Spring skiing is all about bikinis, beer and wackiness

Adoree Faul of Boulder races to the podium after learning she finished third Saturday, March 16, 2013, during the Eenie Weenie Bikini Contest at Copper Mountain. Photo by CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE

SUMMIT COUNTY • Adoree Faul strapped into her snowboard and zipped downhill with fists triumphantly in the air, as the crowd of hundreds roared its approval.

They weren’t cheering her riding ability.

Clad only in a tiny bikini, she spent more than a half-hour shivering in the cold March mountain air, waiting for her shot in the Eenie Weenie Bikini Contest at ski area Copper Mountain, held Saturday for the first time in six years.

“It was so freezing cold up there, but I had whiskey, so it’s all good,” she said after the run, which earned her third place.

More photos from the contest.

While the weather is mild on the Front Range and there’s a touch of green on the landscape, ski season continues in the high country. Sure, the snow might be slushier and the powder days less frequent as March turns to April, but that’s not what spring skiing is all about.

Just ask Faul.

“Spring is all about bikinis and snowboarding,” she said. “And alcohol.”

Call it the “silly season” in ski country, when warm weather brings out costumes and bathing suits, and the aprés-ski party often begins before the first run of the day.

From partying on “the beach” at Arapahoe Basin to kayak races on snow at Monarch Mountain, there’s still plenty of fun to be had before the lifts close at most areas by mid-April.

Begun in the 1980s, Copper Mountain’s ski bikini contest became known as the bawdiest, covered by national publications including Rolling Stone magazine, until it ended after 2006, when it became a little too rowdy and competitors showed a little too much skin.

“It needed a rest and we brought it back for our 40th anniversary this year — and we’ll see where its future lies,” resort spokeswoman Austyn Williams said.

Competitors were judged on “creativity” and “flair;” judges selected from Colorado media outlets were free to interpret the criteria however they wanted.

A Viking, a bumblebee, a penguin and a cowgirl all took part, but to judge by who won, showing the most skin seemed to be the ticket to success.

The top winners among the women were the “Riverdance Crew,” who, clad in green bikinis for St. Patrick’s Day, did a hastily rehearsed dance to “Gangnam Style.”

They had a choice of a season pass or $350.

“We’re just going to take the cash. We can buy more whiskey,” said the group’s “choreographer,” who didn’t give her real name.

Frisco skier Greg Westerwick, in a cowboy hat, bikini and little else to go with his skis and poles, skis that way even when ski passes and cash aren’t on the line.

“This is my outfit for skiing — when it starts getting warm anyway,” he said.

Here are some other spring events in ski country:

Spring Fever, weekends through April 14, Breckenridge

Breckenridge sends ski season out with a bang, with a monthlong celebration. Catch free concerts by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones on April 6, the Dirty Heads on April 7, 3Oh!3 on April 13 and Matisyahu  on April 14. Other highlights include the March 30 scavenger hunt and the April 13 Imperial Challenge race, a deranged triathlon that has people racing bikes to the mountain, then lift-hopping and hiking up the hill and finally skiing down.

More information: breckenridge.comKayaks on Snow, April 6, Monarch Mountain

A lack of snow forced Monarch to cancel its well-known spring event last year, but hopes are high the kayaks will race in 2013. It’s as fun to watch as it is to ride down the course featuring berms, banks and bumps, ending in an icy pond.Entry fee is $10 to race.

More information: skimonarch.comClosing weekend concerts and Slush Cup, April 6-7, Keystone

Summit County ski area Keystone has a weekend of competitions and a free concert by Robert Randolph and the Family Band on April 6. Don’t miss the Slush Cup on the morning of April 7, and the first-ever Schlittentag race that afternoon, in which teams of three ride down the hill and over jumps on homemade sleds.

More information: keystoneresort.comSpring Back to Vail, April 12-14, Vail

Colorado’s largest ski area closes the season with free concerts by O.A.R., Sublime with Rome and Jimmy Cliff, and the World Pond Skimming Championships on Sunday afternoon.More information: vail.comSunsation, April 13-14, Copper Mountain

It’s all about wild competition over closing weekend at Copper Mountain, with the Red Bull SlopeSoakers inner tube pond-skimming competition Saturday, followed by live music, and the CopperMan obstacle course Sunday, with more musical entertainment.

More information: coppercolorado.com

Springtopia, April 20-21, Winter Park

Winter Park offers free concerts by Julian Marley & the Uprising on Saturday and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe on Sunday. There’s also the Spring Splash obstacle course and pond-skimming contest Sunday. Though Winter Park stays open a week later than most other resorts, don’t be fooled. The water is still cold.Corn Harvest Benefit Ski Party, April 27, Loveland

This benefit raises money for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Hawaiian shirts are encouraged and registration includes a lift ticket, lunch, raffle tickets for prizes and beer from New Belgium. If the snow sticks around, you can come back the following weekend for closing day, May 5.Festival of the Brewpubs, May 26, Arapahoe Basin

It’s always a roll of the dice when A-Basin will close. It was July 4 weekend two years ago and early May in 2012. It all depends on the snow. But this beer festival goes on regardless. Enjoy music, beer from Summit County breweries and other wackiness. If you can’t make it, the famous “beach” at A-Basin, where parking lot meets the snow, is always rocking in April and May.

Tips for spring skiing• Unless it’s a powder day, eat a late breakfast and ski from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., after the snow softens from ice but before it turns to slush.• Start with east-facing aspects and move on to west-facing runs as the day progresses.• We can’t say it enough and you can’t do it enough: Wear plenty of sunscreen to protect your skin from the high sun angle.• Ski with a hydration pack or take plenty of water breaks, as you will sweat in your ski gear.• Resist the urge to ski in shorts or a T-shirt before May. It might be warm at the base of the lift, but it’ll be a different story up on the mountain.• A slushy patch can slow you and throw you from your skis. Keep a balanced stance, with equal weight on each ski, to cope with variable conditions.• Wear layers, rather than one thick jacket, so you can shed clothes as the day heats up.• Wax, wax, wax. A spring wax, as opposed to a cold-weather wax, will help your skis or snowboard glide through the mushier snow.

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