As the weather warms and the spring storms randomly hit the mountains, the ski resorts in Colorado gear up for closing month celebrations. At the end of each ski season, you can find loads of locals (or semi-locals) trying to pack in as much snowsport time as possible while enjoying themselves thoroughly. It’s kind of like a bacchanal of skiing — and we have a roundup of 15 of the weird and wonderful events you can attend to properly pay homage to the fun times the snow brought this season.
Sunset Skiing and Sundeck Aprés Party
When: April 6, 4 – 8:30 p.m.
Where: Ajax Mountain, Aspen/Snowmass
Cost: Free with season or day ski pass or $10 for foot-pass up Gondola after 4 p.m.
The Lowdown: Spend the afternoon skiing Ajax Mountain and then stay up top for the sunset. Drink and eat to your heart’s content under the starry night skies and enjoy the feeling of being somewhere that’s typically closed at night. If you don’t have a ski pass to Aspen, don’t worry, foot-pass tickets are only $10 and include a ride up the Gondola after 4 p.m. to party like you were skiing all day, without the sore legs.
Eldora Banked Slalom and Retro Weekend
When: April 7
Where: Eldora Mountain Resort
Cost: Sold out, but free to watch
The Lowdown: For the second year in a row, Eldora will host a Banked Slalom and Retro Weekend. It’s an opportunity for people to test their snowboard skills. Participants are encouraged to wear their best ‘80s gear, race for cash prizes (with a $1,500 prize for the men and women’s open division) and rock out to some live music. Since it’s only one hour from Denver, and you don’t have to take I-70, it’s less of an investment in time and energy while still providing a kick-ass party. Though it’s sold out for participants, watching can be just as entertaining and probably less dangerous.
The Big Wonderful
When: April 7, 12 – 5 p.m.
Where: Winter Park Resort
Cost: Free to enter, Beerfest $35
The Lowdown: Originally a RiNo creation, The Big Wonderful offers “beerfest, bluegrass and bazaar” in a festival format. With tastings from craft breweries, art markets and local bands, this event will probably attract a different clientele than normal to Winter Park Resort, and it’ll definitely be a party. Less focused on the skiing than other spring ski events, this will nevertheless fuse the waning days of ski season with the amped energy of summer festivals.
When: April 7- 8, 7 a.m.
Where: Loveland Ski Area
Cost: Register here.
The Lowdown: Be part of ski resort end-of-season history with the Loveland Derby. This event may be the oldest ski race in America — according to the organizers — and has enjoyed 50 years of racing, BBQs and, of course, costumes. Racers from Colorado and beyond dress up, race, drink and eat like it’s 1968. There’s both a non-scored slalom and a scored slalom, so don’t be afraid to try it out if you don’t consider yourself a racer.
Slush Cup & Closing Day at Keystone
When: April 7 – 8, various times
Where: Keystone Resort
Cost: $18 – $25
The Lowdown: Close down Keystone Resort in style this weekend with two major events back-to-back. First, on Saturday, the reggae star Mike Love performs at Warren Station, bringing his Hawaiian vibes to the little mountain town. Then, on Sunday the Slush Cup offers pond skimming fun for ages 13 and up (one of the only pond skimming events that allows younger than 18 year-olds) with costume competitions.
Spring Back to Vail
When: April 7, 14 -15, various times
Where: Various locations near Vail Resort
Cost: Various prices
The Lowdown: On Saturday, April 7 and the following Saturday, April 14, Vail Resort will turn into a live music venue, with Music With a View presented by Verizon and Aprés music at Express Lift Bar. Let the tunes serenade your skiing adventure with sets from 12 to 2 p.m. and from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Bands The Sessh, Robby Peoples and Schwing Daddy perform. Then, on Sunday, April 15, the 16th Annual World Pond Skimming Championships take over Golden Peak. Anyone and everyone can participate — though it comes with a $75 participant fee — for the chance to be the “Golden Swimmer” and win a 2018/19 Epic Pass. Register here for the pond skimming.
Red Bull Home Run
When: April 7, 9 a.m.
Where: Buttermilk at Aspen/Snowmass Resort
Cost: $25 to participate, register here.
The Lowdown: Even though this event masquerades as a race, it’s more about the after party. After early morning registration (if you don’t claim your bib by 11 a.m. they give it away to a waitlist) you head to the top of Buttermilk. Then, with a shotgun start, you sprint for your skis or board and huck yourself down a marked path. Study up on the course before competing (the map can be found online) and be sure to dress up. The organizers say “only the fastest or the prettiest count” — obviously with their tongues in their cheeks — but they also award Ikon passes to winners in several categories. Once you make it down the run, the after party welcomes you in with live music by DJ Naka G and DJ DC, no matter what place you finish in. You must be 18 years or older to participate.
