One of the beautiful things about this time of year is you get to pick your preferred season. If you like winter, you can still find plenty of it around. If spring is your fav, you can find that, too -- maybe. You can even enjoy hints of autumn if you time it right -- and you don’t have to suffer through summer to get there.
On Sunday, April 6, Marilyn and I, together with our friends Roxanne and Steve, found winter still in charge at Mount Snow (mountsnow.com) in southern Vermont -- at least in the early morning. We arrived in time for first chair; the temperature was 28 degrees and the wind was more than noticeable. We dressed as if it was February and headed out into the bright sunshine under blue, blue skies. The groomed trails offered the same kind of fast, firm corduroy you’d expect in mid-winter, and the skiing was simply excellent. Ungroomed trails were frozen solid and rutted enough to loosen the fillings on your teeth (wait for the afternoon to ski those ... ).
After exploring the front side for a number of runs (off the Bluebird Express -- the bubble-covers were welcome on this windy morning -- we discovered that two groomed trails on the north side, Chute and Fallen Timbers, were in particularly good shape and we hammered several quick runs on each.
Heading back, we noticed they’d opened the Sunbrook trails (Cloudnine and Thanks Walt). The sun had gone to work over there, and it was pure spring-skiing corn snow. Still firm, still fast, but butter-soft and wonderful. Only problem was, they hadn’t opened the Sunbrook lift. So, to access it again, you had to take the little Beartrap lift up from the Sunbrook base, ski Long John (also corn snow, but not much slope) all the way to the base, ride up the Bluebird to the summit. Round-about route but worth it.
In one day, we had some wonderful mid-winter corduroy skiing and the best day of spring corn-snow skiing we’ve had all year. Two-fer-one. What a deal! They are going to be skiing at least a couple more weeks, so you’ll have your own chance to enjoy a great day on the slopes. Life isn’t a spectator sport. Get out and enjoy!
Earth Day is officially April 22, but the Great Barrington Housatonic River Walk -- Berkshire County’s National Recreation Trail -- will hold its annual Earth Day workday on Saturday, April 19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Anyone who wants to enjoy a day outside volunteering should meet at the W.E.B. Du Bois River Garden Park by the former Searles Middle School parking lot on River Street, near Bridge Street. Morning coffee and lunch will be provided. Tours will be given in the afternoon.
River Walk -- a National Recreation Trail -- is a half-mile public walking trail. In the past, volunteers have removed 400 tons of rubble and debris from various sites. To date, more than 2,500 volunteers have worked to restore the riverbank to its native ecology.
According to the press release on this event, this year’s work season includes a variety of restoration projects for River Walk’s severely abused river location, including planting thousands of native plants propagated from seed collected locally, while ridding the riverbank of knotweed, bittersweet, garlic mustard, multiflora rose and other invasive exotic plants. Work plans also include trail repair and maintenance and riverbottom cleanups.
If you can’t make it to an Earth Day event, you can still participate in Earth Day and possibly contribute to science at the same time. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and The Nature Conservancy are collaborating on a project, the Earth Day Nature Selfies Photo Project. Wherever you happen to be on Earth Day, take a picture of a tree, shrub, or flower or other blooming plant. Identify where you are in the caption and upload the photo to the Earth Day Natureselfies group on Flickr, then share it via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #natureselfie.
Simple, fun. For more info go to epa.gov/region1/earthday).