Talk about your frosty al fresco. Folks in laid-back Crested Butte will bundle up tonight against the midwinter Rocky Mountain twilight, ski along luminaria-lit trails from bonfire to bonfire and sample some of the finest offerings from the town's best restaurants. It's called the Progressive Bonfire Dinner, and "it's really a kind of Taste of Crested Butte," says Karina Steele, who organizes the event as a fundraiser for the Crested Butte Nordic Center.
The whole tour -- four bonfires, four courses -- begins at 5:30 and takes about an hour. That may be too quick a hit for a four-hour road trip from the Front Range, but when you consider that the dinner is just part of the Butte's annual Winter Carnival, you may want to book a room for the whole weekend. That way, you'll have a chance to haul out the white bell-bottoms for the disco ice-skating party, or cringe at crazies on skis hauled behind snowmobiles as they launch themselves off jumps in the "Big Air" competition on the main drag, Elk Avenue.
Steele swears the attractions are worth the trip. "Are you ever going to get a chance to do anything like this in Denver?" Nope: We have no-burn laws here. You could get arrested for having that much fun.
The Nordic Center is at 620 Second Street in Crested Butte, and it's easy to find. "You'll see the bonfires from the road," Steele says. Call 1-970-349-1707 for Bonfire Dinner reservations, which are required; admission is $20 for adults, $10 for kids. For more information, log on to www.cbnordic.org; the town's chamber of commerce, at www.crestedbuttechamber.com, is a good starting point for lodging info. You'll have to find your woollies on your own, though. -- Hart Van Denburg
Get outside with DIVAS
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Outdoor DIVAS, a Boulder outdoor-gear and apparel store that sells merchandise designed specifically for women, is accepting registration for courses to be offered in February. Classes include DIVAS Rock, an indoor rock-climbing class; DIVAS Hit the Pool, an introduction to whitewater kayaking; and Rolling DIVAS, a class on how to roll a kayak. "We want to provide an educational place, where women can find good gear and then learn how to use it all under one roof," says Jen Brick, director of educational events for Outdoor DIVAS. "Our main focus is to introduce local women to new outdoor sports and get them outside and having fun."
Outdoor DIVAS also sponsors a monthly rock-climbing club, snowshoe tours and lectures with professional athletes. Classes and events are held at several Boulder locations, and pre-registration is required. Prices range from $15 to $119.
"We want to provide women with a safe environment where they can feel comfortable testing their limits," says Brick.
Outdoor DIVAS is at 133 Pearl Street in Boulder. For further information, call 303-449-3482. -- Julie Dunn