Big Boulder May (!) 5, 2018
No time like the present.
Barely 24 hours had slipped by after I posted this thread asking SJers for advice about May skiing in the Northeast when I saw Big Boulder's announcement about its May Day festivities. I'd never gone to one of these two-weeks-after-the-season-ends rail-jam events because 1) I'm just not a parks-and-pipes kind of guy, 2) the amount of open terrain is usually limited to one terrain park, and 3) the coverage isn't usually TTB, meaning that 4) I'd have to earn my turns. Not that I'm against earning turns, but driving 8 hours round trip for a few runs on a short stretch of terrain park I have to re-climb each time doesn't sound particularly appealing.
But May Day on May 5 at Big Boulder PA isn't the only option on this weekend's calendar. If you don't live in the northern Shenandoah Valley, you might not know about the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival that takes place here in Winchester, Virginia. It's been an annual event since the 1920s, interrupted only by WWII. Our small city of 25,000 draws 250,000 each year for "The Bloom". The festival features two parades (Friday, Saturday), each lasting more than two hours. More fried twinkles, fire engine sirens, funnel cakes, carnival rides, dances, luncheons, and B-list celebrities (normally with at least a few A-listers) than you can shake a corn dog at. Most homes, businesses, schools, house pets, fire hydrants, and the like are decked out in official Apple Blossom colors of pink, white, and green. So sing along, to the tune of "Yellow Submarine," "We all live in the land of pink and green. Land of pink and green. Land of pink and green. We all..."
My wife Jenny and I live downtown, so there's no escaping The Bloom unless, like some of our friends, you choose this week to visit your sister in Baltimore. Even if you're an only child. We aren't Scrooges about Apple Blossom, though, and we usually have visitors for the weekend. But not so this year.
... And there was that post I made on SJ about May skiing. And that cold March-April stretch we had this year that left some good piles of snow on north-facing runs. I loaded up my skis at 6:00 a.m. surrounded by pink and green (see photos) and was riding the chairlift at Big Boulder four hours later. The coverage on Big Boulder Park (the only run open) was side-to-side and top-to-bottom, the snow was clean, the park features were huge, and a local graphics company was handing out free May Day 2018 stickers. I took my time, skied around the terrain features, snapped a bunch of photos, and quit before the snow became too gloppy and the sliders became too giddy.
Not a bad way to spend Apple Blossom Saturday this time around. Jenny: "So now you've skied in May!"
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