Arts, Dining & Entertainment

Okemo announces spring events lineup

By Karen D. Lorentz

 

Courtesy Okemo Ski Resort

 

March and April can be the “kindest months” for skiers and riders. Most years the longer and sunnier days soften the snow, and the fun kicks up into celebration mode with special events.

March 9-10

This weekend, Magician Tom Joyce will entertain for après time at the Bull Patio (Clocktower Base Area) on Saturday, March 9. Jester Jigs will play for the 2-5 p.m. festivities that also feature games for kids and an outside beer tent for adults.

Adding to the fun, the Teton Gravity Research Stokemobile will be at Okemo’s Jackson Gore Courtyard Saturday and Sunday, March 9-10, with apparel, ski films, and more to check out.

This year Okemo introduces a festive family friendly Let It Glow Party and Kids Torchlight Parade on Saturday, March 9 from 5-8 p.m. at the Jackson Gore Courtyard. The area will be adorned with lights, glow gear, ice sculptures and an ice bar (drink tickets can be purchased online in advance or onsite at the beverage tent.) Music will enhance the festive atmosphere while the Okemo BBQ station and local food trucks Sustainable Eats and Hangry Hog will be available for the hungry.

Courtesy Okemo Ski Resort

A time-lapse photo of the red light glow stream seen on a ski trail at a recent Okemo Torchlight Parade captures skiers descending the mountain with illuminated torches.

 

For more fun for kids of all ages, the Snowground Playground offers sliding, the nearby Ice House is available for skating, and the Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster gives a thrilling ride. Kids can also watch or participate in a torchlight parade guided by Okemo ski and ride instructors who will lap the Stargazer Magic Carpet with them. All can pick out free glow gear from a Grab n’ Glow stand located at the sign-up tent in the Courtyard.

March 16 and beyond

Après fun continues at the Bull Patio on March 16 with games, food, and DJ dave.

Also, on the 16th, the Adam McMahon trio will entertain for après at the Jackson Gore Courtyard.

Courtesy Okemo Ski Resort

 

On March 17, Epic Passholders will get to experience first tracks at Jackson Gore at 7 a.m. when the Coleman Brook Express and Quantum 6 start spinning just for them. The First Tracks event will also offer free coffee, hot cocoa, Okemo’s signature churro donuts, granola bars and giveaways. All participating passholders will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win prizes. 

March 17 also brings the Ski VT Specialty Food Tour to Jackson Gore from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s a delicious opportunity to sample various Vermont made specialties—and to take some home too—from vendors like Cabot Cheese, Mad River Distillers, Woodchuck Cider, and Daychaser Seltzers.

On March 23, après fun continues with Cooei’s Trio and games at Jackson Gore and on March 30 Jim Yeager will entertain at the courtyard for  après fun.

If you’ve never taken a moonlit evening snowshoe tour, don’t miss the free guided snowshoe hike with local guide Joe Karl on March 25 from 6-8 p.m. Meet at the Ice House parking lot at Jackson Gore and bring your snowshoes (and ski poles if you have them as I find they can come in handy). If you don’t own snowshoes, you can rent them in downtown Ludlow. Vermont residents can check with their local libraries, which often loan out children’s and adult snowshoes for free.

A great spring tradition caps the events roster with the Snowmelt Slush Cup and Spring Fling at Jackson Gore on Saturday April 6 from 12-2 p.m. with an après afternoon to follow.

 

The Slush Cup is a great spectator event as skiers and riders try to skim over a pond, many wearing creative costumes. Okemo workers create a huge mound of snow, then carve out a pond which they line with double layers of plastic to keep the water in for a tradition that harks back to the 1950s.

The spirited skim is all about hilarity with a great part of the fun coming from the wacky costumes and the wild splashes from those who don’t make it across.

Judges award prizes to top male and female competitors.

History of the Okemo Pond Skim

Pond Skimming was one of the favorite rites of spring at Okemo from the 1950s to the early 1970s and drew hardy souls for a cold water dash. Utilizing the natural springs on the lower mountain by the original Okemo base lodge plus run-off from melting snow, the pond was created in late spring by digging a trench. Skiers started their runs on Bull Run with the object to skim across, or failing that, skim the longest distance. Most contestants wore zany costumes, and each year someone could be counted on to perform some spectacular feat.

However, due to the water problem that the springs caused for the loading areas at the Pomalifts, new drainage was installed one summer and the popular event became history. But with a new method of pond creation, the event made a splashy comeback as the Okemo Slush Cup in 1997 and continued to be held in front of the Okemo Base Lodge until moving to Jackson Gore.

Courtesy Okemo Ski Resort

An exhilarating moment of triumph as a skier successfully crosses the pond at a recent Okemo Slush Cup. Just one of the many events awaiting skiiers and riders during Okemo Ski Resort’s spring skiing and riding season.

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