Now, I'm learning something else: A private ski resort isn't always a private ski resort.
Eighteen months after our first visit to charming Ellicottville, the brood and I are back to check out nearby HoliMont, the largest private ski area in the United States (by membership). The good news for non-members like us is that HoliMont is open to the public on weekdays, which is how we've been able to ski there. The resort's 46 trails and eight lifts are providing some textbook spring skiing, with the welcoming atmosphere enhanced by stone fireplaces in the expansive main lodge and floor-to-ceiling windows facing the snowy slopes.
Spring skiing, especially with children who are learning to snowboard, provides a natural excuse to enjoy a beer or three. And as is the case with 12.6 percent of Ontario March Breaks, St. Patrick's Day just happens to be the very last day of this year's nine-day parental gauntlet.
Good thing the Ellicottville Brewing Co.'s wares are so well-represented at nearby Holiday Valley, the largest public ski area in New York State. The eponymous lodge's raucous T-Bar lounge pours a Ski Bum hoppy ale and a Blueberry Wheat Ale garnished with real berries. Next door, the fifth outpost of the Massachusetts-based John Harvard's Brewery is home to 20-plus taps, including a decadent Chocolate Cherry Bomb Imperial Stout produced by Ellicottville Brewing.
Craft beers multiply exponentially during the annual Holiday Valley Beer and Wine Festival, when more than 30 brewers crowd the resort's base area each November. For even more sudsy variety, EBC's stylish dining and entertainment complex serves up flights and brewery tours.
READ MORE OF MY CRAFT BEER-MEETS-SKIING STORY IN THE GLOBE AND MAIL