Saying goodbye to ski season
- Created on Monday, 26 March 2012 15:08
- Written by Scott Rappold
(Gazette file photo of the annual spring party that is "The Beach" at Arapahoe Basin.
So I've been in denial.
After a mediocre ski season and the driest March since the Earth was just a glowing orb of gas, there seems little hope for more snow anytime soon. Ski resorts are closing trails, Nordic centers are shutting down early, the Ice Castles at Silverthorne is melting into a puddle and mountain-town residents are sporting flip-flops and replacing ski racks with bike racks.
Even Colorado ski meteorologist Joel Gratz of opensnow.com, whose optimism about the "next storm" helped get me through many long dry spells this "winter," now says the best chance for a powder day is November 2012 (and he's only half-joking.) So I hereby relinquish what little hope I had for another powder day.
But many ski areas will be open for several more weeks, and Arapahoe Basin may keep the lifts running until June. There's still fun to be had at the slopes if you lower your expectations. Plan to ski from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., when you can catch the snow after it softens from ice but before it turns to slush. Ski in shorts, work on your tan and enjoy some cold refreshments in the sun. It could be worse. You could be in Kansas.
Here are some free concerts and wacky events on the slopes to help you get in the spring-skiing spirit (from Colorado Ski Country USA and Vail Resorts news releases):
Kayaks on Snow, April 7-8, Monarch Mountain
Monarch's signature event, the 7th Annual Kayaks on Show, is back once again. Contestants race head to head, similar to Skier Cross, down a specially designed course featuring berms, banks, and bumps, ending in an icy pond. This event is as fun to watch as it is to race. Sponsors will be on hand to provide plenty of stoke for this unique event, including Mountain Khakis, Bolle, Colorado Kayak Supply, Camelbak, Cliff Bar/Aquaphor, and The North Face. For more information and registration, call 888-996-7669 x-5050.
Sunsation, April 14-15, Copper Mountain
This year Sunsation returns to Copper Mountain on April 14 and 15. The free event kicks off on Saturday, April 14, with the first-ever CopperMan event, an obstacle course that will put ice in contestant’s veins and finish with an end line celebration to put warmth in their hearts. Then, on Sunday, April 15, at 12 p.m., Copper and Woodward at Copper will host the inaugural Slopesoakers: Floating Rail Jam. Positioned in front of Jill’s deck, the pond will have a rail floating on top of inner tubes, creating a unique spin on the traditional pond skim. The event is free, and guests are encouraged to come and watch some of the best athletes get soaked. Throughout the weekend, live music will feature from Pata Banton, Michal Menert, the Spazmatcis, and an all-female tribute Lez Zepplin. For more information, guests can visit www.coppersunsation.com.
Spring Fever, March 31-April 15, Breckenridge
Breckenridge has turned the Peak 8 base area into a concert venue to welcome spring, with free concerts, competitions and plenty of beer. The shows run from 2 to 5 p.m. Here's the lineup: March 31 - Leftover Salmon. April 1 - Donavon Franenreiter. April 14 - Toots and the Maytals. April 15 - Rusted Root. Click here for more information.
Spring Back to Vail, April 9-15, Vail
Vail welcomes spring with a week of festivities and free concerts, culminating in the ever-popular pond-skimming contest (pictured below.)
Echo Mountain Roundup, March 31, Echo Mountain
Echo's version of the Wild West happens on Saturday, March 31, at the Scion & Verizon Wireless Echo Mountain Roundup. Guests are invited to bust out their boots, hats and western garb as Denver's closest ski and snowboard area transforms into the 'Ole West. Scheduled activities include Scion’s Design Your Own Snowboard Contest, a Lil’ Wranglers Rail Jam, High Rollers Rail Jam, costume and eating contests, a mechanical bull, Rocky Mountain Chili Bowl snowboard giveaway, Moe’s Original Bar B Que, plus much more. For details, please visit www.echomt.com.
Corn Harvest Benefit Ski Party, April 18, Loveland
Loveland Ski Area will host the 11th Annual Corn Harvest Benefit Ski Party for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC). This event is more than just a benefit, it’s a good time with both old and new friends at Loveland Ski Area. Guests are invited to meet and ski with folks from CAIC to show their support for their efforts to help us all stay safe. Hawaiian shirts are encouraged and registration includes lunch, raffle tickets for great gear and prizes, beer from New Belgium, and live music on the patio at the end of the day. This is the ultimate experience to enjoy a great day of spring skiing with friends while giving back to a great cause. For more information on this events and other April events at Loveland visit http://www.skiloveland.com/events/April.aspx.
River Run Rocks Concert Series, April 7, Keystone
River Run Rocks Concert Series Presented by Bud Light featuring Sam Bush. Turn up the volume on the traditional après live-music scene. The free concert series has hosted headliners 10,000 Maniacs, Seven Mary Three and Robert Earl Keen. Set right in the River Run Village plaza, the series features plenty of food vendors and beverage carts, and prime seating on the decks of Wolf Rock, 9280’ TapHouse, and Luigi’s. A kids’ fun zone also keeps the young ones busy while you enjoy the music. Click here for more. Stick around the next day for closing day to compete in the Keystone Slush Cup pond-skimming competition to win free passes, with prizes for best crash, best costume and best overall.
11th Annual Festival of the Brewpubs, May 27, Arapahoe Basn
Join us for our largest party of the year! Spend the day sampling mugs of beer from a variety of Colorado brewpubs. Cost is $25 for a 14-ounce, refillable mug. Breweries include Pug Ryan’s, Breckenridge, Dillon Dam and Backcountry. There'll be live music, springtime skiing and more. Sampling is noon to 4 p.m. Click here for more.
Winter Chainless Downhill Bike Race, March 31, Crested Butte
Grab your townie, winter mountain bike or downhill bike and come join Crested Butte Mountain Resort's first-ever Winter Chainless Downhill Bike Race on Saturday (March 31). It's free, but you must have a lift ticket and wear a helmet during the race. Sign up at the Butte 66 deck in the base area between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m., then ride the Red Lady lift between 4:30 and 5 p.m. for the 5:15 p.m. le Mans start. There'll be live music by Justin Howard at Butte 66 from 3 to 6 p.m.
Pond Skim, April 7, Crested Butte
The annual Pond Skim contest at Crested Butte features plenty of stunts across the 50-foot pond at the base area on April 7. Registration begins at 2 p.m. and costs $10. Pond skimming is 3 to 5 p.m., with awards and live music from Buntron Smith at Butte 66, following the contest.