This ski season we welcome guest blogger Amber Johnson who blogs at TheMileHighMama, is a Denver Post columnist, family travel writer, editor of the Denver Post's MileHighMamas.com and 9News contributor.
Some snow enthusiasts say the ski/snowboard season kicks off with all the Labor Day sales. For my family, its at the annual Denver Ski & Snowboard Expo at the Colorado Convention Center.
This ski and snowboard emporium goes from November 2-4, 2012 and we checked out the action on Friday night. And believe me when I say there was a lot of action for snow-lovers of all ages.
From the mature-types.
To the younger set.
To the mid-range, deal-seeking set like my husband and me. Not only were the resorts offering some killer Expo-exclusive discounts but last seasons inventory on ski, snowboard, boots and outdoor clothing was marked down 40-75 percent (there were also some awesome deals on summer equipment). We scored an Obermeyer ski hat for my son forwait for itonly $5!
Colorado Ski Country USAs member resorts were offering specials on everything from lodging to lift tickets to discounts on dining and resort activities. A small sampling of my finds:
*Durango Mountain Resort had several specials including 4 lift tickets and 1 night slopeside lodging for $239 (certain blackout dates).
*Copper Mountain was practically giving these away like candy: FREE adult lift ticket with the purchase of a childs lift ticket (valid until 12/21/12, excluding 11/23-11/24).
*Crested Butte had a free buy one, get one free card for lift tickets, lodging, zipline tours, ski & ride school and more.
*Monarch was offering two tickets for $60. (Holiday periods were the only blackout dates).
*Sunlight had a 5-day pass for $150 to use anytime without any blackouts.
*Ski Cooper was offering 4-packs of tickets for $90 that are transferrable to anybody all season long.
*Arapahoe Basin had a 4-pack Expo special for $139 (no blackout dates, no brainer; their words, not mine).
While adults browse, there are plenty of activities for the kiddos. Hands down, my kids favorite was the Coleman Mountain Activity Center that was anchored by Gibbon Slacklines (think hip tightrope.). Not only were there the pro demonstrators flipping all over those Slacklines (those dudes were crazy) but they had a fully padded practice area for the balance-challenged.
We couldnt drag our kids off the Slackline. I didnt even attempt it, which makes me even more deficient than balance-challenged.
Last summer, my kids went to camp through Avid4Adventure and I was delighted to see this summer camp powerhouse had brought their climbing while. While my spider monkeys made their summit attempts, I got the debriefing from Outward Bound, a fantastic non-profit that takes youth ages 12+ into the wilderness.
Vermont-based ELITEAM Training Center had a timed obstacle course that measures basic fitness and flexibility skills while I equated the MBS Mountainboard Zone to Razors on steroids. We loved checking out their obstacle course as beginners and skilled riders tested their mettle by trying this emerging new sport.
Not to be forgotten was the Denver Curling Club. As a Canuck whose parents met on the same curling team, I was delighted they were giving demos for kids (and overgrown adults).
For newbie skiers and riders, the Winter Park Kids Slope is perfect to get your feet wet as you strap on skis and boots and then skilled instructors help you navigate down a steep ramp. Burton had a small course for really young kids to get the feel of riding a real snowboard.
We didnt tell our kids about that latter one. Were trying to raise Skiing Blue Bloods.
Expo hours are Saturday, Nov. 3 from 10 am to 8 pm; and Sunday, Nov. 4 from 10 am to 6 pm. Admission is $12 for adults or $10 with a discount coupon available in The Denver Post or at any Colorado Ski & Golf or Colorado Ski & Sport store. Visit www.skisnowboardexpo.com <http://www.skisnowboardexpo.com> for discount Kids 12 and under are FREE!