The Art of Winter, SIA and the Winter X Games take over Colorado

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Recent powder dumps across the state couldn't have come at a better time: This week the entire snow sports industry is in town for its annual SIA Snow Show confab at the Colorado Convention Center and related Mile High Snow Fest events all over town, all the top pros are in Aspen for the Winter X Games, and Something Independent's Art of Winter show downtown is featuring skis, snowboards, and even gondola chairs designed by many of our favorite local artists. Whether you're just visiting or you live here and you're stoked winter's finally upon us, here's a handy guide to the week ahead...

Head for the hills! Whatever else you do this week, make sure to get some turns in on the slopes: Every ski area in Colorado just got a heaping of much-needed snow and there's more on the way. Do some research and pick your poison: We like the powder reports and snow forecasts at OpenSnow.com

Did somebody say powder? Silverton Mountain has more snow than any other ski area in the state -- more than 48 inches this week alone -- and they're also running a two-for-one heli drop special on Thursday and Sunday (usually $159 per run). We'd skip a day on either end of that trade show if we were in town for it: We gave Silverton's helicopter operation Best New Ski Terrain honors in our Best of Denver 2011 special issue after the ski area opened up 22,000 acres of new heli-accessible terrain.

Inspiration strikes! The Art of Winter exhibits around town are part of the Mile High Snow Fest and feature an installation of cardboard gondolas in the lobby of the Colorado Convention Center by Sam Mobley, the Colorado Filmmakers Project (look for outdoor LED screens in the Denver Theatre District), a Larimer Square exhibition of skis and snowboards as canvasses for more than two dozen local artists, and the Brand Gallery, showcasing the work of artists, designers, and craftsmen at homegrown ski and snowboard companies including Folsom Custom Skis, Grace Skis, Meier Skis, Liberty Skis, SkiLogik, Never Summer Industries, Oz Snowboards, Unity Snowboards, and Venture Snowboards.

Ice, ice, baby! If you prefer an even more literal interpretation of "The Art of Winter," don't miss the International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge now through February 4.

X marks the spot! You could watch the Winter X Games from the cozy comfort of your couch, but wouldn't you rather be making powder turns and terrain park laps, riding the lift at Buttermilk with all your favorite action sports heroes, and freezing your ass off to see the Superpipe action under the bright lights while you wave to mom and dad and hope they see you on ESPN? We'll see you there.

And wait, there's more! Also ahead in this busy Week in Stoke...

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