Every year, one special day in March sees the largest spectacle of Irish pride take place across the country, and on March 17, you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t claim at least a bit of Irish blood running through their veins.
St. Patrick’s Day was originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century. However, the day has evolved into a celebration for all things Irish with images of shamrocks, leprechauns and the “wearing of the green” to celebrate the Emerald Isle.
While Ireland is not known for its ski slopes (there’s only one, actually, and it’s a dry slope), there’s no reason that you can’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in snowy style.
The shamrock, which is a sprig of young clover, is the symbol of Ireland. The four-leafed variety is considered a sign of luck.
At Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont, look for one of 17 shamrocks that are hidden around the mountain. The lucky skiers and riders who find one can return it to the King of the Fairies at Okemo’s Resort Services Desk for a prize package of goodies.
A type of fairy found in Irish folklore, the image of the leprechaun has evolved over the years, becoming a popular character for tourists visiting Ireland. Fond of making shoes and playing practical jokes, it’s said that leprechauns hide their gold in pots at the end of the rainbow and are capable of granting three wishes if caught.
At Windham Mountain Resort in New York, the annual “Irish I Was Skiing/Riding” Festival takes place on March 15 and 16. Catch the skiing Leprechaun as part of the “scavenger hunt” and find gold in the form of chocolate coins. These are for munching, not spending.
Pot O’ Gold
The fabled fortune found at the end of the rainbow, a leprechaun’s pot of gold is his most prized possession. It’s not surprising that he’ll do most anything to keep it safe, considering both the current price of gold these days and the downturn in demand for handcrafted shoes (which is how he earns those gold coins). If you find a leprechaun, be sure to keep your eyes on him at all time or he’ll disappear, taking the directions to his treasure with him.
Snowbasin Resort in Utah is hiding not one but THREE pots of gold on the mountain and in the lodges. Amount of gold (in the form of prizes) varies, but one 2014/2015 Adult Premier Pass will be given away to a lucky finder. Wolf Mountain Resort in Utah is also hosting a “Pot of Gold Scavenger Hunt” and Mount Snow in Vermont will be giving away a 2014/2015 season pass as part of their Pot O’ Gold search as well.
Finding a pot of gold at Copper Mountain in Colorado on Saturday, March 15 is as easy as throwing your best tricks in the pipe. Analog and Woodward at Copper are pairing up for Go Huck Yourself, a jam style contest on Woodward’s 22 ft. quarter-pipe located in Central Park Terrain Park. Free registration is located at the Woodward at Copper Cage from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. and contest starts at 12 p.m. Skiers and riders compete to win free gear from Analog and Woodward, which is more easily transported than a literal pot of gold.
Though you’ll never find green beer anywhere in Ireland, it’s become a symbol of St. Patrick’s Day here in the U.S. and is an option at almost any bar that’s celebrating. For a true taste of Ireland, pull a pint of Guinness, Smithwick’s or Harp and raise a toast of sláinte, or “health.”
39 Degrees at the Sky Hotel in Aspen is one of the premier après ski destinations after a day on the mountain. Head over after conquering Aspen Highlands for St. Paddy’s Day party with a DJ, specials on Guinness, Irish Car
Bombs and, of course, green beer.
Music, Dancing and Good Craic
Leprechauns, pots of gold and shamrocks aside, there’s a common element to most Irish celebrations that have people searching their ancestry for even a hint of connection to Eire. Good fun—which may involve music, dancing and getting together with friends—is known as craic (pronounced “crack”) in Ireland.
Many ski resorts are hosting concerts for the weekend and holiday, but Mount Snow in Vermont might take the prize for most music during the Bud Light Sham Rock Weekend, taking place March 15 -17. Thousands of fervent (and verdant) fans descend to party on Cuzzin’s Deck, ski in costume and rock out to live Irish music all weekend long, including performances by The Gobshites, Enter the Haggis and Joshua Tree, a U2 cover band. $17 lift tickets are up for grabs for skiing and riding on Monday, March 17; purchase online by March 15.
Of course, if these special events aren’t enough for your Irish eyes to be smilin’ on St. Patrick’s Day, there’s always the tried and true solution to show your Irish pride: Stick to the green runs.