As days grow longer and thoughts turn to golf or tennis, the ski areas ramp up the special attractions. Last week’s column ouitlined events planned for New Mexico resorts—including this weekend’s Shovel Races at Angel Fire. Here’s a summary of happenings in southern Colorado:
• Crested Butte has an impressive schedule of events, many involving world-class competitors as well as purely fun happenings. Here are highlights. On Jan. 19, enjoy one of the Randonee Town Series races, which have free entry categories for casual and serious competitors. Call 970-349-2217 for details. The 41st annual Dan Prater Memorial Cup runs Feb. 21-24, with some 200 racers ages 11-12 in competition. March 7 will feature Seven Hours of the Banana, an endurance contest with skiers and boarders lapping the resort’s famed steep run Banana. March 7-10 brings the International Freeskiing Association’s Junior National Championships. March 21-23, the nation’s top telemarkers will gather for the 16th annual Extreme Telemark Freeskiing Championship with junior, adult and master divisions.
From noon to 4 p.m. on March 24, the 39th annual Al Johnson Uphill/Downhill Telemark Race, which includes prizes for best costumes, fastest times and other categories for both tams and individuals. March 29 is the 16th annual Elk Mountain Grand Traverse, one of the world’s toughest endurance races. Two-person teams must ski 40 miles through wilderness and over high passes from Crested Butte to Aspen. For details, visit www.elkmounaintraverse.com
From March 29-31, the resort hosts the 22nd annual Extreme Freesking Championship, the oldest event of its kind in the world and a significant stop in what has developed into a global series of similar competitions. The resort closes out the season on April 6 with the Slush Huck Pond Skim. It will close on April 7.
• Wolf Creek relies primarily on its prodigious snowfall to attract skiers, but also hosts some fun events. It will hold Local Appreciation Days on Feb. 10, Feb. 27, March 6, March 31, April 3 and April 7, with adult lift tickets running $35 and seniors/kids tickets $20. No ID is required. On Feb. 23-24, it presents the Back Country Babes Telemark Clinic, taught by women. Details at www.backcountrybabes.net. On March 3, sign up for a men’s ski/snowboard clinic, which runs $66 for a half-day lesson and lift ticket. On March 5, join in the senior’s clinic for $51. The area is scheduled to close April 7, with the last of its annual Fun Races.
• Telluride is home to its 13th annual Comedy Festival, held at the impressive Sheridan Opera House, on Feb. 14-17, and Gay Ski Week on Feb. 24-March 2. Women’s Week runs March 3-5, which was launched more than 30 years ago as the first event of its kind in Colorado. It includes on-snow training, video analysis, top equipment demos and après-ski activities. Email email@example.com for details. T’ride shuts down April 7.
• Silverton Mountain hosts the Sisters Meeting in the Mountains in April, which draws professional women skiers and industry insiders for some great skiing, networking and socializing in this San Juan hideout. The expert-only area is open for guided skiing only through March 31. Unguided skiing returns April 4-7 and April 11-14. It is scheduled to close April 14.
• Durango Mountain Resort presents the Winter Warrior Snowshoe Race on Feb. 9, with 5K and 10K options on a groomed track at the Nordic Center. The racing kicks off at 10:15 a.m. Entry costs $15. The resort hosts a Women’s Ski & Snowboard Weekend on Feb. 9-10, and the 11th annual Purgatory Ski-Bike Festival on Feb. 15-17, with certification classes, races, demonstrations and social events. For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org. On March 17, enjoy the fun of their annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, with races, live music and more.
• Monarch Mountain hosts a series of Town Challenge Races open to all through out the remainder of the season, including Feb. 8 and Feb. 15, and a series of demo days presented by Albritton. Enjoy the VIBeS Race on Feb. 23, and the Butterfly Round Up on March 10, in which points are awarded for finding butterfly decals about the resort and for best costumes. On March 24, check out the North Face Never Sop Jibbing Jam in the Never Summer terrain park. Winners walked away with new skis and snowboards. On April 6, it hosts its major winter competition, Kayaks on Snow. The 8th annual gathering features a course lined with berms, banks and jumps. There is a $10 entry fee. It wraps the season on its final day with its 7th annual Parking Lot Cook-off & Tailgate Party on April 14.
Daniel Gibson can be reached at email@example.com.