Ski area extends free invite to schools

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— Students, faculty and staff at public and private schools in much of Northwest Colorado are invited to ski and snowboard free during closing weekend at the Steamboat Ski Area this Saturday and Sunday.

The offer is being extended to students and employees in elementary, middle and high schools in Steamboat Springs, Craig, Hayden, Meeker, Rangely, Oak Creek, Walden, Yampa and Maybell, ski area spokeswoman Heidi Thomsen said.

"This is the 10th season the resort has offered free skiing and riding for local schools at the end of season," Chris Diamond, president of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., said in a news release. "This program enables students, faculty and school employees to try firsthand the sport of skiing or snowboarding absolutely free. We want every student in the Yampa Valley to have the opportunity to give the sport a try during this record-breaking season."

Steamboat had reached 480 inches of snowfall as of Tuesday morning.

Students, faculty and school employees simply check in at the main ticket office to pick up their lift tickets. Proof of enrollment is required, so students need to bring a copy of their report card or other appropriate enrollment documentation. Proof of employment is required for faculty and school employees.

Family members who want to join their student can purchase daily lift tickets for $43. Students and family members must pick up their tickets at the same time.

The Steamboat Ski Area will close for the 2007-08 season Sunday with the inaugural Springalicious festival, which begins Saturday.

Upper-mountain lifts will start closing at 3 p.m., with lower-mountain lifts closing at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

The 28th annual Cardboard Classic and the new Splashdown Pond Skimming Competition will be the cornerstone events for the Springalicious festival. It also features free concerts by American Relay, The Radiators and Susan Tedeschi. The Cardboard Classic will celebrate its 28th year of homemade cardboard racing crafts. Entries will be limited to 50, and there is a $10 per craft entry fee that will be donated to Yampa Valley Recycles.

The pond skimming competition will feature skiers and riders attempting to cross an ice-cold pond at the base of the mountain while being judged on distance, outfit creativity and crowd response. Pond skimming entries will be limited to 75 people with a $25 entry fee.

Registration is under way for both events at the Information Center in Gondola Square.

A children's Jib Jam featuring a variety of small park features begins at 3:15 p.m. Sunday.

- Information provided by the Steamboat Ski Area

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