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Sunday, March 20, 2005; Page P01

SKI REPORT

Snow Foolin'

Freaky weather has turned spring ski season on its head. One result: "East Coast skiers have some very good options in their own back yard this spring," says Susan Graham Staples, editor of the guidebook Ski Snowboard. Here's the scoop:

• Locally, some resorts that usually worry about crabgrass by now are celebrating March snows. Liberty Mountain in Pennsylvania, for example, is reporting the " best late-season snow conditions we've seen in years." In West Virginia, Snowshoe is using six feet of new snow this month as a reason to extend its season to April 10. For info on other resorts: www.dcski.com.

New England and parts of Upstate New York "have been clobbered with snow" in recent weeks, making for much better than usual spring ski conditions, says Staples.

Northern California, including Tahoe, still has a snow base of up to 177 inches. Conditions in Utah are also "awesome," Staples says, mentioning in particular Snowbird, which has the highest altitude of any Utah resort. Resorts in Colorado plan to stay open until the first or second week of April.

• Rain in parts of the Pacific Northwest has melted away the snow on many slopes in Washington and Oregon. Likewise, conditions in British Columbia, Alberta and Idaho are not as good as usual. Some resorts in Montana have already closed.

Clearly, this is a year for making no assumptions based on history. Details: www.SkiSnowboard.com.

Upright and locked

Take Your Seat

Unwilling or unable to pay big bucks for business class, but willing to pay something for a bit of extra space?

Then take a page from Fred Feer's playbook. Feer, of Alexandria, could not imagine being squished for hours in a triple-row coach seat with his wife and a stranger. But business-class seats from Dulles to Singapore go for about $5,000. His compromise: Instead of shelling out upward of $10,000, he and his wife bought three United Airlines coach seats, for a total of $2,700.


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