Colorado Ski Country

Skiing is expensive. Really, really, really expensive. But the fifteen-year-old Fifth Grade Passport Program offered by Colorado Ski Country helps take some of the sting out of it for parents — at least for a year. The program gives three free days of skiing or snowboarding to fifth-graders at each of 21 participating resorts (Vail, Keystone, Breckenridge and Beaver Creek don't participate), for a total of 63 days. And for fifth-graders who have never skied before, there's also a program called First Class that offers one free lesson and rental. And to help parents ease back into the cost the following year, Colorado Ski Country also has a Sixth Grade Passport Program that gives four days at each resort for a total of $99. With all the money you save, you'll be able to afford to buy lunch at the mountain house.

Salvagetti Bicycle Workshop

There's nothing worse than feeling flat in the morning, and Salvagetti, the LoHi bike shop, has the perfect way to pump you up: coffee and parts from a bike-thru window. Bike shop owner Scott Taylor decided to open Happy Coffee last spring as a way for early-morning cyclists to get a shot of caffeine, a tube, a tire, a patch kit or other parts and pieces they need — a valuable service considering that most bike stores, including Salvagetti itself, don't open until late morning. What's next? Taylor wants to open Happy Coffee kiosks around the city. That would be off the chain.

Best Way to Track Your Mountain Exploits

EpicMix

You'd think a day up on the slopes would be all about getting away from technology, but Vail Resorts has developed a program that perfectly marries the fun of epic pow-pow with fiddling with your techno-doohickeys. This season they introduced their EpicMix social-media app, which tracks guests' achievements thanks to RFID chips in all their season passes and lift tickets that are tracked by lift scanners at Vail's five resorts (Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Lake Tahoe's Heavenly Mountain). Then the program compiles and awards virtual "pins" based on peaks visited, lift rides per day, vertical feet skied and other stats that folks can digitally boast to all their pals. Goofy? A little. But also addictively fun.

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