If you're looking to try something new, this is the weekend for you: January is Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month and Winter Trails Month, it's been dumping in the mountains and there are more camps, demos and competitions this weekend than you can shake a snowboard at. Here are a bunch of good reasons to get out of town and push your limits a little bit...
Camp out! The Breckenridge Ski & Ride School is hosting its two-day Rocky Mountain Freestyle Park & Pipe Camp this weekend for intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders, with small-group instruction in the Peak 8 terrain parks and 22-foot superpipe.
No boys allowed! Woodward at Copper hosts its first of three Women's Camp Days this weekend in partnership with SheJumps.org and Gnu team riders Terri Mayrer and Sandra Hillen. The one- or two-day camps start with indoor training sessions on the tramps, foam pits and Snowflex terrain park in The Barn, then move to the mountain (terrain park session on Saturday, halfpipe session on Sunday) for coaching, video re-plays and a chance to hit the Woodward Airbag jump and try something crazy. This weekend is also the start of the 2011 Chicks With Picks women's ice climbing clinics at the Ouray Ice Park, if you're looking to get even farther away from Denver.
Go pro! The Gatorade Free Flow Tour amateur ski and snowboard series comes to Vail on Saturday at 9 a.m., where riders 21 and under will compete in Superpipe and Slopestyle for a chance to face off against the pros on the Winter Dew Tour. Follow in the tracks of Torin Yater-Walace, the 15 year-old kid from Basalt, Colorado, who won a spot on the Dew Tour as last year's Free Flow Tour ski champ and finished in 5th place last month in the Nike 6.0 Open Men's Ski Superpipe competition at Breckenridge.
Trophy trot! In other contest news, Winter Park is hosting the Vans King of the Grommets kids' contest on Saturday (registration begins at 8 a.m.), there's an Open Rail Jam in Rustler's Park at Powderhorn on Saturday at noon and Copper Mountain's Krahooligan Cash Cow boardercross races are on Sunday and Monday (riders' meeting and bib pickup on Saturday) with a $10,000 prize purse.
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Sköl's out for the winter! Aspen's 60th annual Wintersköl celebration is this weekend, with snow sculpture competitions, a soup cook-off, après ski parties and on-mountain events like the Apple Strudel Downhill race (all competitors get a free apple strudel and a drink at the finish line), the 7th annual Hike for Hope uphill race at Buttermilk, and skijoring clinics (learn to let your dog do some of the work for you when you're out Nordic skiing). These snowshoes were made for walkin'!
The Estes Park Winter Festival runs January 14-17, and the main event is the 16th annual Winter Trails event in Rocky Mountain National Park, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with free snowshoe demos and clinics on everything from winter ecology to igloo-making. Afterward, head back to town for an ice castle, ice maze and ice playground for the kids in Bond Park, plus drink samples from Colorado breweries and wineries for the adults.