The other day, Chantal and I skied, and we spent the whole time bundled against the knifing wind and horizontal snowfall. Conditions were great, and we had a fine time, but when we got in the car to go home, we looked at each other and said, “I can't wait for March!”
1. The snow. It's better in March. And more prolific. Statistically, March is the snowiest month of the year here in Stowe. So while your crocuses are struggling to poke their heads out of the ground, we're still shoveling our driveways out and enjoying plenty of powder days. While I'm not going to make any predictions about this year, one year we received 10 feet of snow in March. March means snow in Stowe.
2. The sun & the temperature. It's just milder in March. Winter's back is broken the final week of February, and though we still get plenty of snow, the milder, moister air means more inches per snowfall. Sunnier days abound, too, as northern Vermont's weather pattern changes, inducing spring's advance. In March, we get rid of the neck gaiters and face warmers and frozen fingers and toes, and focus on why we fell in love with skiing in the first place.
3. Sugaring. March means sugaring, and if you've never experienced it, you got to come up and see it for yourself. Modern sugaring operations involved tubing and boiling, and the air is thick with the sweet smell of sweetwater turning into syrup every afternoon. There are several sugaring operations to visit in the area, where you can watch the magic and pick up a jug of Vermont's finest to take home.
4. The empty slopes. I've never waited more than a couple of minutes in line during the month of March, and this includes Saturdays. This equals more runs per day. And this year, Stowe has installed electronic ticket readers and a brand new, high-speed quad, which translates into more time on the slopes.
5. St. Patrick's Day. This year, the high holy day falls on a Saturday. So tell my, do you want to spend your St. Paddy's Day in a crowded bar filled with weepy-eyed, seventh-generation Irish Americans singing “Wild Colonial Boy” and puking on the sidewalk, OR do you want to spend St. Paddy's Day in a crowded bar filled with weepy-eyed, seventh-generation Irish Americans singing “Wild Colonial Boy” in Stowe with ski bunnies and ski bums? Plus there's McCarthy's traditional St. Patrick's Day breakfast AND O'Grady's Pub AND the frozen green waterfall under the gondola AND I'll buy you a pint of Guinness--just ask!
6. The woods. If you've never experienced off-piste skiing, March is the month to try it, and Stowe's side-country is the place to do it. From Angel Food to the Planets to the Bruce Trail to Snuffy's Trail, Stowe has as many secret stashes of unadvertised trails off-piste as they do on-piste. And if you'd like a guide, just ask, I'd be happy to show you around.
7. Snowshoeing & “Shed Hunting.” If you take advantage of the Stowe card and ski Friday and Sunday for $69/day, you can take Saturdays off in March and go snowshoeing. You can go anywhere in the woods around here, and you can't get lost. Why? Because all you have to do is turn around and follow your trail back out! Plus, March is the best month to go “shed hunting.” Every year, whitetail bucks drop their antlers at the end of the winter, and snowshoeing is the best way to hunt down those “sheds.”
8. Cross-country skiing. Okay, I freely admit that the closest I get to cross-country is my 2006 Volvo XC70, but in principle I love it. Plus, when I get old and start to wear out, I plan on becoming a cross-country skier--and why not? Trapp Family Lodge has one of the best ski areas in the east, and Stowe Mountain Resort's Nordic area is world class, too. And there's all that aforementioned sunshine, warmer temps, ski bums & bunnies, beer, etc. The great thing about cross-country skiing, in my opinion, is that you burn so many calories doing it, you can eat and drink more later. Isn't that the point of life, anyway?
9. You don't have to fly anywhere to experience spring skiing. In March, the weather is warmer, and that means that we're just a car ride away (5 hours from NYC, 3 ½ hours from Boston, 2 hours from Montreal). And by spring skiing, I don't mean gobs of gloppy, sticky snow. I mean tons of fresh snowfall and longer, milder days. I mean hanging out on the deck at the Octagon or by the fire pit near Spruce Base. I mean picnicking up at Sterling Pond and returning by Snuffy's Trail. That's spring skiing.
10. The hot tub. All winter long, in the depths of sub-zero weather, people are reluctant to jump into our outdoor hot tub, even though I tell them the water temperature is 104F. But in March, as the sap starts to flow, night temps hover in the mid-20s, so there are no excuses for NOT unwinding in the outdoor hot tub, under the stars, after a day of skiing. A glass of wine, soothing bubbles, you significant other…
I could go on, of course. There are scores of reasons to come and ski in Stowe in March. But you get the idea. See you on the slopes!