Need a good excuse to get out of town this weekend? Here are our six sweet reasons to head up to yonder hills. Happy (winter) trails to you! Saturday is the 16th annual Winter Trails Day, a national initiative to introduce more people to snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and the joys of winter exploration. The main events in Colorado are at Echo Lake State Park in Idaho Springs (free demos from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), Keystone Nordic Center (free Snowshoe Eco Hike at 1 p.m., rental and guided tour included) and Devil's Thumb Ranch, where they're also celebrating Colorado Free Kids Day (free group lesson, equipment, and trail pass for kids 12 and under). It's also Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month, with promotions for first-timers at every ski area in the state.
Ditch the traffic jam for the Traffic Jam! After sitting in I-70 ski traffic way too much already this season, we're feeling Echo Mountain's F I-70 campaign. You can F it too: Get off the Interstate at Exit 240 and take CO-103 to the 8th annual Echo Mountain Traffic Jam in the Junkyard terrain park (9 a.m. registration, $15 plus lift ticket, ski and snowboard contest starts at 10 a.m.)
Come out, come out, wherever you are! By coincidence, Saturday is also OutBoard.org's Gay & Lesbian Ski & Snowboard Club Virgin Day at Echo Mountain, where you just might meet the man or woman you've been dreaming about sharing a hotel room with for Spring Break at the OutBoard 2011 Gay & Lesbian Ski & Snowboard Week at Crested Butte (March 29-April 3).
Praise Ullr! Breckenridge celebrates its 48th annual Ullr Fest this week, starting with a 1 p.m. ice skating party on Sunday at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena, 0189 Boreas Pass Road, followed by the traditional drunken pub crawl, as the Norse god of winter apparently demands.
Behold: Butterflies! If your little chrysalids are metamorphosing into young rippers as quickly as mine, don't miss Kid Fest 2011 at Monarch Mountain on Sunday, with free activities, face painting, snow sculptures, a kid-sized terrain park, and a meet-and-greet with the ski patrol's avalanche rescue dogs (may they never meet your kid again under better circumstances).
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Buy local! And, last but certainly not least, Sunday is also the Icelantic AT Boards Demo Day at Loveland, the perfect opportunity to see what it feels like to drag artist Travis Parr's fine art canvases all over the mountain.