As the best season for natural snowfall (more than 19 feet) in almost two decades draws to a close, local and regional resorts are celebrating with a variety of on- and off-mountain activities.
Hidden Valley hosts a Great Easter Egg Hunt today and two "thank-you" events Sunday -- discounted lift tickets and a Passholder Appreciation Party.
Seven Springs will have its Eighth Annual Pond Skim and Meltdown Party beginning at 11 a.m. today near the deck of the Foggy Goggle lounge.
Both resorts will close for the season late Sunday afternoon.
Snowshoe, blessed with "epic snow conditions" that repeatedly have blanketed its 60 slopes and trails in east-central West Virginia, has extended its season for another week.
Hidden Valley's early Easter festivities begin at 10 a.m. today in the SouthRidge room in the ski lodge. A certain long-eared guest will help distribute egg-hunting bags and then oversee an egg roll contest and an egg spoon race.
He'll also invite children and parents to the Clock Tower Bridge Area for egg-decorating, face-painting, jelly bean-guessing and other activities.
Skiers and snowboarders who bring at least two cans of food to the resort Sunday can exchange them for a free lift ticket at the lift ticket window. Guests sans cans will receive a lift ticket in exchange for a $10 donation. The donations will be distributed to local food banks.
Hidden Valley's Passholder Appreciation Party will be from 1-3 p.m. Sunday in the SouthRidge Room. Spokesman Robert Duppstadt said passholders will celebrate a "fantastic season with music, hors d'oeuvres compliments of the Falling Leaf restaurant, beverages -- including beer and wine -- and giveaways."
The Seven Springs pond-skim competition, which begins at 11 a.m. today, draws hundreds of cheering, jeering, camera-clicking spectators who wonder why anyone in their right mind would want to risk a dunking in frigid water.
A video on the resort's home page demonstrates the in-your-face perils and arms-raised success of pond-skimming. It shows a snowboarder, skiers and a hand-holding couple trying to remain upright while skimming over two man-made ponds separated by a strip of snow.
Although the strip robbed most challengers of the momentum they needed to skim across the second pond, Glassport native Josh Matta, the skier in a red jacket, zipped across both ponds with momentum to spare.
Matta, an excellent skier who holds the highest level of certification in the Professional Ski Instructors of America, said he used a fat pair of 192 cm Atomic skis to skim the ponds. He is a full-time ski instructor at Stowe, Vt.
Skimmers must be 14 or older. The $25 registration fee entitles each participant to a T-shirt and one judged run. The course will be open for additional runs after the competition is over. Prizes will be awarded for Best Skim, Best Costume and Best Splash.
Snowshoe is offering free lift tickets to guests who stay two or more nights next week, $15 rentals and $20 lift tickets to those who show a 2009-'10 season pass from another resort.
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