We turn our attention again to special events being held throughout the region this winter. Here’s a fairly comprehensive list.
Special events include: Moonlight Hike & Campfire on Feb. 8; a Ski Bike Rally on Feb. 8-9; February Fun Fest on Feb. 15-17 with a huge snow castle and scavenger hunt for kids; the 6th annual Lloyd Bolander Memorial Day and Pine Cup Race on Feb. 29 honoring the ski area’s founder; Hawaiian Day on March 7; Moonlight Hike & Campfire on March 7; the fabulous 16th annual Cardboard Derby on March 15; and the 15th annual Pond Skim on March 21, the day before the proposed March 22 closing.
The Colorado ski area hosts a series of free ski and snowboard races called the Fun Series this winter. You can race your friends or just challenge your own fastest time. Signups will take place on race days from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the Raven’s Nest building. The races run 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Charisma every Sunday in February and Feb. 29, and every Saturday in March.
The Wolf Creek Challenge Series is back. The 40-plus gate giant slalom race on middle and lower Charisma is open to teams and individuals. All proceeds support the Wolf Creek Ski Team. The first race was Jan. 25. Next up is April 4. For details see facebook.com/wolfcreekskiteam.
The area also offers Local Appreciation Days, and the best part is everyone is considered a local on those select days. Adult tickets go for $54, seniors $36 and kids $29. They will take place Feb. 12, March 6, 25, 29, April 1 and 5.
College Days provide lift tickets at $54 for students with current college ID and printed class schedule. They will be take place Feb. 23, March 22 and April 4.
Purgatory will host a demo day Feb. 8. For $20 (and a photo ID), you can check out the latest gear from Salomon, Volkl, Blizzard, Fischer, Meier, Head, K2, Dynastar, Rossignol, Atomic, Voile, DPS, Black Crows and more.
The USSSA snowboard and skier halfpipe contest is Feb. 15-17 in Pitchfork Terrain Park, and there will be a night rail jam Feb. 15. USSSA membership is required and available on site.
Enjoy a ride on a snowcat from the base up to the Powderhouse Restaurant for a themed meal Feb. 15 or March 21. The excursion runs 5-8:30 p.m. and costs $150 per person. Reservations are required 24 hours in advance online, by calling 800-525-0892, or visiting Guest Services at the resort.
Feb. 22 brings the resort’s 17th annual Ski Bike Rally, the longest-running ski bike festival in the country. Meet up at the Ski Bike tent on the beach to compete or join the après-ski celebration at Purgy’s at day’s end. Contact Wayne Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
March 14 is the McDonald’s Cardboard. Build your derby racer out of cardboard and duct tape only, and pilot it down the slopes — all it takes is some creativity, engineering skills and courage. One online video provides ideas and inspiration; see https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=10153365724822703.
The season closes April 5 with a pond skim, limited to the first 75 registrants, and prizes for best skim, beset wipeout and best costume.
Monarch Mountain has something lined up almost every weekend. Its Ski with a Naturalist program runs every Friday in February and on March 6, 13 and 20, from 11-11:45 a.m. The free skiing tour on beginner runs focuses on Monarch’s forest ecology, wildlife, the recreational history of Monarch Pass and the Monarch-USFS partnership.
A daily lift ticket or season pass is required.
Feb. 8 brings Telefestivus, a free telemark festival, with demo gear, competitions, a guided social hike to Mirkwood Basin, avalanche awareness activities and more activities. Also on Feb. 8 is COSMIC: Race the Divide, a grueling competitive ski mountaineering race to the top of the Continental Divide. To register, go to cosmicski.com.
On Valentine’s Day, join your sweetheart for a combined slalom race on Freeway. Registration is $5 per person.
An International Free Skiers and Snowboard Association Big Mountain competition on High Anxiety and Mirkwood Bowlis Feb. 22-23. Registration and membership through IFSA is required.
Next up is the free snowboard demo day from Never Summer on March 21-22, combined with a slope style competition on March 21, and a top-to-bottom race on 136cm Never Summer snowboards for bragging rights and a brand-new custom 36 snowboard. Registration costs $10.
The Great Divide Grinder, a seven-mile fat tire bike race, rolls in on March 28. Registration runs $40, with proceeds being donated to Salida Mountain Trails. The 14th annual Kayaks on Snow race is on April 4, and ontestant in kayaks race head-to-head down a specially designed course with berms, banks and bumps, ending in an icy pond! Registration is $30.
The Monarch season ends April 5 with the 14th annual Parking Lot Cook-Off & Tailgate Party and the Gunbarrel Challenge, a free race up and down the area’s signature and oldest run.
Nordic, snowshoe events
For those who enjoy “skinny” skiing and snowshoe competitions, here are some regional events:
Feb. 1: Alley Loop Nordic Marathon, Crested Butte
Feb. 8: Butch Cassidy Ski Chase, Telluride, Colo.
Feb. 15: Snow Shoe Race, Durango Nordic Center, Colo.
Feb. 15: Mt. Taylor Winter Quad, Grants
Feb. 22: Pine Needle Langlauf, Durango, Colo.
Feb. 29: USSSA National Snowshoe Championship races, Leadville, Colo.
Ski Santa Fe sports a 73-inch base, the most in the region, with all runs open except Big Rocks Chutes 3-6 and Sunset Bowl.
Taos Ski Valley has a 63-inch base, with all runs open. The Kachina Peak Chair is spinning, but in the base area the Martini Tree Bar has been permanently closed.
Angel Fire checks in with a 33-inch base and 74 of 80 runs open. Sipapu has a 31-inch base, with 41 of 43 runs skiable. Red River, with a 37-inch base, has all but one run skiable. Pajarito Mountain has 31 inches and 32 of 44 runs open.
Sandia Peak has a nice 39-inch base and all runs open. Ski Apache has 38 inches and 37 or 55 runs in operation. Enchanted Forest has a 69-inch base.
Wolf Creek has 67 inches with all runs open. Crested Butte has a 43-inch base and only a portion of its Extreme Limits terrain open. Telluride reports 50 inches, Monarch Mountain has 51 inches, and Purgatory 46 inches.