Nick Roma, front, who runs terrain parks for Steamboat Ski Area, and Brandon Harrison set up a ramp for the Red Bull Buttercup. The Buttercup, a snowboarding competition for all levels, will take place all day Friday at the base of the mountain. Practice will begin at noon, with the qualifying runs slated to start at 1 p.m.

Photo by John F. Russell

Nick Roma, front, who runs terrain parks for Steamboat Ski Area, and Brandon Harrison set up a ramp for the Red Bull Buttercup. The Buttercup, a snowboarding competition for all levels, will take place all day Friday at the base of the mountain. Practice will begin at noon, with the qualifying runs slated to start at 1 p.m.

Closing weekend activities at Steamboat Ski Area get started today

2010-11 ski season wraps up Sunday with free concert

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Springalicious schedule

Friday

10 to 4 p.m. Red Bull Buttercup

3 p.m. to dusk Coca-Cola Adventure Zone activities

Saturday

10 a.m. Cardboard Classic judging

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Coca-Cola Adventure Zone Activities

11 a.m. 31st annual Cardboard Classic race

Sunday

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Coca-Cola Adventure Zone activities

1 p.m. Fourth annual Splashdown Pond Skim

2 p.m. Bud Light Rocks the Boat free concert — Katchafire opening for The Wailers

2:30 p.m. Bashor and Morningside lifts close

3 p.m. Burgess Creek, Storm Peak Express, Sundown Express and Sunshine Express lifts close

3 p.m. Thunderhead and Rendezvous facilities close

3:15 p.m. Christie Peak Express, Thunderhead Express and the gondola close

photo

Chris Simpson cooks burgers on the deck of the Bear River Bar & Grill on Thursday afternoon. Spring conditions drew plenty of skiers to the base as crews began preparing for several events this weekend that will mark the end of the ski season in Steamboat.

— Closing Day isn’t a day you just show up for.

Many local skiers and riders plot out elaborate games for Sunday, the final day of the season at Steamboat Ski Area. Some make a list of their “must hit” runs. And many dress up for the occasion.

Cathy Wiedemer said she’s considering breaking out an old Spyder race suit from the late 1980s, sure to be one of the more tame costumes on a day that seems to encourage outfits of all varieties.

Longtime local Bill Paul hasn’t been preparing for the end of the season for a day or even a week. He’s been preparing for months.

“The mullet,” he said, pointing to the mop of gray hair on his head — short up front, long in the rear. “That’s for Closing Day.”

With speed suits and mullets, cardboard crafts and water-defying tactics, Steamboat will ring in the end of the season this weekend with an array of activities.

Saturday’s festivities will be highlighted by the 11 a.m. Cardboard Classic while Sunday will feature the annual Splashdown Pond Skim competition and a pair of concerts that will rock well into the afternoon.

The best way to celebrate the events depends on whom you ask. Most agree it involves as many friends as can be gathered.

“We try to get as big a group as we can and just have fun,” skier David Lamb said. “Last year, we made it a point to ride every lift on the mountain. Granted, it might not be pushing your abilities, but you’re out there, seeing parts of the mountain you might not have seen the whole year. It’s fun to do.

“We were talking about getting those ski bikes and messing around with those this year.”

Lamb said his last day to-do list includes a drop down the cliffs between Chutes 2 and 3.

Harry Martin, meanwhile, said North St. Pat’s is a must on Closing Day.

North St. Pat’s and the rest of the hike-to runs are popular on Closing Day for several reasons. While temperatures are expected to rocket above 50 degrees and snow and rain mixes could spoil some things, the weather is least likely to mess up the still-super-deep terrain high on the mountain.

The area also is home to late-day parties, though ski area spokeswoman Loryn Kasten discouraged people from hanging out up high after the lifts have closed.

“We want people to celebrate down at the base where it’s safe and there’s a celebration we’ll all be participating in,” she said. “When people are up there after we’ve closed, it’s a dangerous situation. If something happens, ski patrol is not up there anymore.”

That may not be an issue with a full afternoon of activities ready at the base area. The Pond Skim competition is set for 1 p.m. It will be followed by the Bud Light Rocks the Boat free concert from Katchafire at 2 p.m. followed by a performance by The Wailers.

Lifts will close about 45 minutes early, meaning the last trip up the gondola should be at about 3:15 p.m. Christie Peak Express will run until about 3:45 p.m.

What to hit on that very last run is a debate, too. Heavenly Daze to See Me will be popular. Some are figuring on one last blast down upper and lower Valley View.

Wiedemer, like many others, said she and her husband, Glenn, plan to make the last run take as long as possible.

“We’re going to get maximum vertical,” she said about her plans for the day. “Last year, we hiked to the top of Storm Peak and then worked our way down, then it’s another season in the books.”

— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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