Spring Flings

Some are rejoicing that the snow is going away and warm weather is finally here. Some just can’t let winter go. But there’s sun and snow (and the occasional naked person) in the Colorado mountains in April, and you can celebrate spring fever in style at these farewells to the white stuff.

April 3 • Monarch Mountain

It’s no secret that Coloradoans have an affinity for both skiing and kayaking. What’s unfortunate is that our penchant for putting the two sports together is less lauded. Monarch Mountain does it beautifully with a specially constructed “Boatercourse” on the Freeway run that sends kayakers down rollers, small jumps, berms and banked corners. Winner earns bragging rights and a new kayak. Not ready to commit? Spectating is free, the event comes equipped with an expo, and the entire race can be seen from the base-lodge deck while sipping sponsor New Belgium’s beer.

April 9-11 & APRIL 18 • Breckenridge

Breck treats us to an entire month of finale festivals starting April 1st. We’re particularly fond of the Massive Competition, held for three days on Peak 8. It includes a rail jam and a serious throw-down at the terrain park for both skiers and boarders. But our heart truly belongs to the Imperial Challenge on the 18th, which factors mountain biking into the mix. You’ll ride 6.2 miles from town across Peak 7 to Peak 8 then ascend 2,500 feet to the Imperial Bowl on the equipment of your choice (don’t pick the bike), before descending on skis or board.

April 11 • Steamboat

The Splashdown is not to be missed. Imagine an ice-cold pond at the base of the mountain. Now imagine our bravest (craziest?) skiers and riders attempting to cross it, airbone. The judging criteria is distance, of course, but more importantly, outfit creativity and crowd response. “Outfit creativity” means you need to wear something at the bare minimum (keep it clean, people)—at least until the evening, when the Bud Light Rocks the Boat free concert takes over the base area. Donavon Frankenreiter’s entrancing melodies and feel-good lyrics will erase any Splashdown foibles.

Pond Skimming Stud: Big cahones limit the shrinkage factor at Vail’s end of season festivities.

April 12–18 • Vail

Speaking of the Splashdown, Vail puts on a weeklong spring festival extravaganza that concludes with what it calls “The World Pond Skimming Championships.” We can’t confirm that the competition is better than in Steamboat the weekend before, but we can say how much less the competitors are required to wear. We suggest a “when in Vail, do at the Vailans do” mentality. Street parties, on-snow events, and free concerts from national headliners all add to the festivities. Despite the debauchery, and our preference for such, Vail sealed the deal for us with three-for-the-price-of-two lodging deals.


April 17-18 • Copper Mountain
Woodward’s upcoming summer training camps almost make us wish for the end of outdoor ski season, so we can head indoors to learn new tricks. But before we’re ready to say goodbye to Copper, we need a healthy dose of Sunsation, the mountain’s season finale festival. This is spring skiing at it’s best, with ego snow, bright sun and free live music. Bring your sunscreen and an appetite for the “Red Bull 1976 Games” which will be in full effect closing weekend. Thye are a re-creation of the 1976 Olympic Games in every old school way you can imagine, from snowblade-cross to big air.

April 18 • Winter Park

Winter Park lays claim the oldest pond-skimming event—42 years to be exact. But the resort has revamped the rite of spring a bit. Athletes here start at noon on the Larry Sale trail, heading backward on an obstacle course meant to inspire the crowd. The course culminates with a pond launch to reach the finish line. The first three winners get cold hard cash, so it’s for more than guts and no glory. New for this year, any entrant who guesses his or her time within two seconds of completion will win a season pass. Stay for the free live music afterward.

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