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Head for the Hills! Hundreds of Things to Do This Ski Season

This ski season is off to a very fast start, with plenty of good snow and three more mountain opening this weekend. But there's plenty to do off the slopes, too. Keep reading for hundreds of outdoor-related activities across Colorado through the end of the year.

Telluride's runs are sweeter the harder you work for them.EXPAND
Telluride's runs are sweeter the harder you work for them.
Colorado Tourism Office/Matt Inden/Miles

Through December 14: Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix: Freeskiers and snowboarders hit Copper Mountain's halfpipe at this national competition. Free, Copper Mountain, usskiandsnowboard.org.
Through December 15: Hartford Ski Spectacular: The week-long event includes ski, snowboard, curling, biathlon and sled hockey lessons and races for folks with disabilities. Beaver Run Resort, 620 Village Road, Breckenridge, disabledsportsusa.org. NOTE: Registration closed November 1.
Through December 15: Ullr Fest: A big parade, bigger horned helmets and the world's biggest shot ski are the highlights of this winter fest. Most events free, various Breckenridge locations, gobreck.com.
Through December 15: Vail Snow Days: The Head and the Heart and Modest Mouse headline four days of free concerts, bonfires and block parties. VIP packages $150, various Vail locations, vailsnowdays.com.
December 13: Granby Ranch Opening Day: 1000 Village Road, Granby, 888-850-4615, granbyranch.com.
December 13: Powderhorn Opening Day: 48338 Powderhorn Road, Mesa, 970-268-5700, powderhorn.com.
December 13: Sunlight Mountain Opening Day: 10901 County Road 117, Glenwood Springs, 970-945-7491, sunlightmtn.com.
December 13-15: Passapalooza: You'll get access to all four mountains for a mere $59 with a pass from any ski resort in the world; discounted clinics and demo packages are also available. Aspen Snowmass, Aspen, 800-525-6200, aspensnowmass.com.
December 13-27: Game of Stones: “When you play a game of thrones you win or you die:” Luckily, the stakes at this weekly curling series in Snowmass Village aren't as high as they are in Westeros. Fridays, 3 p.m.-5 p.m., Base Village Ice Rink, Snowmass, 800-525-6200, aspensnowmass.com.
December 14: Alley Loop Race Series #1-#3: The first three of five ski races leading up to the Alley Loop Nordic Marathon are open to all ages and skill levels. 9:30 a.m., $10, Crested Butte Nordic Center, 620 Second Street, Crested Butte, 970-349-1707, cbnordic.org.
December 14: Boulder Nordic Sport Demo Day: Try before you buy cross-country gear. 8 a.m., Snow Mountain Ranch, 1101 County Road 53, Granby, 970-887-2152, snowmountainranch.org.
December 14: Demo Days and Skiing with Santa: Demo ski and snowboard gear for free, then join St. Nick on the slopes. Sunlight Mountain Resort, 10901 County Road 117, Glenwood Springs, 970-945-7491, sunlightmtn.com.
December 14: Fun Race: Engage in some friendly (not fierce) competition at this all-ages, all-levels race. 11 a.m., free with lift ticket, Wolf Creek Ski Area, Pagosa Springs, 970-264-5639, wolfcreekski.com.
December 14: Kendall Mountain Opening Day: 1 Kendall Place, Silverton, 970-387-5522, colorado.gov/townofsilverton.
December 14: Tree Lighting: Santa shows up to flip the switch on the area's outdoor lights and Christmas tree. 6 p.m., free, Granby Ranch, 1000 Village Road, Granby, 888-850-4615, facebook.com.
December 14: Venture Out and Family Fests: Leave your hotel room and you'll be rewarded with s'mores, dog sledding, ziplining, and clinics on skijoring, waxing and backcountry basics. Later, the whole family can enjoy fireworks and a bonfire at the base of the mountain. Noon-6:30 p.m., free, Winter Park Resort, 85 Parsenn Road, Winter Park, 970-726-1564, winterparkresort.com.
December 15: Bentgate Ski and Board Demo: Icelantic, Faction, Never Summer K2 and Salomon are just a few of the brands expected to show at this demo. Loveland Ski Area, Georgetown, 720-744-3773, skiloveland.com.
December 15: Grand Nordic Free Lesson Day: Grand Nordic Ski Club offers skating and Nordic skiing lessons for all levels. 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., free with registration, Snow Mountain Ranch, 1101 County Road 53, Granby, 970-887-2152, grandnordic.org.
December 17: Rise and Shine Rando Series #4: Get your blood flowing mid-week with this series of uphill challenges. 7 a.m., $25, Arapahoe Basin, 28194 Highway 6, Dillon, 970-468-0718, arapahoebasin.com.
December 17-20: Rock on Ice: Crested Butte's Mountaineer Square is the site of ice carving demos, an ice sculpture garden and photo ops galore. Free, Crested Butte, 877-547-5143, skicb.com.

