The Best Festivals and Parties In Colorado Ski Country

Submitted by R. Scott Rappold on Mon, 12/16/2019 - 15:17
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festival of the brewpubs
Arapahoe Basin - Festival of the Brewpubs

The main reason most of us visit a ski resort is, of course, the snow. 

But winter is also a time for celebration for skiers and snowboarders. We wait all summer and fall for the first freeze or dusting of snow on the peaks, and when it comes, we're giddy with joy. 

And many of us want to party. 

So with that in mind, we present your guide to the biggest, best and most iconic events, festivals and parties in ski towns and at ski areas across Colorado this winter. Just remember to party responsibly, because you'll want to ski the next day, and riding the chairlift with a hangover is no fun for anyone. 

Winterskol, Jan. 9-12, Aspen 

Aspen's annual "toast to winter" dates back to January 1951 when locals began celebrating the town's unique Nordic lifestyle. The-four day fest features on-mountain activities, film screenings, a winterfest, broomball and fat-biking competitions and much more.

More information: https://www.aspenchamber.org/events/acra-annual-events/winterskol

Winter X Games, Jan. 23-26, Aspen-Snowmass 

Head back to Aspen for what is arguably the biggest party in ski country, when tens of thousands converge for the biggest non-Olympics snowsports competition anywhere. There are four days of competitions, televised on ESPN and ABC, all free and open to the public. But that's only part of it. After the action on snow head out for concerts by world-renowned artists. You might just find yourself grooving with the next Sean White. 

More information: https://www.aspensnowmass.com/while-you-are-here/events/x-games-aspen

Snowdown, Jan. 29-Feb. 1, Durango

The biggest party of the winter in southwest Colorado has been going on each year since 1979 in Durango. Advertised as "the cure for cabin fever," it's a weekend of music, parties and skiing at nearby Purgatory and Hesperus ski areas. This year's theme is rock 'n roll, so dress up as your favorite rock star for the occasion. 

More information: https://www.snowdown.org/

Winter Carnival, Feb. 5-9, Steamboat Springs

They love winter in Steamboat Springs - perhaps that's why more winter Olympians have come from here than any other U.S. city. The Winter Carnival, now in its 107th year, features events like ski jumping and skijoring (skiers pulled by horses), as well as a parade, fireworks and plenty of frivolity, including adults pulled through snow on shovels and skiers racing through flaming hoops. It's the longest continuously-celebrated winter festival west of the Mississippi River. 

More information: https://www.steamboatchamber.com/events/annual-events/steamboat-winter-carnival/

Mountaintop Matrimony, Feb. 14, Loveland Ski Area 

You can't spell "Loveland" without "love," so each year on Valentine's Day hundreds of couples get married on the mountain. There's a Honeymooner's Apres Party for all participants and their guests following the ceremony at the Loveland Basin featuring music, wedding cake, spirits and even a best dressed contest.  Participating couples must preregister online in order to receive the Marry Me Ski for Free 2-for-1 lift ticket special.

More information: https://skiloveland.com/wedding-registration/

10th Mountain Day, Feb. 28, Cooper

This venerable ski area near Leadville is where the famed 10th Mountain Division trained for World War II, and they celebrate this heritage on Feb. 29 with a parade down the mountain by 10th Mountain Division veterans and their families 

More information: www.skicooper.com 

Pond Skim, March 28, Powderhorn

This ski area high on the Grand Mesa celebrates the end of winter with a pond-skimming competition from noon to 4 p.m. So wear your least favorite gear and see if you can make it across the pond without falling into the ice-cold water. 

More information: http://www.powderhorn.com/activities-groups/events/featured-articles/event/17-pond-skim.html

Spring Bash and Splash, April 4-5, Winter Park

Ring in the era of spring skiing at Winter Park with a beer festival, costume parties, live music and more. And of course there's pond-skimming. The party continues on weekends throughout April. 

More information: https://www.winterparkresort.com/things-to-do/activities/spring-bash-and-splash

Sunsation, April 18-19, Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain closes out the ski season with a series of concerts, parties and the pond skim/rail jam hybrid that is Red Bull SlopeSoakers. Check out the website to see who's playing, and remember that even though it's late April it just might be snowing, so don't forget the skis. 

More information: https://www.coppercolorado.com/things-to-do/events/april-events/sunsation

Kayaks on Snow, date TBD in April, Monarch Mountain

One of the more ridiculous events in ski country occurs each April at Monarch Mountain. Nearby Salida is known as a whitewater town, with the Arkansas River running through town, so come out and watch the river paddlers try their hand at sliding down the snow. Check the website for the exact date and other details. 

More information: https://www.skimonarch.com/kayaks-on-snow/

Festival of the Brewpubs, May 24, Arapahoe Basin 

Ski area Arapahoe Basin has the longest season in North America - October to June (and sometimes July.) That's lots of time for parties, but the best is always Memorial Day weekend with the Festival of the Brewpubs. There's live music and plenty of craft beer, and, of course, skiing in shorts and t-shirts. 

More information: https://www.arapahoebasin.com/event/festival-of-the-brewpubs/

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