By Kellen M. Quigley
Whether it’s in like a lion with plenty of snow — as is expected this year — or a calm, relatively warm start to spring, March in Ellicottville has something for everyone.
Fast-paced, family-friendly, laughter-inducing or just plain fun, enjoy it all as ski season winds down and we welcome the blooming of flowers and return of green grass.
Scouts can enjoy a day on the slopes with their scouting group during Holiday Valley’s Scout Days March 2 and 3. Special pricing offers lift and lesson passes at $35; lift, lesson and rental at $45; and helmet rental $8. Contact Group Sales for information and reservations at (716) 699-2345, ext 4406.
On March 3, check out a new snowboarding event in its second year from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Boardroom Banked Slalom snowboarding event returns to Holiday Valley with a banked slalom course on Independence, as well as a vendor village and cookout on the Champagne Sundeck at Yodeler Lodge. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Lounsbury Adaptive Ski Program.
March 8 through 10, don’t miss the climax of the winter in Ellicottville during Mardi Gras and Winter Carnival Weekend. The weekend is full of parades, cookouts and loads of family-friendly fun. info.
March 11, the final Rip ‘N Slip session at Holiday Valley invites fellow skiers and riders to improve their skills and enjoy a beverage together at the end of the night. Take some higher end skiing and riding with instructional tips from Holiday Valley coaches.
March 16 is not only the ramp up to St. Patrick’s Day weekend but also a chance for skiers and riders to experience the giant Intense Milk bottle at the base of Yodeler at the Intense Milk Rail Jam from noon to 2 p.m. It’s free to enter but you must have a lift ticket and a helmet. Kids under 18 must have a parent signature to participate.
The following day, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by squeezing into your speed suit and get ready for this fun Foxfire Super-G — everyone’s invited! Cost is $5 per racer; register at the Training Center. Training runs from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Rangers race at 11, everyone else at 12:30 p.m. Helmets required, speed suit (or costume) optional.
Always another great time on the slopes, the annual Pond Skimming returns to Holiday Valley on Saturday, March 23. Sign up to skim across an ice water filled pond or come cheer on your favorite competitors.
If you love tubing, get to Holiday Valley Tubing Company! The tubing park offers up to 22 lanes of fast-paced downhill fun, two tows to pull you back up, and a ‘Lil Tubers area for the tykes. The tubing park is open Thursdays through Sundays for a few more weeks. Visit www.holidayvalley.com/winter/tubing/ for rates and more info.
The next few weeks are also the last of the season to hop on the Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster during its winter season. The coaster, located by Holiday Valley’s Tannenbaum Lodge, lets guests ride up in their own car, then control their own speed on the twisting, turning way back down. For more info, visit www.holidayvalley.com/winter.
It’s not too early to start thinking about next year’s fun on the slopes. Purchase your 2018-19 Classic Season Passes or Ultimate Passes through April 30 for the best rates! Plus you are eligible for a fee-free installment plan which makes purchasing a pass very affordable.
If you are a new Classic Passholder, once you have paid in full you can start skiing this year on March 1. Rangers, Eagles, Race team, Freestyle Team, Snowboard Team and Masters Programs also available now.
March in Western New York also means all things maple. Be sure to check out the state-wide Maple Weekends, March 23–24 and 30–31. Maple producers across New York state will be hosting open houses for the public to see how maple syrup and other related products are made. This family-oriented event features sugar house tours, samples, activities and much more. For more info and to find participating maple farms, visit www.nysmaple.com.
For the adventurous folks, whitewater rafting season begins this month on March 15. The best white water action can normally be had from right now through April when water levels are high from spring runoff. Visit www.ZoarValleyRafting.com or www.Adventure-Calls.com for more info.
March in Ellicottville means fun on the snow, parties in the streets and on the slopes, the inevitable return of springtime and fun for all. Get out and enjoy!