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Bring your Olympic fantasies to life: Five Colorado starting points

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This year I've been going for the gold in the Winter Olympic sports of Fast Forwarding Through Commercials on the DVR, Snorting Hot Cocoa Out My Nose When People Fall Down and Get Hurt, and Falling Asleep On the Couch During Ice Dancing. 

If you've been watching religiously this month and nursing some nagging dreams of hearing the National Anthem in association with your name, here are a few local paths to podium glory worth exploring:

1. Working on your double cork 1260? The United States of America Snowboard Association (USASA) Rocky Mountain Series at Copper Mountain March 6-7 is your last chance to stick it in an Olympic-sized 22-foot pipe before the USASA Nationals, also at Copper, April 4-9. The Rocky Mountain Series will also host a slopestyle competition in Copper's Catalyst terrain park, boardercross races on the Vein Glory BX course, and alpine snowboarding events on Bittersweet. The halfpipe dudes left me behind a decade ago, but I'm thinking of going for it in the boardercross. Who's with me?

2. Chasing after Lindsey Vonn? The American Ski Classic at Vail, March 17-20, is your chance to crash the gates and crash the parties at the annual Pro/Am celebrity event. First you'll have to get a four-person team together to win the Conway Cup community race on Golden Peak on the 17th, and then you'll be riding with the big shots in the Korbel Ford Cup on the 19th. All proceeds benefit the Conway Family Fund. Via the Vail Valley Foundation website at VVF.org: "Some of the greatest names in ski racing history, including Olympic, World Championships and World Cup champions will kickoff the festivities Thursday, March 18, as old rivalries are rekindled in the Volvo Legends of Skiing Giant Slalom competition, followed by a special edition of the Bud Light Street Beat free concert series featuring Cowboy Mouth."

3. Working out? If you're in good shape and do a lot of running, you might find that the transition to Nordic skiing is not so bad, which is why you may have noticed some athletes in the opening ceremony parade representing countries that don't even have snow. The Colorado Cross Country Ski Association presides over a dozen Nordic Centers in the state, and has a busy schedule of events left in the season. To really put your legs (and your lungs) to the test, try the 7th Annual Leadville Loppet, a high-altitude Nordic race with 10k, 22k, and 44k options on the Mineral Belt Trail on February 28.

4. Craving crazy costumes? If those flamboyant figure skating outfits have inspired your inner ice dancer, check out the Fort Collins Classic, March 26-28 at the Edora Pool Ice Center (EPIC). The event, sponsored by the Ice Skating Club of Fort Collins, is sanctioned by US Figure Skating and will feature short program and partner dance events, with Juvenile through Senior divisions. Hurry up: Registration deadline is Friday, February 26, and you'll want to give your tailor time to come up with something kooky.

5. Hurry hard! When you've accepted the agony of defeat of all of your other Olympic dreams, there's always one final refuge: Join the Denver Curling Club. It's the one sport where strategy, communication skills, and a lot of experience doing menial housework can trump physical ability, and it just might be your last great shot at Olympic gold. The DCC's been at it since 1965, long before the sport's Olympic introduction in 1998, and they'll have you sliding and sweeping like a champ in no time.

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