The 7 Rites Of Spring

With pond skimming, tailgating, jack jumping and sugar on snow, silly season revs up quickly. You can’t really call yourself a Vermont skier or rider unless you’ve done each of these at least once. Give yourself a point for each event you’ve done and see how you score.

Gone Extreme Pond Skimming
Hot dogging at Sugarbush

Yes, we all love to see people on skis and boards dress up… and get wet. In recent years, skiers and riders around the state have taken pond skimming, a time-honored right of spring, to new levels. At last year’s High Fives Pond Skim in Stowe, two skiers rode a single pair of ski jumping skis (mounted with two sets of boots) right across the pond and then kept going.

 Make It, Ride It at Mount Snow

Springtime means it’s time to roll your sleeves up and get crafty, and Mount Snow is here to help. On March 5, race through slalom gates on a jack jump—a single ski with a seat attached—for Mount Snow’s Jack Jumping World Championships. If you’d rather not perch yourself atop a rickety contraption that’s moving very fast, grab a spot on the sidelines and watch the successful (and not-so-successful) competition. Entry fee is $50 and includes the race, lift ticket and après awards party. Then, on March 26, slide, crash and spin down the tubing hill inside a structure you can make from only cardboard, zip ties, paint and duct tape: it’s Bud Light Duct Tape

A duct tape derby descent at Mount Snow

Derby time. Awards go to best slider, most creative, best kids-only sled and judges’ choice.

Go Gelande at Sugarbush

On April 1, Sugarbush closes Mount Ellen for the season with gelandesprung (Gel-AND-esh-prung). Dress in your best retro costume, rocket off the gelande, Sugarbush’s homemade ski jump, and see how far you can soar. The competition is open to all ages and abilities (the least experienced will be the most entertaining, so don’t hesitate to give it a whirl). The jumper with the greatest distance wins a pair of skis, and the winner of best retro style gets a pair of Dodge boots. The day ends with the Cowbell Champagne Party, where you’ll be challenged to shake up a champagne bottle ($15 to $40 a bottle specials) and see if you can hit the cowbell with the cork.

Sample Sugar on Snow and Race a Sugar Slalom

Vermont sugarmakers are fiercely proud of the liquid gold they tap from maples each spring. So much so that each year they open sugarhouses around the state and give the public a chance to sample “sugar on snow,” (hot syrup poured over fresh snow until it hardens like taffy.) This year, Maple Open House Weekend is March 25-26, and you can find participating sugar houses at vermontmaple.org. Or, race and then sample sugar on snow at Stowe’s Sugar Slalom on April 8. This fun race has been going on for 77 years and draws every level and age of skier from first-time racers to World Cup talent.

Celebrate Easter Sunrise at the Summit

Easter is on April 16 this year, and you can count on Jay Peak, Stowe, Sugarbush, Smugglers’ Notch, Killington, Stratton, Mad River Glen and Okemo to hold early-morning sunrise services on the summit. After, chocolate eggs just might magically appear.

Grillin’ and chillin’ at Jay Peak.

The Easter bunny also leaves eggs for hunting at Bromley, Bolton Valley, Mount Snow, Burke and Magic Mountain. (Check websites for details.) Mad River Glen keeps the celebration going all day with two egg hunts, a costume parade and après music on the deck.

Bash Bumps at Killington

Amateur bumpers from around New England head to Killington on April 8 for the classic Dos Equis Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge, which pits bumpers in a head-to-head contest in front of a crowd. Once the lactic acid has drained from your quads, come back on April 29 for the Killington Triathlon. Ski down Superstar, mountain bike and run. One thing you can be sure, none of it will be easy.

Ski, Ride or Slide Tuckerman Ravine

New Hampshire’s Tuckerman Ravine is a rite of passage. Hike up the headwall and prepare for one of the steepest descents in America down a 40- to 55-degree slope. The conditions are usually best in April when the snow turns to corn and the snowpack is solid. Another reason to do Tuckerman soon? The Mount Washington Cog Railway has proposed building a 35-room hotel just 1,000 ft. below the summit.

How Did You Score?

1 to 3: Flatlander, you need to spend more time here.

3 to 5: Yes, you probably have a goggle tan. Wear sunscreen.

6 +: Your next challenge? Do these all in one year. Then call us.

Lisa Lynn

After traveling around the world and skiing in more than 50 resorts, I settled in Vermont. I love it here and love working with my family editing VT SKI + RIDE and Vermont Sports.