Boredom surely not on tap this winter for county
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As the longest night of the year approaches, Grand County’s citizens are preparing for the long cold winter and marking their calendars with all the events on tap for the coming months.
Here are some of the highlights.
U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association Freestyle Mogul Selections
Winter Park Resort will welcome the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association for the freestyle mogul selections again this year, inviting competitors from all over the country to make their case for the U.S. Ski Team.
The event takes place on the Ambush trail which is clearly visible from the base of the mountain, creating an excellent spectator experience for visitors. The event includes several training days, with competitions happening on Dec. 18 and 20. A dual mogul event will take place on the 21st.
Wish Lantern Festival
Enjoy hot chocolate, s’mores and music at the Wish Lantern Festival in Hideaway Park from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Visitors can create a lantern, fill it with their deepest wishes and release into the night sky.
Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade
Head to Winter Park Resort on Christmas Eve for one of the resort’s most beloved events, the 39th Annual Torchlight Parade. Watch a procession of skiers and snowboarders holding torches as they make their way down the mountain, backlit by snowcats forming a Christmas tree. The event will also feature fireworks, a bonfire and Christmas carols.
“Honestly of all the events that we do in the winter time this may be the one that people look forward to the most,” said Steve Hurlbert, director of public relations and communications for Winter Park Resort.
NEW: Winter Adventure Festival
A new event is coming to Hideaway Park this winter, featuring a festive gathering of sledding, human bowling, ice sculptures and snowshoe tours. The Winter Adventure Festival goes from noon to 4 p.m. and will also include holiday crafts.
“It’s a family event with fun activities, crafts and music,” said Catherine Ross, executive director of the Winter Park & Fraser Chamber of Commerce. “There will even be a scavenger hunt. It’s just a great festive time.”
Vintage Snowmobile Races
Winter will already be in full swing in the Grand Lake area when the Vintage Snowmobile races kick off Dec. 30. The Grand Lake race is the first in a series of vintage races to be held across the country this year including a second vintage snowmobile race in Grand Lake, to be held Feb. 10.
New Year’s Eve Blues Show
The Grand County Blues Society is ringing in the new year to the sounds of Too Slim and the Taildraggers, a Washington-based blues/rock band. The Taildraggers will be playing Smokin’ Moe’s in Winter Park from 9 p.m. to midnight where there will be a champagne toast.
“This is a really fun band,” said Eric Mowrey, director of public relations of the Grand County Blues Society. “These guys are characters. It will be a very interactive show and a lot of fun.”
Winter Park New Year’s Eve Celebration
Stop by Hideaway Park for one of several firework shows throughout the county on New Year’s Eve. The event features free sledding, s’mores, hot chocolate and the fireworks kick off at 9 p.m.
Midnight Fireworks Display
The town of Grand Lake will formally celebrate the start of the new year with the midnight fireworks display over Grand Lake. The show is set to begin at midnight as Dec. 31 transitions to Jan. 1.
Brett Dennen Live
Stop into Smokin’ Moe’s in Winter Park from 8 to 10 p.m. for Brett Dennen Live.
Dennen will spend the day snowboarding, and may participate in a pop-up event before his scheduled concert at Cooper Creek. There are only 100 tickets remaining for the show, so interested parties should buy in advance.
“We’re looking to just expand our offerings in the winter time,” said Ross. “We’re excited to work with Moe’s and Cooper Creek.”
Grand Lake Pond Hockey Classic
The Grand Lake Pond Hockey Classic will be held Jan. 20 on the eponymous body of water beside the town. The tournament features a three on three match format with three separate rinks. Action on the ice is set to kick off at 9:30 a.m. Prizes will be awarded for first and second place teams in each division. There will be a beer tent, food and drinks from local restaurants, and live music at Pancho & Lefty’s.
Strap on your boots for the 5th annual Stagecoach Classic at Devil’s Thumb Ranch. Participants will traverse the county from Devil’s Thumb Ranch, through the former Idlewild Ski Area and into Hideaway Park. Visitors can partake in a 15-kilometer tour or a more intense 30-kilometer race. There will be a post-race barbecue and beer garden with live music at Hideaway Park.
“It’s a really fun event and it kind of celebrates a little bit of our past when it comes to Nordic skiing in Grand County,” said Ross.