Ice Castles gleam and glow at night.
Ice Castles gleam and glow at night.
Courtesy Ice Castles

December 20 (est.)-March: Ice Castles: Wander through a hand-carved ice palace with tunnels, towers, archways, thrones, and fountains. Check website for info, Dillon, icecastles.com/dillon.
December 20-22: Early Season On-Snow Camp: Snow Mountain Ranch, 1101 County Road 53, Granby, 970-887-2152, snowmountainranch.org.
December 20-22: Vail Skating Festival: The slopes aren't the only place you can find winter athleticism; enjoy two free exhibitions on outdoor ice, plus clinics and a performance by Olympic medalist Mirai Nagasu. $20 and up, various Vail locations, vailskatefest.com.
December 21: Hesperus Opening Day: Durango, 970-385-2199, ski-hesperus.com.
December 21: Santa Claus on the Mountain: St. Nick and the old ball and chain will be giving out candy canes while they suss out who's been naughty and who's been nice. 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m., Purgatory, 1 Skier Place, Durango, 970-247-9000, purgatoryresort.com.
December 21-24: Santa's Village: Submit your petition to be moved from the "naughty" to "nice" list to St. Nick while you listen to holiday carolers. Free, Snowmass Base Village, gosnowmass.com.
December 21-March 28: Mountaintop Yurt Dinner: Take a Snowcat to the peak of Cooper Mountain for dinner in a cozy and rustic yurt. Saturdays only, $149, Cooper, 232 Country Road 29, Leadville, 800-707-6114, skicooper.com.
December 22: Holiday Lantern Making and Walk: Start at the Vail Public Library and decorate your own paper lantern, then gather in Slifer Square for live music and a lantern-lit stroll through town. Noon-5:15 p.m., free, various Vail locations, artinvail.com.
December 22: Steamboat Holiday Festival: Santa comes down the mountain not on skis, but on horseback; other fun includes a holiday concert, torchlight parade, fireworks and night skiing. 2 p.m., Steamboat, 2305 Mt. Werner Circle, Steamboat Springs, 877-783-2628, steamboat.com.
December 22: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: What happens when Santa's naughty-and-nice list goes missing? Enter an undercover elf, precocious little girl and rapping mice. 6:30 p.m., $35-$55, Wheeler Opera House, 320 East Hyman Avenue, Aspen, 970-920-5770, aspenshowtix.com.
December 22, 27 and 30: First Tracks: Beat the crowd and be the first to carve up the mountain at this private early-morning run followed by breakfast. 7:15 a.m., $160, Beaver Creek, 970-754-0200, beavercreek.com.
December 22-30: Snowmass Hanukkah: On December 22, Snowmass Base Village will have traditional prayers, food and dreidel games; the Viceroy Snowmass will have a menorah lighting ceremony and Hanukkah treats daily at 5 p.m. Various Snowmass Village locations, gosnowmass.com.
December 22-January 20: Vail Winterfest Ice Theater: Ice art is illuminated while moviegoers perched on seats sculpted from ice watch seasonal movies. Dusk-10 p.m., free, Gore Creek Promenade, Vail, artinvail.com.
December 23: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas: What happens when Santa's naughty-and-nice list goes
missing? Enter an undercover elf, precocious little girl and rapping mice. 6:30 p.m., $48, Vilar Performing Arts Center, 68 Avondale Lane, Beaver Creek, 970-845-8497, vilarpac.org.
December 24: Santa at A-Basin: The Summit Choral Society will be belting out carols while Kris Kringle hands out candy to kiddos. 11 a.m.-1 p.m., free, Arapahoe Basin, 28194 Highway 6, Dillon, 970-468-0718, arapahoebasin.com.
December 24: Telluride Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade: The winter tradition takes over Telluride's slopes.  6:30 p.m., free, Telluride Ski Resort, 565 Mountain Village Boulevard, Telluride, 970-728-6900, tellurideskiresort.com.
December 24: Ski with Santa: Kids can join Santa on the beginner slopes for photos and fun. Cooper, 232 Country Road 29, Leadville, 800-707-6114, skicooper.com.
December 24: Snowmass Chapel Christmas Eve: The 5 p.m. designed for families with children, while the 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. services include a full choir and orchestra. Free, Snowmass Chapel, 5307 Owl Creek Road, Snowmass Village, 970-923-61692, snowmasschapel.org.
December 24: Winter Park Torchlight Parade: Gather 'round a bonfire for warmth while you watch skiers descend the mountain with torches. 5:30 p.m., free, Winter Park Resort, 85 Parsenn Road, Winter Park, 970-726-1564, winterparkresort.com.
December 24-25: Santa Visits Wolf Creek: Be nice and buy Santa a drink: He's tired from hitting so many of Colorado's ski areas in just one day. Wolf Creek Ski Area, Pagosa Springs, 970-264-5639, wolfcreekski.com.
December 24-25: Santa Claus and Silverton Community Christmas Luncheon: Santa arrives at the town Christmas tree at 12:45 p.m. on Christmas Eve; on Christmas Day, join neighbors at a community potluck. Free, various Silverton locations, 970-387-56554, silvertoncolorado.com.

