Tim Jones: Serious snow at Saddleback


Presidents Week is over! It's been snowing somewhere in the Northeast every day for at least a week, there are two long-duration snowstorms in the forecast, the days are longer, the sun (when you can see it) is higher in the sky, warmer and stronger, the days are longer and brighter and it's time to get serious about skiing.

My sweetheart, Marilyn, saves up her vacation time all year so we can get in some (never enough) skiing in late February, March and very early April.

Some years you can ski anywhere in New England into April, but you can't always count on that. So we've learned to be a little flexible and take each year as it comes. It's a balancing act between the desire to get the lodgings we want, at a price we can afford, with the desire to make sure we are planning the trip that will give us the best skiing.

Since we live in New Hampshire, we can easily day-trip to all of the areas in southern and central, New Hampshire. There are lots of other areas in southern and central Vermont that are perfect for overnights. So, we typically go farther afield for our big getaways.

This time, we are in Maine, and we just enjoyed the best ski day of the 2012-13 season (so far) at Sad
dleback (207-864-5671; www.saddlebackmaine.com) in Rangeley, Maine. We'd been scheduled to come up on Sunday, but the weather forced us (it wasn't that difficult) to come up a day early so we'd be here ahead of the storm.

It had already been snowing up here for the better part of the last week, and the two or three fresh inches that had fallen overnight was icing on the cake. Every trail we found was in prime condition and even the glades were filled with deep and soft.

Saddleback is already one of my favorite mountains in New England (it should be one everyone's "must ski" list) but it moved up a notch or two in the standings today. There was nobody here. All of the people here for Presidents Week had left early to avoid the storm that's pounding much of southern and central New England, and the people (like us) who were scheduled to come in today couldn't get here early. We had the place to ourselves, skiing down on empty trails and right back up. We were still finding untouched powder lines on trails at noon.

And the best news? It's still snowing! Supposed to snow all night, as a matter of fact. Tomorrow's going to be even better than today. There's snow on the slopes, and spring will be here far too soon. What are you waiting for?

Here's the deal

In one of the best season pass deals ever since the demise of the American Skiing Co., four mountains in New Hampshire have joined together to offer the White Mountain Superpass, which lets you ski Bretton Woods (603-278-3320; www.brettonwoods.com) in Bretton Woods, Cranmore Mountain Resort (603-356-5544; www.cranmore.com) in North Conway, Cannon Mountain (603-823-8800; www.cannonmt.com ) in Franconia, and Waterville Valley (1-800-468-2553; www.waterville. com) in Waterville Valley, any day of the 2013-2014 winter season with no blackout date restrictions.

The new White Mountain Superpass includes a special "Bring-A-Friend Bonus." The bonus enables the pass holder to get a friend $15 off the purchase of a one-day, full-priced adult lift ticket. The offer can be used once per day for the purchase of one ticket. Pass holders may also receive a 10-percent discount from select retail outlets at each ski area.

If you buy before June 1, the pass will be $949 for adults (ages 18-plus), $549 for teens (13 to 17), and $449 for juniors (ages 6 to 12). Get more details at www.White Mountain Superpass. com.

Tim Jones writes about outdoor sports and travel. He can be reached at timjones@easternslopes.com.


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