Three Lakes Fishing Tournament
Considered to be the centerpiece of the winter events season for many local citizens is the annual Three Lakes Ice Fishing Tournament, put on in late January by the Granby Chamber of Commerce. The frosty event draws hundreds of visitors to Middle Park each January and will feature over $18,000 in cash prizes in 2018.
The tournament will take place Jan. 26, 27 and 28 this year. Citizens can register for one, two or all three days of the tournament. Interested anglers can register on the Granby Chamber of Commerce website by going to https://granbychamber.com/events/event/3-lakes-fishing-tournament-2/.
NEW: Winter Park Resort’s Uphill Battle
New to Winter Park Resort this winter is the uphill battle, a race up the Winter Park Territory to different checkpoints and back down again to see who can conquer the mountain fastest.
“We’re trying something different out,” said Steve Hurlbert, spokesperson for Winter Park Resort. “Uphill skiing and uphill access has become such a huge thing in Colorado that we wanted to do some uphill mountaineering to kind of tap into that excitement.”
Grand Lake Winter Carnival
Grand Lake’s always popular Winter Carnival is scheduled for Feb. 10. The theme for this year’s carnival will be Supers & Toons and the day will feature all of the classic events locals have come to know and love at the carnival. The fun starts early Saturday morning with the tea pot curling event and continues from there. The crowd pleasing bed sled races will be held later in the day and the carnival will be capped off with the costume ball and a fireworks show over the lake that night.
Ranch2Ranch Cross-Country Ski Trek Fest
The Three Lakes Tournament local Nordic skiers will take to the trails for the fifth annual Ranch2Ranch XC Ski Trek Fest, scheduled for Feb. 10. The annual event is put on the Grand Nordic Ski Club and includes a 12-kilometer cross country ski trek going from Snow Mountain Ranch to Granby Ranch and includes a festival barbecue and live music at the Granby Ranch Grill.
You can register for the event early, on the Grand Nordic Ski Club website, or the morning of the trek in the YMCA Nordic Center.
Participants are encouraged to park in the Mountain Lot at Granby Ranch and take a shuttle bus to the YMCA. The bus will run from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Registration at Snow Mountain Ranch will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Trek organizers are asking any snowshoers who plan to participate to start their trek by 9:30 a.m. to avoid cut off times.
NEW: The Great Cardboard Sled Race
A new event will be featured in Granby this year called The Great Cardboard Sled Race, put on by the Granby Chamber. The event will be held on Feb. 17 at Granby Trails in the Shorefox property in Granby. The event will focus on a team based downhill sledding event but will also include a fat bike race, to help liven up the day. Participating teams will be judged on creativity, team spirit, sled aesthetics and time. Registration forms can be obtained from the Granby Chamber. Registration will begin at 10 a.m. on the 17 with sled judging and inspection held at 11 a.m. The first races of the day are scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m.
Wolford Mountain Ice Fishing Tournament
The town of Kremmling in western Grand County is far more focused on summer events and the fall hunting season than its counterparts to the east but there are still lots of fun activities to enjoy down valley during the darker days. The Wolford Mountain Ice Fishing Tournament kicks off Feb. 17 on Wolford Mountain Reservoir north of Kremmling. Tournament fishing will formally begin at 6 a.m. on the 17 and extend through 3 p.m. After participants submit their catches for weighing and measurement an awards ceremony will be held in the Kremmling Town Square, between 4:30 and 5 p.m. Officials from the Kremmling Chamber said they expect the online registration portal to be up and running by the end of this week.
Wells Fargo Ski Cup
Winter Park Resort will host the 43rd annual Wells Fargo Ski Cup again in 2018, the longest running professional ski race in the country and signature fundraiser for the National Sports Center for the Disabled. The three-day event features three races including the World Disabled Invitational.
The event also includes a two-day silent auction, tubing and the Ski for NSCD Pledge Drive.
Snow Mountain Ranch Stampede
The winter season in the Granby area will begin drawing to a close with the annual Snow Mountain Ranch Stampede, March 10 and 11. The popular cross country skiing event will be held at the YMCA facility south of Granby. Saturday will feature the Stampede’s skate races with the classic Nordic ski races following on Sunday. The 50K races will start at 9 a.m. both days, with the 25K races kicking off at 9:15 a.m. and the 10K set to begin at 9:45 a.m. The event will also feature a free 2K run race for kids 15 and under.
You can register by going to Snow Mountain Ranch’s website at https://snowmountainranch.org/event/stampede-race/ and clicking on the “Register Here” link.
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