Ski resorts put fun on slopes as season ends |

Ski resorts put fun on slopes as season ends

Greg Griffin
The Denver Post
NEDERLAND,CO--MARCH 27TH 2010--Kimberly Lanaghen, 9, right, hula hoops in the relay obstacle course during "Retro Day," at Eldora Mountain Resort Saturday afternoon sponsored by New Belgium Brewing Company. Skiers and snowboarders were treated to a D.J. giving away prizes, an obstacle course and a retro costume contest. Andy Cross, The Denver Post

Spring on the ski hill has long meant corn snow, short sleeves, parking-lot barbecues and the occasional two-foot dump.

But Colorado’s mountain resorts are giving that image a major upgrade. These days, the final three weeks of the ski season are packed with concerts, food festivals, competitions and family events.

Resorts report that their April calendars are fuller than ever this year as they add new events and improve existing ones.

“There do seem to be more this year,” said Colorado Ski Country USA spokeswoman Jennifer Rudolph. “The Easter bunny will making a lot of runs on Sunday.”

The goal is to attract more skiers to the mountain during a time that is often overlooked by out-of-state visitors, while keeping Colorado skiers coming back too. The events are marketed in combination with lodging and ticket deals, which are abundant this spring as resorts finish off a season marked by moderate early snowfall and skier visits. A series of recent snowstorms has given their final push a boost.

“This is the best time of year to ski, when you consider the kind of snow we can get and the sunshine,” said Breckenridge spokeswoman Kristen Petitt. The resort uses its spring events “to make folks aware of what’s going on here and what kind of conditions we have this time of year,” she said.

Breckenridge added two competitions to its 10th annual Spring Massive Festival. The Breckenridge Ascent Series has three races that involve climbing and then descending the mountain. Breckenridge bills the new 5 Peaks race as North America’s longest ski mountaineering race, with 10,000 feet of vertical and five separate ascents behind and in the resort.

The 18-day festival includes dining specials at local restaurants, Easter weekend activities for families, a beer festival, free concerts and races.

Winter Park has upgraded its spring lineup, replacing its dog-dressing and vintage-costume contests with free concerts featuring Colorado bands. The annual Spring Splash pond-skimming contest remains a closing- day feature.

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