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Thursday, March 3, 2011

March roars in with quirky ski events

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ski WiP is your weekly place to find out what’s happening at ski areas across the state. It’s where you’ll find previews of special events, deals and races at New Hampshire mountains for the upcoming weekend throughout the winter.

Two quirky races at Mount Sunapee and Dartmouth Skiway, along with the state’s Special Olympics Winter Games at Waterville Valley, highlight the first weekend of March at New Hampshire mountains and ski areas.

Most New Hampshire schools have this week off for their winter vacation, and here are a few things they can do or see with their free time:

Cranmore Mountain

Family fun is on tap for Cranapalooza on Saturday, March 5, to end the second full week of winter vacation events at Cranmore Mountain.

All afternoon, kids and families can meet C-More the Penguin, Cranmore’s mascot, get their faces painted, make s’mores or go to the Eating House Stage or Zips Pub for live music and family entertainment. The events start at 2 p.m. and last into the evening.

Dartmouth Skiway

Several events highlight the 12th annual CHadD Winter Carnival this Sunday, March 6, including a snow box derby with cardboard sleds racing down the mountain, a frozen T-shirt contest and a scavenger hunt.

The event supports the many programs at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Children’s Hospital, and offers different contests.

The snow box derby is entering its third year. Teams create their own cardboard sled to race down the hill. Prizes are given to the fastest, the best design and the best on-hill destruction.

There’s also a Winter Sports Expo, barbecue lunch, silent auction and the Snow-a-thalon, which is a timed ski event.

“You get to spend the day outside and be surrounded by both children and adults smiling and enjoying themselves,” said Rick Higgerson, the chairman of the winter carnival. “It feels even better when you know you are out here for a great cause.”

Last year, the event attracted more than 200 people and raised more than $62,000. In 11 years, the carnival has raised more than $625,000.

To register, visit or call Connie Blatchford at 653-3425.

Loon Mountain

Female skiers and snowboarders who want to learn new tricks or gain newfound confidence on the slopes can do so at Loon’s annual Droppin’ In Camp, which runs Saturday-Sunday, March 5-6.

The camp is designed for intermediate skiers and snowboarders age 13 and older who want to improve their skills on the mountain.

The camp is sponsored by Oakley and three members of the company’s Global Pro team, including professional snowboarders Chanelle Sladics and Silvia Mittermuller and professional skier Grete Eliassen, will be coaching this year’s camp.

The camp starts with a yoga clinic and moves to the Oakley Goggle Bar, where all campers can build their own pair of custom goggles. Vitamin Water is another camp sponsor, and the company will offer free drinks throughout the weekend.

Campers will practice in a private park, set up by Loon’s park staff. Each day includes a video review session with feedback from the coaches.

The cost is $229, and includes a two-day lift ticket, 12 hours of coaching, two hours of video review, lunch, snacks and an Oakley women’s gift bag filled with gear. There is also a dance party on Saturday night in Loon’s Bunyan Room.

Registration is limited to 40 snowboarders and 10 skiers, and is available by calling 1-800-229-5666.

Mount Sunapee

Following up on the race at Pats Peak, Mount Sunapee is hosting the fourth and final installment of the Winter Wild Racing Series on Saturday, March 5, when runners and skiers race up and down the mountain on skis, snowshoes or plain old sneakers.

The races start at 6:30 a.m. at the Spruce Lodge, located at the base of Mount Sunapee. Registration is $20 for each category race, or racers can pay $60 and compete in all four categories.

The categories are open, track skis, telemark and heavy metal. The open category is for running shoes or snowshoes, track ski runners can use lightweight skating gear, telemark racers can use full metal-edged skis with a 3-pin or cable binding, and heavy metal competitors can wear alpine skis and plastic boots.

Whatever runners carry or wear on the trip up the mountain, they must bring down to the finish.

The 4-mile race starts up the Elliot Slope toward the Williamson Trail before following the Stovepipe trail to the summit. The route to the bottom is down the Upper and Lower Ridge trails to the finish in front of the lodge.

There are male and female divisions, each divided by ages 12-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70 and older. Awards will follow the races at 9:30 a.m. in the lodge. They’ll be handed out to the top three male and female racers in each division.

The Winter Wild series already had races at Whaleback Mountain, Ragged Mountain and Pats Peak earlier this year.

Waterville Valley

The state’s annual Special Olympics Winter Games will run from Sunday-Tuesday, March 6-8, and showcase the talented special athletes in New Hampshire.

Opening ceremonies begin Sunday afternoon with the arrival of the athletes, and fireworks follow that night. Competition will begin at 9 a.m. Monday.

Events include alpine skiing, unified sports floor hockey, figure skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding.

For more information or to volunteer, visit

Wildcat Mountain

Starting Saturday, March 5, the North American Telemark Organization will hold a two-day workshop at Wildcat.

Day one will be spent on Wildcat Mountain, and the skiers will travel to Tuckerman’s Ravine for the second day. The clinic can help telemark skiers of all ability levels.

Space is limited, and registration is required. To sign up, call 1-802-496-4387.

Cameron Kittle can be reached at 594-6523 or The Telegraph and have launched a website that’s a one-stop place for the latest NH ski news, events and ticket giveaways. The site features live Twitter feed from the slopes nd a map plotting each resort. Visit to see updates throughout the week.