February is the doldrums of the winter season; the holidays have long since passed and spring break is still weeks away. Sunlight Mountain Resort in Glenwood Springs solves this dilemma by hosting a midseason pick-me-up party: the annual ANB Bank Ski Spree celebration, a weekend-long, action-packed winter festival, scheduled this year for Feb. 8-9.
“Ski Spree is Sunlight’s salute to everything we love about winter: skiing, snowboarding, racing and eating lots of delicious food,” said Tom Jankovsky, general manager for Sunlight Mountain Resort. “It’s a chance for some midseason merrymaking; we tend to get a little crazy and have a lot of fun.”
Ski Spree events kick off on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 11 a.m. with a much-anticipated rail jam competition, sanctioned by the United States of America Snowboard Association (USASA). Part of the USASA Rocky Mountain Series, the event is an opportunity for competitors to accumulate points toward qualifying for the national competition in April. It promises to draw elite athletes from around the region to compete. The rail jam is also a favorite for spectators; athletes wow the crowds and try to impress the judges by jumping, sliding, riding and performing tricks on a USASA-approved course of rails, boxes, pipes, walls and other objects. Onlookers can watch the competition from the comfort of the lodge deck, and those 21 and over can enjoy the resort’s drink specials throughout the weekend.
Even after the competition is over, the festivities continue – this time off-mountain, at the historic Hotel Colorado in nearby Glenwood Springs. The ANB Bank Chili Cook-off heats up the evening as avid home cooks and the area’s many restaurants vie for the title of Best Chili. Throughout the evening, the Missing Link Band keeps the crowd on its feet with a mix of music that includes country, classic rock, southern rock and R&B sounds. The night culminates with a dazzling fireworks display at Two Rivers Park, but the show can also easily be enjoyed from the courtyard of the Hotel Colorado or the nearby pedestrian bridge that spans the Colorado River.
The $10 Ski Spree bracelet required for admission to the cook-off is packed with money-saving value and benefits a good cause. With Ski Spree bracelets, visitors can sample and vote for their favorite chili, save $10 on lift tickets at Sunlight and receive discounts at participating local business throughout the weekend. The proceeds benefit Sunlight’s learn-to-ski programs for children. Bracelets are available for advance purchase in Glenwood Springs at Sunlight Mountain Resort, Sunlight Ski and Bike, the Hotel Colorado, the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association and ANB Bank.
On Sunday, Feb. 9, the main event is the Need-for-Speed competition, which starts at 11 a.m.; it’s a challenge to see who can clock the fastest time down Sunlight’s Joslin run. The race is open to all who wish to compete.
When it comes time for turning in for the evening, plan ahead by booking a Sunlight Ski Swim Stay package, available during the Ski Spree weekend and throughout the season. Considering that lift tickets alone at resorts like Aspen and Vail can cost as much as $139, Ski Swim Stay packages offer skiing families outstanding and unbeatable value. Packages start at just $99 and bundle a lift ticket at Sunlight Mountain and admission to the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool with a stay at one of several participating lodges. Plus, kids 12 and younger ski free with a paying adult (some restrictions apply). To book a Ski Swim Stay package or for more information about Sunlight Mountain Resort, please visit www.sunlightmtn.com.
The Sunlight Inn, located at the base of the mountain, is offering its own variation of the popular package: a Ski and Stay package that starts at $105 for adults and $95 for children and includes a lift ticket, lodging and continental breakfast. Packages are based on availability. To make reservations for this package, please call 970-945-5225.