By Eva Potter
If you’ve never been to Ellicottville and are looking for some fun entertaining winter action, or maybe you’re a regular visitor and think you’ve seen and done it all, get ready to bundle up and head outside, because February is loaded with all sorts of fun events and activities.
If you love watching races and cheering on the latest talent, then check out ski and snowboard races happening at Holiday Valley and HoliMont throughout the month. Competitions include boardercross, skiercross, parallel slaloms and an awe-inspiring aerial event. For dates and details, visit www.holidayvalley.com and www.holimont.com.
They’re back … AMSOIL Championship Snocross racers will make at stop at the Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino Feb. 6-7 on their eight-stop national circuit. The high-octane action will leave you gasping as you watch the best battle it out on the oval, flying over jumps at high speeds as they compete shoulder-to-shoulder for the big win. For tickets and details, visit www.snocross.com.
On Feb. 7, head to HoliMont for the most feel-good race of the season, as more than 60 adult and youth competitors overcome a variety of disabilities and hit the slopes for the Phoenix Rise to the Challenge International Race. Whether on skis, a snowboard or a sit-ski, you can only be inspired by the athletes’ joy and determination, as you watch them make their way down the course. Head to the race hut at 9 a.m. and they’ll point you in the right direction. For more information or to register, call HoliMont Snowsports at (716) 699-8159 or Chuck Richardson at (716) 699-4594, or visit www.holimont.com/adaptive.
Lisa Densmore’s Your Turn Women’s Ski Clinic returns to Holiday Valley Feb. 12-13. Densmore, a widely acclaimed coach, instructor and ski racer, along with some of the Valley’s finest women instructors, lead a two-day clinic designed for intermediate through advanced women skiers. Visit www.holidayvalley.com or call (716) 699-2345, ext. 4422.
Always wanted to buy that sweet pair of skis but couldn’t quite commit without trying them first? Then head to Holiday Valley on Feb. 14 for Dekdebrun’s Demo Day. Dekdebrun’s Ski Shop will have its line of demo equipment set up at the base of Mardi Gras 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Pay a small fee to try them out and get it all back if you end up taking them home.
Next up: the event all ages look forward to every year – the Penguin Paddle! On Feb. 21, the fun begins at 8:30 a.m., so get ready for a day filled with delicious eats and interesting auction items, capped off by seriously funny penguin-style belly racing down the lower Yodeler slope using a garbage bag. Silent and live auctions take place at the base of Yodeler, too. This annual event is a critical fundraiser for Holiday Valley’s Lounsbury Adaptive Program, so come out and have a great time!
Red Bull All Snow is touring the East and hits the slopes of Holiday Valley on Feb. 21. We promise you no metal and no wood — only pure half pipes, side cuts and more made out of Mother Nature’s finest. This open jam competition offers divisions for snowboarders and freeskiers ready to show off their best plants, tweaks, airs and flow. The top three in each division take home awards. More at www.redbull.com.
On Feb. 28, Holiday Valley will host its newest event, Play It Forward (formerly Boarding for Breast Cancer), complete with outdoor and indoor family fun, on-mountain challenges, prizes, a vendor village, product sampling, auctions and a great après ski party. Proceeds from this skiing and snowboarding event stay in the Western New York area to support Camp Good Days, the Ellicottville Food Pantry, Almost Home Animal Sanctuary, Ellicottville-Great-Valley Ambulance and the Holiday Valley and HoliMont adaptive ski programs. More at www.holidayvalley.com/playitforward.
For more outdoor enjoyment, explore the miles of area trails in Ellicottville or Allegany State Park on your cross-country skis or snowshoes. Snowmobilers love the park’s well-kept trails that link to other Southern Tier.
Then, top off your exhilarating day outside with a good inside plot from the Ellicottville Memorial Library. Rent movies, books on tape, e-books and even the old-fashioned paper kind. Then light the fireplace, pour yourself a nice glass of wine and settle in for a cozy evening with a good story. For information, visit http://ellicottvillelibrary.wix.com/ellicottville-memorial-library.
Coming in March
HoliMont will be hosting a Wounded Warrior event on March 12-13. The War Fighters Sports event will be held in conjunction with The Adaptive Adventures Sport Coalition. The two-day training session for Wounded Warriors from across Northeast gives veterans an opportunity to learn to ski. Call HoliMont Snowsports at (716) 699-8159 for details.
Winter Carnival at Holiday Valley and Mardi Gras in the village are scheduled for March 14–15. This fun-packed weekend includes the infamous Dummy Downhill, a costume parade down Mardi Gras, a parade down Washington Street in the village and loads of beads everywhere. Grab your craziest costume and come for a weekend of fabulous fun.