Spread the word: spring skiing now the best of the year

Every year, it seems, ski writers must write the obligatory spring skiing column. It's the one that goes, "What are you doing down there in the city eyeing your dormant garden or thinking about your boat? You could be up here in the high country, enjoying some of the best snow of the season, long daylight hours, few lift lines, lazy, beautiful, laid-back skiing."

And every year, people mutter, "Yeah, yeah. There can't be any decent snow up there. It's green in my backyard. Besides, I always look ahead."

Okay, we'll just have to get along with short lift lines. But one small change should be made to this year's call to springtime schussing. it is not "some of the best skiing" this year; it is them best skiing of the season -- both in the West and in Vermont, among other parts of the Northeast and Eastern seaboard.

Winter returned without bitter cold of January in the East and with the snows that did not come earlier in the West. Last week, on top of Smugglers' Notch in northern Vermont, the word was "best skiing in two years." And Mt. Snow in the southern part of the state, with 18 inches of new snow in the preceding week, enjoyed its best conditions of the season this past weekend. Meanwhile in the Rockies, recent World Cup races almost had problems because of too much snow.

Next November, of course, people will be chomping at the bit to run their skis over rocks and hoarfrost. So it goes. But in case you have second thoughts, a final note. The maple sap run in Vermont this spring is one of the best in years. Light gold, Grade A fancy maple syrup (now going at $17 to $20 a gallon) on a snowball -- they call it "sugar on snow" -- or on your morning pancakes! Can you really afford to kee p staring at that garden?

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