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Mardi Gras / Winter Carnival

Zany fun - on and off the slopes!


A weekend unlike any all year! Mardi Gras / Winter Carnival in Ellicottville takes the fun of spring skiing and couples it with engaging activities - on and off the slopes. Mark the weekend of March 9-11 on your calendar, and get yourself to Ellicottville to participate!

The fun starts Friday evening with Ellicottville’s Masquerade Party, a lively event produced by our local Chamber of Commerce that crowns the King and Queen of Mardi Gras, chosen by crowd applause. This year’s Masquerade will take place at Madigan’s, which will be transformed into an authentic Fat Tuesday celebration. Staff will dish up New Orleans style food, with music and a costume contest to boot!  Tickets are available at the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce office or online at

Head to Holiday Valley Saturday morning to kick off all the on-snow entertainment! Take the kids to get their faces painted at Customer Service before making your way to the Safety Patrol Cookout at the base of Yodeler. We know you’ll want to #thankasnowmaker, and you can do that at Yodeler’s Snowbar! The crew will start to pile up snow and shape it at the beginning of the month, and our beloved snowmakers will be ready and waiting to serve you a fresh cold one … nothing beats a Snowbar beer.  Head into Yodeler from 4-8pm for live music!

The 26th Annual Mardi Gras Parade marches down Ellicottville’s main drag at 6:30pm Saturday, with costumes, floats and plenty of festive flair. You can anticipate seeing Punxsutawney Phil, this year’s Grand Marshall, as well as the Zippo truck and many zany marching groups represented by our local shops. It’s going to be tough to beat some of the floats from last year, so get your creative juices flowing and start building - applications are available on the Chamber’s website,

Waking up early Sunday morning will yield benefits, as you can fill up on a Holiday Valley pancake breakfast at the top of Champagne (courtesy of the Ski Patrol). At 11:45am, you’re invited to line up for the Costume Parade at the top of Edelweiss. The parade will traverse its way down Mardi Gras slope, and once again HV is awarding best costume - the winner will get a free Seasons Classic pass for next season!

Head back over to Yodeler Sunday afternoon, because you’re not going to want to miss potentially the funniest event at HV all year - the Dummy Downhill. It’s simple: build a dummy, put it on skis, point it down Yodeler and watch it fly. Registration for the Dummy Downhill is $5; find the sign-up sheet, as well as a complete schedule of the weekend’s events, at



You’ve seen crashes, costumes and characters. Pond Skimming at Holiday Valley is a must-do at least once in your life! Lower Yodeler sets the stage on Saturday, March 24 … start a little bit up Yodeler slope and get your speed - you’ll need it - before keeping those #tipsup and ripping across an icy patch of water. Pond Skimming side effects may include, but are not limited to: side pain (from laughing); regular pain (from hitting the water); mood swings (watching the success and failure) and trouble hearing (from the crowd).

Registration starts at 11am, and both skiers and snowboarders are welcome to participate. Minimum age is 8, and anyone under 18 will need a parent signature. The Pond Skimming action will kickoff at 1pm.  Last year, we saw gorillas, super heroes, 70s disco stars, and lots of splahses, lots of craches. There were even a couple presidential candidates. (I am certain we will see those again).

Categories: Best Skimmer, Best Costume, Best Kid and Best Splash. Enjoy this annual favorite with food, drinks from the mini Snowbar and great company. When the day is done, you can cross this one off your bucket list!  Details at