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Get Schooled

Yeah, we know . . . you rip, you shred, you schuss. But as you sip that yerba mate, consider this: Colorado is one of the greatest alpine playgrounds on earth, and chances are you haven’t done it all. Curious to try tele? Heli? We’ve got mountains of local experts just waiting to light a fire under your season with a mind-blowing, body-punishing camp or clinic.


Slide of the Valkyries: Get your skate on at Steamboat's Nordic Camp.
Slide of the Valkyries: Get your skate on at Steamboat’s Nordic Camp.

Aspen • December 7th and onward
Bumps for Boomers founder 63-year-old Joe Nevin wants you to know that it’s never too late to push your limits. His three- or four-day programs, designed to make a competent mogul skier out of your decrepit ass, run every Monday to Wednesday/Thursday in Aspen, starting December 7th. Using his “Think Different” approach, Nevin guarantees you’ll be tackling terrain previously outside your capabilities in just a few short days. $897 for three days; $1,196 for four.

Frisco • December through March

Letting a giant kite drag you at Mach 10 across the frozen tundra (or in this case, Lake Dillon), sounds like an excellent idea to us. Add in some freestyle moves and well, you had us at Mach 10. Play it safe with one of Boulder Outdoor Center’s four-hour courses starting in December. They’ll provide a kite and harness, you show up with your board or skis, and hope mother nature dishes up winds of an least 5 m.p.h. $249 for four hours of instruction, includes kite and harness rental.

Telluride • December through March

You don’t have to go to Canada to experience extreme off-piste skiing. Telluride Helitrax, flying freaks like you deep into the San Juans since 1982, is one of the oldest helicopter ski companies in the U.S., and it flies at the highest elevations in North America. Co-founder Brian Miller boasts some of the best guides in the biz—the type who lead Everest ascents, have worked as avalanche forecasters and are sponsored by The North Face. $999 for a full day, includes six runs.

Steamboat • December 11-13

Thinking of racing the Eldora Nighthawks Series this season? Get your rear in gear with a bootcamp in Steamboat Springs. Participants are broken into groups based on ability, with no more than six skiers per coach. Choose Classic, or Skate, or both. Fischer, Salomon, Swix, Atomic, Rossignol, Toko and Craft will be on site with 2009/2010 demo equipment (skis, boots, poles), waxes and clothing so you can pass for a pro. $160 for two days, includes lunch.

Tabernash • January 3

What makes skiing even more fun? When your best friend gets in the mix. Using harnesses to keep you and your dog connected, the Scandinavian sport of skijoring creates a six-legged snow-skimming powerhouse. Any athletic or energetic dog with a penchant for pulling will do, since the name of the game is speed. Learn to work together at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, with more than 100K of nordic trails, just minutes from Winter Park. $20 for two hours of instruction and equipment rental.

Loveland • January 9 & 24

Just because everyone is hot to buy new AT gear doesn’t mean the tele turn is dead. Is it harder than alpine. Yes? Is it also more enlightened? Hell yes. Join the ranks of the chosen with a one-day clinic at Loveland, land of telemark peace and goodness, and some sidecountry shots perfect for your first tele tour. $85 for 2.5 hours of instruction and a full day, all-mountain pass.

Boulder • Starts January 27th
If you’re already into tele or AT, and want to take it into the backcountry, you need to get serious about safety skills and winter navigation. The Boulder Group of the Colorado Mountain Club offers a comprehensive series featuring three lectures and three fieldtrips. If that sounds like too much work, just remind yourself what a blast you’ll have on all those hut trips you’ll now be qualified to go on. $75, must become a member to partake.

Winter Park • January 27-31

This retreat is pure indulgence for the ladies—four days of snow sports, yoga and spa—at Snow Mountain Ranch just outside Winter Park. Not only will you come away a stronger Nordic skier, but allegedly, more inspired and balanced. NON-SUBTLE HINT FOR MY HUSBAND: This would make a fab Christmas present. $1,100.

Ouray • February 1-4

Chicks with Picks is usually a women’s only affair. But this one’s a “mixer” clinic, meaning both chicks and Dicks are welcome. (That’s right guys; it’s time to climb like a girl.) You’ll spend four nights and three climbing days in the San Juan Mountains at the Ouray Ice Park. Not ready to invest in your own gear? No problem, the Chicks have demo gear you can use, which is sort of like cross-dressing. $1,076 for double occupancy, $1,286 single room.

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