Tim Jones: Starting the silly season


I call it silly season. Every ski area in the East gets just a little crazy as the end of the season looms, perhaps to show the snow gods how much we are going to miss winter.

Anyway, almost every ski hill entices folks to a last day on the slopes with friendly races and big-air competitions, chili cook-offs, cardboard sled races, on-slope music festivals, bathing suit slaloms . . . you get the idea. As if sunshine and lots of soft snow weren't enough

Pick your favorite area. Check the website. Odds are that some Saturday or Sunday will have some celebration of Silly Season planned. And there's still snow on the slopes. What are you waiting for?

My sweetheart Marilyn asked if she could report on her "Best Friend Day" with her best friend Susan at Whiteface in Wilmington, N.Y. Here's her take on this great mountain:

"Susan and I had the day to ourselves in Lake Placid, N.Y.. Our husbands, Tim and David, were off skinning up Mount Marcy and skiing down a steep, narrow trail with hairpin curves through the woods. Yeesh!

Susan and I had our own plans, starting with skiing Whiteface at our own pace, on our own terms. Were we intimidated by the fact that Whiteface has some very steep trails and more vertical drop than any other area in the East? Certainly not! Well, maybe just a little.

"We started with an outstanding breakfast at Generations, the restaurant in The Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort) where we were staying in downtown Lake Placid.

"Our goal was first tracks on pristine corduroy and the mountain to ourselves. This was the first morning of Daylight Saving Time, and most people were apparently still making up for that lost hour of sleep while we were getting up close and personal with this monster of a mountain.

"We made first chair, took a warm-up run on Upper Valley, a blue square cruiser -- perfectly groomed smooth corduroy! With our legs warmed up, I said to Susan, "If we're going to do something really difficult, let's do it now, while the conditions are outstanding, we're not tired and we'll have the trail to ourselves."

So we headed for the summit (4,386 feet) and made a run down Cloudspin, a steep, intimidating and unrelenting black diamond! What a thrill! If you've ever wanted to fly without a plane, here's your chance!

Next we headed down Paron's Run, which is technically a blue square, but felt like another diamond. This is some mountain!

"More runs, some easy, some more challenging. We could have kept this up all day, but had important plans.

First, lunch at Chair Six in Lake Placid, where we ordered customized salads from a list of 32 fresh ingredients. Next stop: The Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa). Susan was scheduled for the Signature Massage and I had The Custom Facial. Major relaxation after a morning of superb skiing!

Ladies, if you always ski with your husband or family, try a day for yourself. Sooooo worth it!"


Ski Butternut in Great Barrington (413-528-2000) has $25 lift tickets every day from now to the end of the season.

At Jiminy Peak in Hancock (1-800-882-8859), if you have an Axess Jiminy card, tickets are $35 on Wednesdays until the season ends.

Tim Jones can be reached at timjones@easternslopes.com


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