Never have Santa's elves seemed so ominous.
Never have Santa's elves seemed so ominous.
Courtesy Revely Vail

December 25: Ski With Santa: Santa and his elves will be on hand giving out free cocoa and candy canes on Christmas Day. Kendall Mountain, 1 Kendall Place, Silverton, 970-387-5522, colorado.gov/townofsilverton.
December 26: Silverton Mountain Guided Opening Day: 6226 Highway 110, Silverton, 970-387-5706, silvertonmountain.com.
December 27: 10th Mountain Legacy Parade: Gather at Gondola One for a torchlight parade of 10th Mountain Division ski troopers and veterans, plus fireworks, a Camp Hale documentary and an after-hours visit to the Colorado Snowsports Museum.  Free, various Vail locations, 970-754-8245, vail.com.
December 28: Snowcat Dining Excursion: Head up the mountain in a Snowcat for a wine dinner lit by alpenglow. 5 p.m.-8:30 p.m., $150, Purgatory, 1 Skier Place, Durango, 800-525-0892, purgatoryresort.com.
Through December 29: Warren Miller's Timeless: The studio's seventieth film includes appearances by Glen Plake, Caite Zeliff, Jalin Kauf and Baker Boyd. Various Colorado locations, warrenmiller.com.
Through January 2: The Polar Express: Re-create the beloved children's book on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Select dates, $32-$75, 479 Main Street, Durango, 888-872-4607, durangotrain.com.
December 29: Cooper Cup Race #1: On Black Powder. Cooper, 232 Country Road 29, Leadville, 800-707-6114, skicooper.com.
December 29: Ski Free at Kendall Mountain: All ages ski free with no proof of residency required. Kendall Mountain, 1 Kendall Place, Silverton, 970-387-5522, colorado.gov/townofsilverton.
December 30: Audi Ajax Cup: Watch six pro-led teams take on a dual giant slalom course in a race benefiting Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club, then enjoy an epic après party. 9 a.m., Shlomo's, 501 East Dean Street, Aspen, 970-205-5101, audiajaxcup.com.
December 31: Aspen New Year's Eve: With two fireworks shows over Aspen Mountain, both early birds and night owls will be happy. 8 p.m. and midnight, Wagner Park, 419 South Mill Street, Aspen, aspenspecialevents.com.
December 31: Cooper New Year's Eve: Cooper, 232 Country Road 29, Leadville, 800-707-6114, skicooper.com.
December 31: Moonlight Dinner Series: New Year's Eve in the Mountains: Don your fanciest snow gear for a trip up the mountain to celebrate East Coast NYE. 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m., $125, Arapahoe Basin, 28194 Highway 6, Dillon, 970-468-0718, arapahoebasin.com.
December 31: Beaver Creek New Year's Eve: Dancing, DJs, arcade games and a lavish buffet wrap up early so you can rest up for the first ski day of 2020. 6 p.m.-10:30 p.m., $300, Park Hyatt, 136 East Thomas Place, Beaver Creek, beavercreek.com.
December 31: Breckenridge New Year's Eve: A torchlight parade down Peak 9 starts the festivities at 6 p.m. Various Breckenridge locations, gobreck.com.
December 31: Copper Mountain New Year's Eve: The party includes a rail jam, fireworks, torchlight parade, and a special Moonlight Dine & Ski for those who want to ring in the New Year with food and champagne. Copper Mountain, 970-968-2318, coppercolorado.com.
December 31: Crested Butte New Year's Eve: The town's celebration starts with a torchlight parade and finishes with fireworks. 5:30 p.m., free, Crested Butte, 877-547-5143, skicb.com.
December 31: Snowmass New Year's Eve: Skiers and riders ages 8 and up can participate in the torchlight parade at 6 p.m. At 10 p.m., fireworks explode over the mountain. Free, Snowmass Base Village, 970-922-2233, gosnowmass.com.
December 31: Steamboat New Year's Eve: Brave the cold for views of fireworks over the peaks and a torchlight parade, then ride the gondola to Thunderhead Lodge, where you can ring in the new year with a champagne toast and views of the Yampa Valley.  5:30 p.m., free-$60 Steamboat, 2305 Mt. Werner Circle, Steamboat Springs, 877-783-2628, steamboat.com.
December 31: Telluride New Year's Eve: Kick off the night with a torchlight parade and pyrotechnics. 6:30 p.m., free, Telluride Ski Resort, 565 Mountain Village Boulevard, Telluride, 970-728-6900, tellurideskiresort.com.
December 31: Winter Park New Year's Eve: Fireworks, sledding and hot chocolate make for a fun, family-friendly party. 8:30 p.m., free, Rendezvous Event Center, 78821 Highway 40, Winter Park, 970-726-4118, playwinterpark.com.
Through April: Kidtopia: Kids have fun with Keystone's season-long schedule of Santa sightings, the world's largest snow fort, weekly parades and fireworks, avalanche dog meet and greets and activities. Free, Keystone, 970-754-0001, keystoneresort.com.
These listings were compiled for our Winter Guide, inserted in the November 14 issue of Westword. If you know of an event that deserves attention, send information to editorial@westword.com.

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