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 all adult and senior day use passes at $15, and all kids aged 17 and under ski free with a paid adult and there are special lodging prices.
Carters XC Ski Centers in Bethel and Orford, ME have been very busy this spring renting cabins and selling equipment. Carter’s will host the Burger, Beer & Bike Festival for their patrons to try fat bikes and enjoy the area on March 18.
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. Grab your skis or snowshoes (and your Hawaiian shirt) on March 18th and embark on the 5K ski trail, and enjoy a Hawaiian Barbecue afterwards! Feast on some of the best Hawaiian Barbeque this side of the Pacific, where they'll be barbequeing 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!” And they have great spring specials for stays starting at $99 per night.
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 the second weekend of April. Owner Matt Dayton said “We’re having really warm days but own snow holds up very well.”
The folks at Methow Trails in Winthrop, WA stated, “This season has been another fantastic snow year! And we will groom until April 2nd as we have no shortage of snow. People stop skiing after Presidents Day weekend 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 there’s some of the best ski conditions we’ve had all year! Photo: Top photo from NY Cross Country Ski Areas Assoc.; Groomed trail with blue skies at Byrncliff Resort & Conference Center