Free skiing at Crested Butte, cookies at Beaver Creek, opening-day festivities to be thankful for

Crested Butte Mountain Resort marks its fiftieth birthday on Wednesday with a throwback nod to its old Ski Free promotion: Stop by the CB Adventure Center to pick up a free lift ticket, then jostle for first-chair bragging rights when the lifts start turning at 9 a.m. Stop by the Butte 66 deck for birthday-party games starting at 11 a.m., including Hot Potato Ski Boot, Limbo, Musical Chairs and Ski Pole Piñata. Wednesday is also opening day at Beaver Creek, where the gondola, four chairlifts and six surface lifts will be serving 11 trails. Head for Beaver Creek Plaza at 2 p.m. to help judge the annual World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition. Steamboat celebrates its annual Scholarship Day on Wednesday with $25 opening-day lift tickets benefiting the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Scholarship Fund as the resort heads into its 49th season. And it's Donation Day at Telluride Ski Resort, where a $25 donation to the Telluride Ski & Snowboard Club will get you on the mountain a day before the official opening day on Thanksgiving Celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday with opening-day festivities at Telluride or Aspen Mountain, and skip Black Friday hell to spend opening day at Purgatory or throw down on the rails in Copper Mountain's annual Leftover Yam Jam and pop into Copper's 22-foot superpipe, the first Olympic-sized pipe of the season.

For more on what's happening on the slopes this season, check out The Edge, our 2011/2012 Winter Activity Guide.

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