[R2805R, Ski Ward]'s LaCroix Cup is a GS in which individuals and families, skiers and snowboarders, compete to win a family season pass, in a format that factors in age and ability.

The one-of-a-kind event was created as a tribute to John LaCroix, the president/owner of Ski Ward, and his family.

"It honors them for the countless hours and effort they have put in to make Ski Ward an enjoyable place and a positive influence on the community," Mark "Campi" Campaniello said the other day.

"This is the only one like it anywhere," said Campi, Ski Ward's snow sports director.

"Our timing software factors in everything in a way that gives everyone a shot at winning," he said. "Everyone takes two runs, and the program throws out the high and low, and figures in age, and comes up with the result."

At stake is a family season pass for next season, and the everlasting glory of having the family name inscribed on the silver LaCroix Cup that remains permanently at Ski Ward.

"This is the fourth running, and every year a different family has won," Campi said.

The LaCroix Cup is set to run Saturday March 7. Registration begins at 9 a.m. Racing starts at 11 a.m. Entry fee is $40 for lift ticket, race, and barbecue; $10 for season pass holders, and $15 for barbecue only.

Winter has settled into a good groove at Ski Ward after a rough start.

The area, like the rest of Central New England, was hammered by an ice storm in mid-December. It only lost power for a couple of days, but skiing was not foremost in the minds of people in the region as they coped with widespread storm damage and localized power outages that lasted up to two weeks.

"Then just when things were settling down again one of the trees that had been damaged in the first storm came down and took out our power again," Campi said.

Things began to pick up for good toward the end of Christmas vacation week, and have been going strong since, with good turnouts and great snow, he said.