areas and there will be green beer on tap in places.

While Tuesdays are often ski days for me, I see on my calendar that there is another commitment on the 17th, so don’t look for me on the slopes. Of course, while I have often skied on St. Patrick’s day, I really don’t need any excuse to ski.

EVENTS GALORE

There are plenty of other events as ski areas take advantage of the warmer days to celebrate the spring season. On Thursday, the 5th, an anonymous donor has teamed with the mountain and Gorham Bike and Ski in Portland to offer a free day for patients, their families and staff at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.March — the ideal month to skiDonations have been collected at the ski shop and others to provide all the participants a free lunch as well. This is a great way for a ski area to provide their facilities for good cause. Check Black’s website for details. 

Any donations in excess of this year’s expenses will go to a repeat next year. The day after you can get out those old stretch pants and neon jackets for Retro Day at Black Mountain next Friday. Of course, that’s assuming the stretch pants still fit. Family fun weekend is set of the 29th.

Lost Valley offers the Dempsey Winter Games to benefit that charity next Saturday. Lost Valley rarely stays open much past mid March so this is the only event on their calendar.

Thursday is Red Friday at Mt, Abram to honor veterans. Active duty and vets will ski free and dependents will ski for $10. The following Thursday, the 12th, is the annual Legends Race.March — the ideal month to skiYou can compete against members of the Maine Ski Hall of Fame. This race will benefit the Ski Museum of Maine, and while I probably won’t race, I do expect to be there and hope to take a few runs. Hope you’ll join me.

Shawnee Peak has a full schedule for March starting, Saturday with the Cardboard Box Race.  Winterkids Family Day is the 13, Jack’s and Mattress races are the 14th, the Spring Fling Slush Cup, the 21st and to make sure they get it in, the Easter Egg Hunt is the 28th.  With Easter on April 12 this year, we will probably only have Sugarloaf and Sunday River open to celebrate on the actual day.

Sugarloaf  will be celebrating spring skiing for the next six weeks  as will Sunday River. Next weekend is Winterkids Day at the Loaf and on the 21 and the Sugarloaf Ski Club will celebrate its 70th Birthday.  I’m sure many of today’s skiers are unaware that Sugarloaf was started by the ski club.  It’s a great history and the ski club still plays a key role in many of the mountain’s events, especially racing and other competitions. This will be a party worth attending. Of course, there is a party on the “Beach” in front of the base lodge every weekend for the rest of the season.

I have already spelled out the details of a big new competition at Sunday River. Master of the Mountain on the 14th will require skiing a run on each of the mountain’s peaks in four hours.  This is not a speed event. It calls for steady consistent skiing. Check the details on their website.  I expect to be there, but I’m not sure if I will compete, but you can practice for this one simply by skiing the runs that will be used.  That same day there will be an Apres Ski Party for first timers who take a lesson. There will be free food and drink following your first adult lesson.

Other events include a Brew Fest on the 28th and the Annual Eat the Heat Chili Cook-Off on the 29th  Getting into April Sunday River has Spring Fest 4/3-5 and the World Pro Ski Tour Finals 4/4-5.  Sugarloaf also has events listed into April.

As you can see there are plenty of events this month.  Go to www.skimaine.com to find more. I don’t list bands as that would take all the space, but they are listed on the various web sites.

NICE JOB

Finally, congratulations to the Mount Abram Ski Club for another big fund raising weekend. Last Saturday, the Annual Fitch/Gilpatrick race raised $500 to fight cancer in the name of two Mt Abram ski patrollers lost much too early to the disease. That evening, a solid turnout for the annual auction raised $15,000 for the ski club scholarship fund. This fund provides scholarships and ski and ride opportunities to students in Western Maine and everything from lessons to race training, both to individuals and schools. To see how this works, check out the Ski Club on the Mt. Abram website. Well done. 

See you on the slopes.

Dave Irons is a freelance writer and columnist who hails from Westbrook. He has been contributing to the Sun Journal for many years and is among the most respected ski writers in the Northeast. He also is a member of the Maine Ski Hall of Fame. Write to him at [email protected] 


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