A51 River Run Rail Series
Keystone Ski Area, often the leader among the bigger resorts in sending that first chair loaded with skiers and riders up the mountain, is offering up booty for its early season attendees in the form of the A51 River Run Rail Series. The first of three rail jams in this series took place on Sept. 15 on a stair set and rails prepped with double-frozen slushy ice (like spring skiing conditions). On Nov. 3, during opening weekend, the second of the River Run Rail Series will once again let competitors vie for prizes like GoPros, Summit Value Passes and entries to the Transworld Transam and Breck Freestyle Competition. Entry fee is $15. Visit www.keystoneresort.com for more information or to enter. (We’re looking at you, girls — while male categories fill in early, female categories often have openings all the way up to competition day.)
Leftover Yam Jam Nov. 23
The 11th annual Leftover Yam Jam is among the earliest rail jams of the season. The competition takes place at Woodward at Copper Mountain and is open to professional and amateur skiers and snowboarders. The event is a good way to get rid of those extra Thanksgiving pounds, so don’t feel bad about that fifth serving of mashed potatoes — or yams, in the spirit of the competition.
Birds of Prey World Cup Nov. 30 – Dec. 2
Designed by Olympic gold medalist Bernhard Russi of Switzerland, Birds of Prey World Cup Race is made for some of the most skilled skiing athletes from around the world. The Beaver Creek event features three distinct races: Downhill, Super G and Giant Slalom.
The downhill race features a steep, 757-meter vertical drop in which skiers will reach speeds of more than 80 mph. The downhill event is followed by another race for downhill skiers, but with more twists and turns. The Super G is a cross between Downhill and Giant Slalom, combining both speed and technical skills. Finally, the Giant Slalom is a technically challenging course with two runs.
Americans Lindsey Vonn, Bode Miller and Ted Ligety will return after earning first place medals last year.
Birds of Prey is held at the Beaver Creek Resort and is free for all spectators.
Ruben Arnold (SUI), Seth Wescott (USA), Emil Novak (CZE) and Markus Schairer (AUT) at the 2011 USANA Team Snowboardcross Cup at Telluride | Photo by Oliver Kraus (FIS)
Ski Cross/Snowboardcross World Cup Dec. 10-15
Telluride Ski Resort will be hosting this event for the fifth year and is the only U.S. stop for the Ski Cross/Snowboardcross World Cup. This will also be the first year both the ski cross and snowboardcross disciplines will be combined into one event.
In a season that will set the stage for the U.S. Olympic Team selections in the following 2013-2014 season, the stakes are a bit higher. The event will feature both individual and team ski cross and boardcross events, which include top athletes from all over the world.
Nearly three quarters of the course is visible from the finish line, which is located in the center of Mountain Village, so you don’t have to ski or snowboard to get a good view. In case you don’t get a good spot at the finish line, the race will also be visible on a Jumbotron in the village.
Lindsey Jacobellis at the 2011 Snowboardcross Cup at Telluride | Photo by Oliver Kraus (FIS)
EpicMix Scavenger Hunt Jan. 5
Chances are you haven’t done a scavenger hunt quite like this. The EpicMix Scavenger Hunt brings together a traditional battle of wits and the technological twist of EpicMix, which is a new app available to skiers and snowboarders at six Colorado resorts. The app allows you to track your vertical feet, see where you rode, earn pins for your achievements and collect points. These features are being put to the test in this new event.
Skiers and snowboarders will use a list of clues to find virtual pins hidden throughout Beaver Creek. Competitors have the option of doing the event individually or with a group of three to five participants. EpicMix also allows you to compete with friends by tracking their progress with yours.
EpicMix is available for free with any radio frequency-enabled pass. The scavenger hunt is $10 per person and $30 per group of 3-5. Participants can sign up online on the Beaver Creek website, www.beavercreek.com.
Sprint Grand Prix Jan. 9-12
The Sprint Grand Prix, entering its 17th season, features a three-stop snowboarding and freeskiing tour that includes Copper Mountain and Utah’s Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort.
The Grand Prix has upgraded to International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup status for halfpipe and slopestyle skiing and snowboarding events at Park City and Copper Mountain, which will make for stronger international fields as Olympic qualifying events.
The event will also feature two new Olympic events: slopestyle skiing and slopestyle snowboarding at Copper Mountain. This will be the resort’s first FIS World Cup slopestyle skiing and snowboarding, with the Spring U.S. Grand Prix held in its Woodward Central terrain park.
Athletes invited to the event include Shaun White, Louie Vito, Kaitlyn Farrington and Kelly Clark.
For more information, visit www.coppercolorado.com.
Ouray Ice Festival Jan. 9-13
Ice climbers and ice climbing enthusiasts are invited once again to join the city of Ouray for a festival that features more than 100 events over four days. The 17th annual Ouray Ice Festival attracts ice climbers from all over the world to participate in an elite ice climbing competition. Professional ice climbers also showcase their knowledge and skills through the abundance of interactive climbing clinics, while beginners are invited to test their ax-swinging skills on the artificially created ice cliffs in Ouray.
A series of live and silent auctions will be held throughout the weekend for a chance to get your hands on some of the latest ice climbing gear. The festival will also include free zip-lining, walk-up ice climbing and, of course, the eating of food and the drinking of New Belgium beer.
For the young (not just young at heart), a kids climbing college is free for ages 8-17.
Snowed In Festival Jan. 11-21
Remember those days when every time snow started to fall to the ground, you spent most of the night wishing for a much-needed snow day? Keystone has combined all of the fun a snow day entails and created ongoing events around the motto “Be a Kid on a Snow Day.”
The event is open to the public and will take place on the three main villages at the resort: River Run, Mountain House and Lakeside.
Make sure to practice your skills for the snowman-building competition and prepare the kids for the boxed sled race. Afterward, grab some food and a cup of hot chocolate and cuddle up in your favorite pair of pajamas for one of many movie parties held throughout the second half of January. The festival will also feature ice skating and a parade on Saturday of each week.
Winter X Games Jan. 26-29
For the 12th season of the X Games, top snow sports athletes will return to Aspen to explore what lies beyond a perfect score. Shaun White says he plans to top his perfect score from the 2012 Games by earning a six-peat in the Snowboard SuperPipe. Torstein Horgmo, who earned a perfect score in the Big Air competition last year with a performance that included a triple cork 1440 — only the second triple seen in the competition — is also expected to return this year. Horgmo introduced the triple in the 2011 competition.
Other events include Ski/Snowboard Slopestyle, Ski/Snowboard SuperPipe, Ski/Snowboard Big Air, Snowboard Street and five disciplines in snowmobiling. The ski cross and snowboardcross events will not be in the X Games this year.