LUDLOW, Vermont — The sight of steam billowing from local sugarhouses marks the start of spring skiing season. And what a sweet season it is. The mixture of warm days and cool nights helps fill sap buckets hanging from maple trees and creates the snow surface conditions that skiers and riders savor through the final days of winter. Okemo Mountain Resort is planning to offer skiing and snowboarding through mid-April, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy the spring snow, sunny skies and numerous on-snow events like Okemo’s annual Slush Cup pond-skimming competition.
With a little planning, skiers and riders can combine some sweet spring snow sliding with a visit to a local sugarhouse for a chance to see how sap from sugar maples gets boiled down to make pure Vermont maple syrup. The eighth annual Vermont Maple Open House Weekend will be held at sugarhouses throughout the state on March 27-29. Activities during Maple Open House Weekend will include maple sugarhouse tours where visitors can watch maple syrup being made and sample maple products. The Green Mountain Sugar House, located on Rt. 100 N, just a couple of miles from the slopes, welcomes visitors anytime throughout the maple sugar season.
“Maple sugaring is a rich part of Vermont’s identity and heritage, and it’s something Vermonters are incredibly proud of,” said Governor Jim Douglas. “The Maple Open House Weekend is a quintessential Vermont event that gives us an opportunity to deepen our appreciation of this timeless tradition.”
Vermont is the nation’s leading producer of maple syrup with annual production of approximately 500,000 gallons. Vermont’s high concentration of sugar maple trees is also one of the reasons it consistently offers the nation’s most vibrant fall foliage.
Information about all of the participating Maple Open House Weekend maple syrup producers, including which of the three days they will be open and directions to their sugarhouses, can be found at www.vermontmaple.org or in the “2009 Vermont Ski & Maple Syrup Guide,” available at all Vermont Welcome Centers.
More information about Okemo Mountain Resort’s celebrations of spring is available by calling (802) 228-1600, or by visiting www.okemo.com.