March has arrived like a snow sports enthusiast in the Laurel Highlands.
“The conditions that we have now are the best that we have had this entire season,” Dick Barron said Friday. “We have a deep snow pack with a ’corduroy’ groomed surface.
“These are peak winter conditions for February, not March,” added Barron, the ski patrol director at Seven Springs. “The entire mountain is open.”
Spring carnivals are underway at local and regional resorts, including Hidden Valley, and resorts are offering money-saving discounts and gift cards on 2014-15 season passes that enable first-time purchasers to ski or snowboard the remainder of this season.
Seven Springs will play host to special events today, Sunday and the next two weekends and told its midweek season passholders that they can ski or snowboard on weekends. Smart move.
This is “80s Spring Break” weekend, and the resort asked guests to dig into their closets for day-glo ski suits, Members Only jackets, leg warmers and other attire from the 1980s.
A free Retro Rail Jam will begin at 7 p.m today in the Industrial Parkway above the Foggy Goggle. “Crazy, fun, retro gear is strongly encouraged.” Register from 4 to 6 p.m. at Willi’s Ski & Snowboard Shop. Willi’s will award “some cool prizes.”
The family-oriented Spring Carnival begins today at Hidden Valley and continues Sunday and next weekend with balloon animals, face-painting, a ring toss and a variety of munchables — candy apples, cotton candy and kettle corn.
The resort also is holding an “End of Season — Everything Must Go — Clearance Sale” at its ski and snowboard shop this weekend.
The second SkeWookie Cup, a memorial race to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society in honor of the late William J. “The SkeWookie” Taafe, will be from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday on Blue Knob’s NASTAR course.
The $5 entry fee for skiers and snowboarders of all ages and abilities covers three runs around the gates on the recreational-race course. The MS Society will receive all the proceeds. Prizes and NASTAR pins will be awarded at 5 p.m. in the lodge.
Patrol candidates sought
The Blue Knob Ski and Snowboard Patrol, which is seeking applicants for its 2014-2015 patroller candidate class, will play host to a tour of the resort from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.
Candidates will ski and snowboard with members of the patrol’s training staff, have their snow-sliding skills assessed and participate in an equipment demonstration. Those who register in advance will receive a lift ticket for the day.
Riding the rails
Boyce Park and Peak Ski & Board Monroeville will sponsor a Jamboree Rail Jam from noon to 4 p.m. March 16 for skiers and snowboarders. There will be two divisions, one for those 14 and younger, the other for those 15 and up..
All proceeds from the $5 registration fee will be donated to the Boyce Park Ski Patrol. Payment can be made March 16 or at the ski and snowboard shop at 640 Center Road, one-quarter mile from the park entrance.
There will be prizes from Lib Tech, Gnu Snowboards, Flow Snowboards, Pro Tec Helmets, Dye Goggles, Neff Outerwear and Skull Candy.
An apres jam barbecue, free and open to the public, will be from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Boyce Park Patrol 1 Shelter.
Boyce Park/Mystic Mountain
Although many major local and regional resorts plan to offer skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing through March 30, snow conditions permitting, Boyce Park and Mystic Mountain at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort will close their slopes and trails March 16.
Larry Walsh writes about recreational snow sports for the Post-Gazette.