Spring Skiing Fun at Arapahoe Basin – Curtis DeVore
By R. Scott Rappold
Spring is nearly here in Colorado, and you don’t have to be on a wild spring break road trip from Texas to get crazy on the slopes (though it certainly helps.)
The spring calendar is full of events celebrating the silly season at Colorado ski areas when layers come off and costumes come on. Dance at concerts in your ski boots. Drink a lot of beer. Build a makeshift sled to race with or bring your kayak. Drink more beer. Try to skim across a pond without falling into the ice-cold water.
Then drink some water, too. Because nobody wants to ski with a hangover.
To help you celebrate spring on the slopes, here are some of the biggest and best events in Colorado Ski Country this year.
Just be sure to check the weather before heading up in just your swimsuit. March and April can go from beautiful to brutally cold and stormy in a matter of minutes.
McDonald’s Cardboard Derby, March 14, Purgatory Resort
You’re allowed to use only two ingredients – duct tape and cardboard – to build a derby racer for this wild competition. But you’d be surprised how elaborate some of these sleds can get. You can compete as a team or solo racer down the tubing hill in this race, which begins at 10 a.m. Says the resort, “All it takes is some creativity, engineering skills, and courage.”
Bud Light Spring Jam, March 17-22, Aspen/Snowmass
The second-biggest party of the year in the Roaring Fork Valley (sorry but the X Games is always number 1) features a full slate of parties, free concerts and intense competitions. There will be freestyle and slalom races and a massive scavenger hunt across all four ski areas around Aspen.
Spring Skiing and Pond Skimming at Winter Park Resort – Carl Frey
Spring Bash + Splash, weekends March 30-April 21, Winter Park
Spread out over four weekends at Winter Park Resort, the Spring Bash + Splash features live music, special events and great spring skiing every weekend from March 30 to April 21. Events will include a leg-burning uphill endurance skiing event, a tropical beach party with swimwear and live music, and of course skimming across a man-made pond. There’s a beer festival April 4, Wild West Weekend April 11 and a Beach Weekend April 18.
Trick Ditch Banked Slalom, April 4, Eldora
Think you’re a good snowboarder? Show your stuff and compete for $10,000 in prize money on a luge-like course flanked by high berms. The terrain will slingshot you from side to side. Prizes go to the fastest. Then in the afternoon show your tricks in a style competition. The competition overlaps with Retro Weekend, so whether you’re competing or not, come dressed in your best vintage ski outfit.
Cardboard Classic, April 11, Steamboat
This wacky rite of spring in the Yampa Valley has been going on for 40 years. Competitors are allowed more materials than at Purgatory above, but the essence is the same: Build a unique cardboard sled to race down the snow. Along with cardboard and duct tape, you can use glue, string, water-based paint, masking tape, balloons and other decorations to build your chariot. Be creative – prizes are warded for costumes, design and engineering too. It’s part of Springalicious, a two-week festival celebrating the end of the season.
Ski Kayaking at Monarch Mountain
Kayaks on Snow, April 11, Monarch Mountain
With the Arkansas River running through town, Salida is known as a paradise for kayakers and whitewater rafters. A lot of them ski the all-natural snow at Monarch Mountain, too. The disciplines combine for closing weekend with Kayaks on Snow. Don’t forget the helmet.
The Loveland Derby, April 11, Loveland Ski Area
Amateur skiers have been racing in America’s largest such race for 60 years. Come on out to see casual ski racers from across the country dress up in costumes and fly down in friendly competition.
Sunsation, April 18-19, Copper Mountain
Copper Mountain celebrates the end of ski season with Sunsation, two days of music, competitions and live concerts. Saturday is Red Bull Slopesoakers, the most creative pond skim you’ll find at any ski resort anywhere in the world. Competitors take to a course full of terrain park features with ponds added to the mix. Sunday is the High Fives Shred-a-Thon. Throw on your retro gear and take as many laps off the American Eagle lift as you can to raise money for the High Fives Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps athletes suffering from traumatic brain injuries get back to the sports that they love. Don’t have a pass? Get a $50 discount lift ticket.
Spring Apres at Arapahoe Basin
Festival of the Brewpubs, May 24, Arapahoe Basin
The booziest event of the Colorado ski calendar is every Memorial Day weekend at Arapahoe Basin, when breweries from across Colorado gather for unlimited pours and sloppy spring skiing. There’s live music and food vendors. And it’s not even necessarily closing day. Some years A-Basin stays open through July 4!