While any number of ski areas have bands for après-ski during the season, now that it is officially spring, look for most areas to offer something in their pubs and lounges to close out each ski day.

Dave Irons, Ski Columnist

While my preference happens to be the quiet entertainment, such as a piano or folk singer with a guitar (maybe that’s a sign of age), there is plenty for those looking for a band. To learn where to find your preference, check the ski area websites. A number of areas list them in their calendars.

My idea of a good day of spring skiing is to ski until the snow gets heavy and retire to the lounge for a quiet beverage.

At Mount Abram, it’s the Loose Boots Pub. At Pleasant Mountain, it’s Blizzards. And at Sunday River, it’s the second floor of the Barker Lodge where you can usually find the old-timers. I’m talking about those of us who skied Sunday River in the early days when Barker was the only lodge. Of course, in the 1960s, they didn’t have a bar on that second floor. And, as a patrolman, I didn’t get off the mountain until after the lifts closed.

At Sugarloaf, any bands will be playing in the Widowmaker Lounge on the second floor of the Base Lodge. Naturally, a lot of regulars choose between Gepettos and The Bag for après-ski. Off the mountain, a crowd can always be found at The Rack on the access road or further down the valley at Tufulios. The lounge in the hotel is always popular with those staying there.



Those are some choices of where to finish the day. But when to start is equally important.

The key is to start early, right after the lifts open. That will assure you of freshly groomed runs over a firm base, easy skiing. But it will change as temperatures climb.

Maybe it’s being too lazy to work hard at skiing that gets me off the slopes before I have to push the snow around, but by mid-afternoon, you can usually find me in one of the lounges mentioned above.

See you on the slopes or in one of those lounges.

But there is one more thing to check those websites for. Next weekend being Easter, the websites will have the details on Sunrise Services.

In my ski patrol days, I was usually up the mountain when the lifts opened. If skiers are going to be on the mountain, then the ski patrol also has to be there. The time when lifts open to take skiers up for the services should be listed on the websites.

Often, it’s a single designated lift, and most areas will warn the only way off the mountain following the service is to ski down. Most ski lifts are licensed only for going up. There are a few exceptions such as the North Peak Chondola at Sunday River. Gondolas are often used to transport skiers off the mountain, and I expect worshippers will be able to ride one of the gondola cars back down to South Ridge.

While I know we have plenty of snow on the trails and skiing is expected to be quite good next weekend, don’t look for me before dawn.

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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