Fat Saturday: Mardi Gras on the slopes

Booze, beads, boobs, bawdy behavior-– what would Mardi Gras be without these indulgent ingredients? Is it possible to celebrate this most decadent of holidays in a healthy, family-friendly fashion?
Wintergreen sure thinks so. If you’ve ever dreamed of partying on skis, this might be the year to get your kicks with a winter twist.
And who says Fat Tuesday can’t be celebrated on a Saturday? A long way from the French Quarter, but just 35 minutes from Charlottesville, Wintergreen’s Mardi Gras celebration promises a full day of festivities on March 1.
The fun-in-the-snow begins at 11am with-– what else?-– a Rex parade. Don your warmest and wildest Mardi Gras garb and float down the Dobie slope on skis or snowboard, following in the tracks of the newly crowned King and Queen. 
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, take a load off at the Blue Ridge Terrace Grill, which will serve a variety of Cajun specialties for lunch. Try dancing in the snow to the sounds of Dixieland and Zydeco, or head straight for the tubing hill and sign your friends up for the team tubing competition at 1pm.
If you’re a regular Fred Astaire on skis, you might want to save your skills for the costumed synchronized skiing contest and demo later in the afternoon.
If you think it’s a challenge walking in ski boots, you should try waltzing. Not a pretty picture. Which is why I suggest you bring your comfy dancing shoes for the evening’s Masquerade Ball, which will throw down not on the slopes, but in the resort’s (indoor!) Commonwealth Ballroom.
Face painting, a Zydeco DJ and a cash bar will help get-– and keep– the good times rollin’ until the wee hour of midnight. If you didn’t get enough gumbo and jambalaya at lunch, a 6pm Cajun dinner will satisfy your appetite in spicy, N’awlins style. Who says it never snows on Bourbon Street?
Mardi Gras on skis, Wintergreen’s 8th annual Fat Tuesday party, costs $75 per person for lift ticket, activities, dinner, and masquerade ball. Dinner & ball only, $50. Ball only, $20. All proceeds benefit the Wintergreen Adaptive Skiing program. See  www.wintergreenresort.com for a complete schedule or call 325-8180.