Skiers and snowboarders who ventured up to the Snowy Range Ski & Recreation Area to celebrate Easter on Sunday were rewarded with an amazing 11 inches of new snow overnight. Snow fell the previous three days as well, making conditions outstanding.
In spite of all that snow, this weekend marks the final one of the season for the ski area.
As is typical this time of year, ski slopes close not because lack of snow but because of the reduction in those getting out enjoying the slopes.
Snow is also in the forecast through the weekend, which is a fitting end to a season with a sluggish start as it ends with a bang.
Ellie Southerland, director of marketing operations at Snowy Range, said they have plenty of activities planned both today and Sunday to celebrate the end of the season.
“Our theme for the weekend is Snowy on the Range which is a take-off of Home on the Range,” she said. “We’re planning plenty of activities, many with a western theme.”
First off, for those who enjoy a bit of friendly competition, a ski race kicks off the celebration this morning. Hosted by the Snowy Range Ski Club, the race is open to all ages with a $10 entry fee. The course will be run on Little Buckeroo with registration in the ski lodge by 10 a.m.
The barbeque, also on the schedule for both days, is expected to be canceled because of the weather, since snow is in the forecast. Still, there’s plenty going on the next day no matter if it’s snowing, blowing or turns into a bright, sunny day.
As a real bonus for coming up to ski or snowboard on the final day, lift tickets are just $25 across the board Sunday. The exceptions are children younger than 5 and seniors 70 and older who, as always, ski free. Ski lessons are also available for those who want to improve their skiing or learn to ski for the first time — even if it is closing day this season.
First up for special activities is the Western Costume Contest. Those who opt to dress up need to stop in at the information desk where they’ll get their photograph taken. That’s all it takes to enter. The winner will be announced later in the day.
“We had similar costume contests earlier in the season,” Southerland said. “We had an ugly sweater contest for Christmas, and then, in late March, we had the great Big Lebowski day.”
Once skiers and snowboarders have their fill of all the snow on the slopes, there’s more to do in the lodge. Those daring enough can test their mettle on the mechanical bull. There will also be a photo booth, live music and discounts in both the bar and retail shop.
According to ski area co-owner, Aaron Maddox, this season has been a good one.
“We have had a great season,” Maddox said. “We’ve had lots of snow as well as a lot of skiers. We thank everyone for making it such a wonderful season.”
The ski area was one of the first in the region to report having 100 percent of skiable terrain open. Many resorts in Colorado struggled to make it to even 90 percent open this season. At this point, the Natural Resource Conservation Service reports the Upper North Platte basin is at 90 percent of average of snow water equivalent, while the Laramie Basin is at 108 percent of average. That bodes well for the region with plenty of water available as the snow melts, but it also means there’s still plenty of snow a while longer in the high country.
With all that snow and more in the forecast, some skiers and snowboarders might not be ready to hang up their gear for the season. After this weekend, skiers and snowboarders can still head to many ski areas in Colorado that remain open a while longer. The season goes a week longer at Steamboat, where they celebrate the final day with their annual Splashdown Pond Skimming Championships. A similar activity is schedule at Winter Park for their final day April 22.
Amber Travsky earned master’s degrees in wildlife biology and exercise physiology from the University of Wyoming. She runs her own environmental consulting company, as well as a martial arts school. She authored “Mountain Biking Wyoming” and “Mountain Biking Jackson Hole,” both published by Falcon Books. She is the tour director and founder of the Tour de Wyoming bicycle tour, which crosses the state every July.