Giddyup! Fortieth annual Cowboy Downhill at Steamboat and other ways to bust your britches in the mountains this weekend

Yee-haw! Steamboat's fortieth annual Cowboy Downhill, coinciding with the National Western Stock Show in Denver and featuring pro rodeo stars, is the must-see race of the year and Steamboat's most popular annual event. The party starts at 5 p.m. Sunday with night skiing and six hot air balloons illuminating Mountain Village to mark the occasion, and the race itself is on Monday.

See also: The Edge, Westword's 2013-2014 Winter Activity Guide

Huck your ass, then raise a glass! Durango Mountain Resort's annual two-day Winterfest celebration this weekend ought to be extra festive, as it coincides with the Steamworks Brewing Beerfest at Purgy's from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday. Ready to try some new tricks? Try sending it from a fourteen-foot kicker to the giant fifty-square-foot Winterfest/US Airbag, new this year ($10 for three jumps or $25 for ten jumps). There's also dog sledding, ice climbing, snow tubing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, Nordic skiing and alpenglow snowshoe tours.

Heads up, newbies! Copper Mountain's $199 Ski and Ride University for first-timers this weekend includes three ski or snowboard lessons, lift tickets, equipment rentals, close-in parking and lunch. Still going after all three lessons? You'll get a free season pass good through closing day on April 20.

Disabled? As if! Colorado's been at the center of the U.S. Olympic team selection process over the last two months, playing host to snowboarding and freeskiing events like the Dew Tour at Breckenridge and the U.S. Grand Prix events at Copper Mountain and Breckenridge as prelude to the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. This week we'll get a similar prelude to the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games, with Copper Mountain hosting the International Paralympic Committee's Disabled IPC World Cup featuring adaptive snowboardcross and skicross and slalom competitions, today through January 21. To root for the home team, be sure to cheer for top-ranked U.S. snowboarder Amy Purdy, a double beneath-the-knee amputee whose non-profit Adaptive Action Sports organization is based at Copper Mountain and is backing many of the athletes in the field.

Tips up, college sports fans! The United States Collegiate Ski & Snowboard Association is bringing teams from the University of Colorado, University of Denver, Colorado College, Colorado State University, Colorado School of Mines, United States Air Force Academy, Fort Lewis College, Colorado Mountain College and the University of Wyoming to Winter Park this weekend, January 18-19, for slalom and giant slalom racing. The college crowd ought to make Saturday's Silver Bullet Base Bash presented by Coors Light extra raucous.

Stay safe out there! Loveland is celebrating National Safety Awareness Month with the National Ski Areas Association this weekend with an annual event emphasizing slope safety education and Ski Patrol demonstrations at the base area at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Similarly, Arapahoe Basin is hosting a weekend Skier Safety Village - featuring the A-Basin Avalanche Dogs -- and Breck Safety Week kicks off on Saturday.

Chairlifts? Where we're going, we don't need chairlifts! Powderhorn is hosting Summit Canyon Tele-Fest and Demo Days this weekend, a $100 package that includes an all-day clinic and gear demos. The event coincides with both Saturday's Cosmic Series Devine Incline Ski Mountaineering Race (registration, $35, begins at 7:30 a.m.) and Sunday's free Crazy Uphill/Downhill Race, which adds goofball challenges into the usual mountaineering race mix.

I have a dream, that one day skiers and snowboarders of all ages and ability levels will go as fast as they can together at Wolf Creek! Well what do you know, the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Race at Wolf Creek has it covered. Dreams do come true! Sign-up for the free race is from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the Raven's Nest building at the base area; the race starts at 11 a.m. on the Charisma run on Monday, January 20.

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Colin Bane
Contact: Colin Bane