Breckenridge Bud Light Bags Tourney
When: April 7, 12 – 2:30 p.m.
Where: Base of Peak 7 at the Sevens Patio, Breckenridge
The Lowdown: If you’re a cornhole nut, then get out to Breckenridge this weekend for the Bud Light Bags Tourney. Maybe you want to ski a little in the morning but then would rather post up at the base than wear yourself out with spring snow. The setup for the competition is simple — single-elimination style, 15-minute games, 16 teams of two. This is the first year Breckenridge will host this tournament, and it’s pretty sure to get heated with the prizes on the line. First place receives an Apple Watch, second wins Beats headphones and third walks away with Patagonia backpacks.
Parking Lot Cook-Off & Tailgate Party
When: April 8, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: Monarch Mountain, Salida
The Lowdown: Head down to Salida to enjoy a parking lot party at Monarch Mountain. Everyone is invited to decorate their tailgates, cook up some delicious dishes and enter in the competition where a season pass is the grand prize. Make sure to sign up for the cook-off before noon, judges start eating at 12:30 p.m. It’s sure to be a day of hanging out and ushering in the season of whitewater rafting — which may be just as popular in Salida as skiing and riding.
Enduro and Après Party
When: April 11, 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Where: Pallavicini Chutes, Arapahoe Basin
Cost: Starting at $100 per team of two, register here.
The Lowdown: Spend the day discovering secret locales and learn fun facts about Arapahoe Basin at the 29th Annual Enduro and Après Party. Though the more competitive Pali Enduro is sold out this year, the less competitive Enduro Light still takes you on a chase around the different areas of the resort, in search of stamps to put in a passport. The celebration is sure to include all-day skiing challenges followed by a party with live music, drink specials, dinner and live and silent auctions. Proceeds will benefit Building Hope, a charity in Summit County that “works to create a more coordinated, effective and responsive mental health system.”
Springalicious Festival – Cardboard Classic
When: April 14, 10 a.m.
Where: Steamboat Resort
Cost: Free, register here.
The Lowdown: Returning to Steamboat for the 38th year, the Cardboard Classic features homemade cardboard crafts racing down the run Stampede. These crafts are made only with cardboard, glue, string, water-based paint, duct tape, masking tape, balloons and other decorations. Expect hilarious, odd and clever constructions and designs, and definitely expect to see some people wipe out pretty hard. There are nine categories that offer prizes, including crowd favorite, best engineering, best individual craft and most creative.
When: April 14 – 15, 8:30 a.m. – sunset
Where: Copper Mountain Resort
Cost: Various prices
The Lowdown: On Saturday, April 14, the RedBull Slope Soakers transform Copper Mountain into an ode to spring. With live music from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and MarchFourth, a day of retro-fashion for a cause and a drinking competition, Sunsation is a weekend to kick back and let loose. The High Fives Foundation, Phunkshun Wear and the Gelande Quaffing contest will take over Copper on Sunday. The High Fives Foundation will raise funds with people who lap the American Eagle lift all day, supporting injured mountain action sports athletes. The Gelande Quaffing competition ($40 per team) pits people against each other in a drinking game that is both odd and deceptively difficult. Everyone is encouraged to wear throwback gear like onesies, shaped snowboards, long poles or maybe just some Levi’s jeans and aviator sunglasses.
When: April 22, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Where: Base of Winter Park Resort
Cost: $20 to participate, free to watch
The Lowdown: In its 50th year, Winter Park Resort’s Monster Spring Splash may have started the Colorado tradition of skiing over water during closing weekend. On top of skiers and riders trying their best to glide across the very cold water, the run Larry Sales will feature an obstacle course the racers must attempt before their plunge or glide. Cash prizes are offered for first, second and third place finishers in two categories. The Spring Splash is limited to only 100 participants, so register quickly.
The Imperial Challenge
When: April 21
Where: Breckenridge Rec Center to Peak 8
The Lowdown: Ride your bike six miles from the Breckenridge Rec Center to the base of Peak 7, then choose your gear to climb to either the T-bar (2,500 feet elevation gain) or the top of Peak 8 (3,000 feet elevation gain). According to Breckenridge, the Imperial Challenge is a pseudo triathlon, a rite of spring, a party or whatever you make of it. One thing is for sure — the Imperial Challenge is probably for the more extreme spring skiers than those of us looking to party.
When: April 22, 8:30 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Where: Base of Peak 8, Breckenridge
Cost: $25 to participate, free to watch
The Lowdown: Celebrate Breckenridge’s closing day with their version of pond skimming — the Breck Plunge. Participants wear zany costumes, try their best to not fall into the water and are cheered on by excited crowds. Breckenridge kindly asks those who dress up to keep it tasteful, as it’s a family affair. Live music, drinks and food will also make an appearance, rounding out the festivities and leaving a good memory in our minds as we head into the summer season.