You may call this time of year mud season. Russians call it rasputitsa. I call it one of Vermont’s most under appreciated seasons. It’s a time of longer days, warmer weather and corn snow. Here, my 10 reasons to love spring:
1. The Snow’s Still Here
The valleys may be wallowing in mud, but this season’s record snowpack should keep the mountains in sweet corn snow well into May. As skier and statistician Kristian Omland of Jericho notes on p. 8, “Only ten times since records were first kept in the fall of 1954 snow has climbed to nine feet or higher, five times to more than 10 feet.”
2. Spring Skiing
Pond skimming, tailgating, outdoor bands and… you get the picture. This year also sees a host of new events such as the Tour de Trapps which takes skiers on tours (with food stops) that range from 5K to 50K around the Stowe trail. And there are also seriously silly ones, such as Magic Mountain’s downhill shovel race.
3. Winter Hiking and Camping
Long days, big snowpack, opportunities for snow caves… need we say more? And the Green Mountain Club kicked it all off with Winter Trails Day on March 2.
4. Whitewater Madness
Big snows equal big waters and by April 13 when the New Haven Ledges Race sends kayakers screaming down the rapids above Bristol, there should be plenty of whitewater to practice in.
5. Fat Biking Fests
You may have missed Suicide Six’s new Abe-BERM-ham fatbike race on berms or Winterbike, the fatbike fiesta that rolled into Kingdom Trails on March 2. But the season is just getting started. Rent a fat bike at Rikert Nordic Center in Ripton, at Killington Resort, or at one of the many local shops. Early morning hardpack makes for smooth riding.
6. Great Gravel Rides
Mud season means some of the best gravel rides and races of the year. This April try the NEK’s Rasputitsa, Montpelier’s Muddy Onion or Dover’s Green River Rip.
7. Twisted Triathlons
This is when the fun triathlons start. Think RASTA’s Disastour (a paddle, pedal and run through Rochester). Killington’s new triathlon format features a lap of skiing, a lap of mountain biking and a lap of running.
8. Hungry Trout
Trout season in Vermont opens April 14 and some of the best anglers on the East Coast flock to Middlebury that weekend for the Otter Creek Classic
9. Running in Daylight
The clocks change on March 10, leaving time after work to get that run in. With marathon season coming up fast, it’s time to put in the miles.
10. Sugar on Snow
It’s sugaring season. Indulge a little You earned it.
Featured Photo Caption: The Russians have a name for mud season. Maybe we should too. Photo by Meg McMahon