Friday afternoon update: The Skimeister and I took a longish lunch and did some cross-country skiing at Catamount nordic center in Williston, Vt. The coverage was good. My poles punched through about five inches of snow on the side of the trails. So, the higher elevations should have even better snow conditions!
Bundle up and have fun this weekend. Many Vermont ski resorts are nearly 100 percent open now.
Now onto winter carnivals, which take on two forms in Vermont. The first is a collegiate winter carnival, which consists of a weekend of alpine and cross-country skiing races. Teams from around New England typically travel from carnival to carnival to compete. The University of Vermont and Dartmouth College have very strong skiing programs, so you can catch some amazing action at these events.
UVM's Winter Carnival is held in Stowe on February 6 - 8. With alpine events at Stowe Mountain Resort and nordic events at Trapp Family Lodge, you can get plenty of skiing in and still catch some top-level ski racing.
Families would argue that the other kind of winter carnival in Vermont is more fun. These are community-wide events that get families out in the snow, on the ice, and into the cold to blow off some steam during a long winter.
The Stowe Winter Carnival is perhaps the best known. It's going on this week through this weekend, so there's still time to join in the festivities. I've included details for this and a couple others in Vermont ski country.
Also take note that this Sunday is a Get Out and Backcountry Ski event on January 25 at Bolton Valley Resort. Equipment demos and clinics are part of the day. It's coordinated by the <link http: www.catamounttrail.org external-link-new-window>Catamount Trail Association, so check their site for details.
The Vikings of Ludlow Winter Carnival
(yes, a Viking theme for this one!)
January 30 - February 1, 2009
Ludlow, Vermont (the home of Okemo ski resort)
Snow-sculpture contest, parade down main street, bonfires and marshmallows, and fireworks.
More info on the <link http: www.okemovalleyvt.org event-planning external-link-new-window>Ludlow winter carnival
Island Pond Winter Carnival
February 6 - 8, 2009
Island Pond, Vermont (in the vicinity of Burke Mountain ski resort)
Snow sculptures, spaghetti dinner at the American Legion, and a dance.
More info on the <link http: www.islandpond.com winter_carnival_2009.htm external-link-new-window>Island Pond Winter Carnival
Stowe Winter Carnival
January 19-25, 2009
The first winter carnival held in 1921 featured ski jumping and tobogganing on a hill behind the public school. There's no ski jumping today, but plenty of other things to do during the weeklong winter carnival. It's known for ecclectic events such as snow golf, and for an amazing professional ice carving exhibition and competition. There are sports events, kid-friendly activities, and a village night party, too.
More info on the <link http: www.stowewintercarnival.com external-link-new-window>Stowe Winter Carnival