Spring events at Colorado ski resorts: pond skims, concerts and a kayak race on snow

Spring began Sunday with the vernal equinox and, with April approaching, this is the time in the ski season when skiers and riders look forward to laid-back days on the slopes. The emphasis is on making a few relaxing runs under bluebird skies and then hanging out slope-side, rather than piling up lots of vertical feet. It also means concerts, festivals, goofy competitions and pond-skimming exhibitions.

A month from now, 20 Colorado ski areas will be closed for the season, leaving only seven still in operation: Aspen and Copper Mountain are scheduled to close on April 24. Loveland, Winter Park, Breckenridge and Vail will make it into May (Vail plans to close on May 1), while Arapahoe Basin expects to remain open into mid-June, as usual.

The concerts are too numerous to list here, so suffice it to say that music will be a big part of spring skiing at most resorts. With time running out in the season and days getting longer, here’s a list of other spring events planned at Colorado ski resorts over the next month.

Arapahoe Basin: Celebrating 75 years of skiing, A-Basin is planning three days of special events over the first weekend in April. They will include a sit-down dinner in the 6th Alley Bar & Grill with 1946 dress encouraged on April 1 ($75); a Bump and Bash ’70s-themed moguls event on April 2 ($25 to participate); an after-hours uphilling event called Uphill and Chill from 4 to 6 p.m. on April 2 that finishes with beer and pretzels at the Steilhang Hut ($30); and an East Wall scavenger hunt on April 3 ($25). Plus, there will be apres-ski parties on April 2-3 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Mountain Goat Plaza. And don’t forget pond skimming in June when Arapahoe Basin is the only Colorado ski area remaining open.

Aspen Snowmass: Aspen also is marking its 75th anniversary season, and its annual Spring Jam festival from March 25 to April 3 will feature competitions, concerts and parties. There will be night skiing on Aspen Mountain from 7 to 10 p.m. on March 25-26 ($7.50), plus sunset skiing until 6 p.m.  at Aspen Mountain on April 1. The next day, catch the banked slalom competition at Snowmass. Other activities include a free snowboard clinic for beginners, taught by pro riders and teachers, called Terrain Park Boot Camp. Several concerts are planned, including Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats performing April 2 in downtown Aspen.

Beaver Creek: As part of Beaver Creek Bloom, there will be apres-ski events in the village this week. On Thursday, guests are invited to participate in a glow-worm ski down at dusk, followed by fireworks. Uploading for the ski-down begins on the Haymeadow Gondola at 6:30 p.m. On Friday at 7:30 p.m. there will be a “fire show” featuring performers incorporating flames into their acts, including fire juggling and acrobatics. On Saturday there will be a FunFest in the village including carnival games and prizes, caricature drawings, DJs and more.

Breckenridge: Breck will host its pond skimming event, “Splash into Spring,” on April 30, but unlike other resorts, that won’t mark the end of the season. Breck expects to remain open until Memorial Day. During late-season operations, the ski area will operate across Peaks 6, 7 and 8, with access to high alpine terrain. No beginner terrain will be available when late-season operations begin.

Cooper: Ski with a Ranger informational tours will take place Sundays through closing day (April 17). Learn about tree, plant and animal species from a volunteer U.S. Forest Service ranger, along with stories about the history of Cooper and the famed 10th Mountain Division, which trained at Cooper for World War II mountain combat.

Copper Mountain: The first Jump & Freeze event will be held at Copper’s Center Village on April 16. Skiers and riders are invited to dress up in costumes and launch into a pool of icy cold water — on skis, snowboards or any contraption that would look great crashing into an ice bath — in front of a crowd cheering for epic wrecks. Anyone 18 and up wishing to participate can register before April 3 as an individual or as a team of two or three. Participants will be notified of their selection on April 5.

Eldora: A banked slalom event will be held April 2-3 with contestants riding a luge-like course with $10,000 in prize money at stake. Also, the 10 Barrel Snow Beach Beer Garden will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through the end of the season with live music. Currently, Eldora is slated to close on April 17.

Keystone: The Springtastic closing weekend celebration goes off April 16-17. There will be live music, a rail jam and the return of the Keystone Slush Cup, a pond-skimming event, on closing day.

Monarch: Monarch’s signature event, Kayaks on Snow, will take place on April 16. There will be head-to-head kayak racing on a snow slope with berms, banks and bumps, finishing in an icy pond. The cost to enter is $40. Also on closing day, you can race to the top of the Gunbarrel trail, running up and skiing down. That event is free.

Provided by Monarch ski area

Monarch’s Kayaks on Snow event will take place on April 16, the day before the ski area closes for the season.

Purgatory: Purgatory’s Pond skim will happen on April 3 with music and beer with prizes for best skim, best wipeout and best costumes.

Steamboat: Free weekend concerts until closing day (April 10) plus special events: an uphill/downhill race called Cody’s Challenge (April 2); the 40th annual Cardboard Classic, which features contestants riding homemade snow-sliding creations made from cardboard, glue and tape (April 9); and the Splash Down Pond Skim on April 10.

Vail: On most Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through April 24, live music is planned at MidVail, Eagle’s Nest, International Bridge and in Vail Village, Lionshead Village and Golden Peak.

Winter Park: There will be a banked slalom event on April 3, an uphill race (costumes encouraged) on April 9, a Beach Bash on April 23 and the Spring Splash (pond skim) on April 24.

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