Although we had a return to winter with some weekend snow, last week I could have sworn that Old Man Winter loosened his grip on the Adirondacks. Lake Placid celebrates the official start to spring this weekend with three great events: Snoe.down , Maple Weekend and Hard Times and Heroes. Snoe.down returns to Lake Placid to kick off the week-long Adirondack Almost Springfest celebration March 23-25. Friday and Saturday night feature concerts by indie jam-band moe. at the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena. On Saturday, March 24 competitors can live their own Olympic dream when they test their skills at tubing, Snoe.luge, curling, luge paddle, and fastest hockey shot in the Snoe.down Winter Games. So come join in the festivities as we celebrate winters last hurrah. To buy tickets, register for the Games, and see the full line-up of bands, visit www.snoedown.com. March 24-25 is also Maple Weekend, with about 120 maple producers across New York State hosting open houses. Maple sugaring is a tasty part of our Adirondack culture and heritage. Come explore this sticky spring ritual at the Uihlein Sugar Maple Research and Extension Field Station in Lake Placid. Take a tour of the grounds and learn the whole process behind the making of maple sugar. You can get a history lesson in one of the great northeast spring traditions, sample the products and pick up great recipes too. This family-oriented event is free. For more information, contact Mike Farrell at 523- 9337. Say goodbye to winter with one last nod to Lake Placids Olympic sports heritage. The 75th anniversary of the 1932 Olympic Winter Games may be a month gone, but the celebration continues March 22-24 with Hard Times and Heroes, an international conference about the long term effects of the Olympics on the country, the state, and the region. Sponsored by the Winter Olympic Museum, this program is designed for teachers, museum professionals, local historians and anyone else who may be interested in the history of the Games. Keynote speakers include Olympic scholars, authors, and journalists, who will bring to life the 1932 Games, set against the backdrop of the Great Depression. The conference will be held at the Hilton. Check out www.orda.org for more information.