As the cross country (XC) ski season winds down most XC ski areas close because of lack of skiers rather than lack of snow on the trails. The sun comes out, the temperature rises, and the XC skiers quit. Why?
Are we infected with winter fatigue? Is the lure of spring time recreation too strong to ignore?
XCSkiResorts.com spoke with some ski area operators around the nation to get their take on spring skiing. Many areas host springtime season pass holder parties and offer big discounts for purchasers of season passes for next year. Lapland Lake in Northville, NY commented that their trails are compacted on a daily basis so the snow does not disappear like in the city or open areas in suburbia. Lapland's Kathy Zahray encourages skiers and snowshoers to get out and enjoy this weather and these great spring conditions!"
Zahray admits that “the reality is that in the spring it costs more for grooming and staffing than the amount of income earned from the diminishing number of skiing patrons, however this is one of the most fun times of the year to enjoy the outdoors. The milder temperatures and discounted rates are terrific for everyone and it is fun to ski in shorts and t-shirts." Lapland Lake is offering special lodging prices through the end of March starting at $150 per night for two guest and 15% discount for 3 nights or more.
Carters XC Ski Centers in Bethel and Orford, ME have been very busy this spring renting cabins and selling equipment. Carter’s hosted the Burger, Beer & Bike Festival for their patrons to try fat bikes and enjoy the area.
In Minnesota at Maplelag Resort, proprietor Jay Richards concurs "that people want to get on the snow early but get tired of winter and ready for warm spring days." He feels that "skiers in the Midwest are conditioned to colder and drier snow compared to skiers in other regions who are more accustomed to a wider variety of snow conditions."
At Cross Country Ski Headquarters in Roscommon, MI they run spring events on machine-made snow such as the Hawaiian Barbecue where they have locally raised pork hocks, along with island style veggies and of course fresh grilled pineapple. Proprietor Lynne Frye invites everyone to celebrate all that is great about spring: long, sunny days of great cross country skiing in Michigan!
Skier Brenda Winkler, who is a regular at Izaak Walton Inn said, “There is nothing like skiing on Piston Bully groomed trails at Izaak Walton Inn. I skied yesterday and then enjoyed the best Buffalo burger in the restaurant. Izaak Walton Inn has had great grooming all season and there is a lot of winter left at the Inn!”
The Breckenridge Nordic Center in CO has skiers who are enjoying the patio and lounging around with a glass of beer or wine. They’ve held some well-attended fundraising events this spring and expect to remain open through April 22, a week after the alpine ski resort shuts down. Owner Josh Dayton said “We’re having really warm days but our snow holds up very well.”
Kristen Smith at Methow Trails in Winthrop, WA stated, “This season has been another fantastic snow year! We have no shortage of snow but people stop skiing in late March which is really too bad because we often find the best skiing of the season comes in the spring. The trails are well packed, and the days are lighter and warmer making it much more comfortable to ski. We’re seeing that in the Methow right now and I just had one of my best days on snow all year!"