Six sick ways to play in "storm of the century" powder this weekend
Courtesy Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Steamboat Springs' legendary skiing band provides the parade soundtrack for the 101st annual Winter Carnival parade on Sunday at 11:30 a.m.
Last week's storms brought the deepest 24- and 48-hour snowfall totals since the 2000-2001 season, prompting Vail Resorts' marketing team to dub it the "storm of the century." We can't argue with that, especially since the snow's been falling pretty much ever since, punctuated with bluebird days perfect for making the most of all that powder. Ready to go get some? Read on.
See also: Get the Edge on winter fun in Colorado
Winter 101! For a quintessential Colorado winter experience, join the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club -- currently celebrating its centennial year -- at the 101st annual Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival, which officially kicked off on Wednesday. The weekend is packed with Nordic races and ski jumping events and demos -- as well as a couple of zany parades and offbeat events -- but the must-see is Saturday's nighttime Winter Carnival Extravaganza at Howelsen Hill, starting at 7 p.m. and featuring torchlight parades, fire hoop jumpers, and a massive fireworks display. A $10 Winter Carnival button is required for entry or spectating at all of the events. Oh, and bundle up and bring your powder sticks: Steamboat had an exceptionally snowy January, has been getting more all week, and has snow in the forecast through the weekend.
Let the Games begin! Keystone's claiming 36 inches of new snow in the last week, making it the ideal setting for a free, all-ages Opening Ceremonies viewing party at Warren Station in Keystone's River Run Village as the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games get underway.
Find a friend! Arapahoe Basin is hosting its 12th annual Beacon Bowl on Saturday, with registration beginning at 8 a.m. in the A-Frame lodge. The event, which benefits the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, includes a beacon search competition and demonstrations featuring the ever-popular avalanche dogs. The timing couldn't be better if you're even thinking about heading out into the backcountry: the CAIC currently rates the avalanche risk across the region as "considerable." Over the course of the day you'll learn how to properly use avalanche search beacons and practice strategic shoveling for the day when you might need it most. Bonus: the $25 registration fee includes pizza and a drink at the Beacon Bowl's legendary après party.
Go deep! And steep! Winter Park just opened its double black diamond Cirque Territory for the first time this season, and it's as close to a proper backcountry experience as you're going to get while still in bounds at a Colorado ski area. Listen for the telltale kaboom of ski patrol doing morning avalanche mitigation on the Alphabet Chutes, then head for the West Headwall. Splurge for the $10 season pass for the Cirque Sled -- new this season -- to save yourself a hike. Winter Park is also offering a Steep & Deep Camp and private guiding in the Cirque Territory, in case you need some suggestions for what to do in that much snow.
Meow! The free Tucker Mountain Snowcat at Copper Mountain loved the latest storm totals enough to start prowling for the season this week. The cat runs from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday. You can ride the same terrain -- some of the state's best in-bounds -- the rest of the week if you're willing to hike for it.
Freeride! Registration is sold out for Saturday's Colorado Junior Freeride Competition presented by GoPro at Aspen Highlands, but you can still post up to spectate from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event, sanctioned by IFSA (International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association), features age divisions for under-12, 12-14, and 15-18, and serves as a qualifier for the IFSA's national events.