Take that, groundhog: Colorado resorts extend winter ski season as spring snow piles up

Spring skiing and snowboarding is alive and well in Colorado, thanks to new snow this week and heavier-than-usual totals since January 1, and several ski areas have already announced extended seasons to make the most of it. Aspen Mountain, originally scheduled to close on April 20, announced on Thursday that it will re-open for the weekends of April 26-27 and May 3-4. "We figured since we opened early we might as well stay open late," writes Rich Burkley, vice president of mountain operations for Aspen Skiing Company. "Conditions are just too good not to go skiing." Copper Mountain, also slated to close out its season on April 20, will re-open April 25-27. And Breckenridge has so much snow that it's staying open a full extra week, through April 27. With new snow at every ski area in Colorado, we've compiled a list of this weekend's best events for making the most of it.

See also: Best of Denver 2014 Sports & Recreation

Girls to the front! On Saturday some of the world's best female snowboarders will be competing for the Community Cup, a 5-Star World Snowboard Tour Big Air invitational in the A51 Terrain Park. There's also a base area bash and sponsor village at River Run, including performances by Paper Bird and Jeff Brinkman. And -- bonus spectacle -- Keystone is also hosting the Red Bull Schlittentag sledding competition on Saturday.

The future's so bright, I've got to wear goggles! For a sneak peek at the next generation of ski and snowboard competitors, check out the United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association USASA National Championships at Copper Mountain, which started last week and continue through April 9 with slopestyle, halpipe, and snowboardcross, and skicross racing. Duly inspired, ladies? Sign up for the Roxy Girls Ski & Snowboard Camp the following weekend, April 12-13, for a Woodward Winter Camp that includes tumbling, trampoline and foam-pit sessions at Woodward at Copper's indoor facility as well as on-mountain training in the terrain parks.

Surf's up! Steamboat's Springalicious Festival brings out the occasional bikini-clad pirate if the weather's right, but this year's party might be more powdery than slushy (not that that's a bad thing). This weekend's festivities include a free concert with Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and a Fire & Pow Luau on Sunday to complement the Toes on the Nose Surf Jam. The 7th annual Splashdown pond-skimming competition is the following weekend, on Sunday April 13. Butterfly stickers everywhere! If your spring breakers skew a bit younger, Saturday is Kidfest at Monarch Mountain for the 10-and-under set, with a kids' terrain park challenge, face painting, interactive snow sculptures and a hunt for Monarch's signature butterfly stickers. Monarch's last hurrah is next weekend, with the must-see annual Kayaks on Snow event on April 12 and a closing day bash on April 13.

Try next season's skis, now! Sunday is closing day at Loveland Valley, but Loveland Basin is open through May 4 and the snow is so good you might want to try out some new powder planks at Saturday's Spring Fling Demo Day, featuring skis from Colorado brands Icelantic, Meier Skis, Ski Logik and Rocky Mountain Underground.

Furries of the world, strap in! Breck's Spring Fever festivities are in full swing, and this weekend's events include an EpicMix Scavenger Hunt and Spring Fever Beer Festival on Saturday, as well as Riperoo's Mascot Olympics on Sunday.

Synchronized shredding! The Highnoon Duel at Winter Park on Sunday pits teams of two or four snowboarders against each other in a rider-judged event in the Dark Territory terrain park. Registration ($10 per person) begins at 8 a.m., with practice beginning at 10 a.m. The duel begins -- when else? -- at high noon.

Closing time! While the season may have been extended at several local ski areas, Ski Cooper is sticking to its schedule: If closing day parties are your thing, head there on Sunday. Road-tripping? This is also the final weekend for the season at Sunlight Mountain, Powderhorn, Telluride, Durango Mountain Resort at Purgatory and Wolf Creek -- ten inches of new snow this week notwithstanding.

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Colin Bane
Contact: Colin Bane