While it’s been an up and down season for temps, we have had a lot of very good skiing and that rodent in Pennsylvania can’t tell Maine skiers anything about the remainder of winter.

Dave Irons, Ski Columnist

I have lived through more than my share of Maine winters. I have never seen one end Feb. 2. Obviously, the law of averages tells us we will always have six more weeks of winter after Groundhog Day. That puts the end of winter in late March or mid-April. Easter is April 9 this year and we can easily plan on skiing at that time. Thanks to snowmaking and a good amount of natural snow in the mountains, we have excellent cover, so we will have more than six more weeks of skiing.

The vacation is coming, and with it, high school championships. Alpine championships are scheduled for Saddleback on Feb. 15-16. The Lonesome Pine Ski Center will host the Nordic Competition in Fort Kent on Feb. 21 and 23, and more Alpine is set for Black Mountain in Rumford on Feb. 17. If you take the time to watch some of these events, you will be rewarded by seeing some very good skiing. While the gyms will be full of spectators for the basketball championships, not that many will see the ski competition. Mostly it’s only coaches, officials and a few volunteers serving as gatekeepers.

For a few years, Mt. Abram reserved Friday nights for high school competition and I was always impressed by the number of parents who would gather at the finish. Some would purchase lift tickets and ski to a spot along the course to watch the action, but the crowd was always at the finish. Ski racing fans are a hearty bunch, bundling up against the cold and standing for the duration of the event. High school skiers are approaching the peak of their season, but they will keep on skiing with the rest of us through Easter.

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 DaveiSkiGolf@aol.com.

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