Julia Mancuso is set to compete in the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championship at Beaver Creek. (credit: Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)
With world-class ski resorts that rank among the top in the world, it’s no wonder that many professional associations also host competitive events in the mountains of Colorado. Part of the fun of living nearby is that you can drive up to the event and see it up close and personal. Many of these events also feature side activities like concerts, product demos and areas where you can meet the athletes. Break out of your winter routine and head up to the hills for one of these sporting events.
Date: Jan. 22-25, 2015
The X Games were born out of the desire of athletes in extreme sports to be able to compete with the best of the best throughout the world. Since 2002, Aspen’s own Buttermilk Mountain has hosted the Winter X Games. This year’s games will be held from January 22-25, featuring popular competitions like snowboard cross, big air and the half pipe competition alongside other events like snowmobile freestyle and ski cross. Admission to watch the events is free, but spaces are first come, first served, so get there early before the venues are full. Patrons can also watch equipment and trick demos and watch live music.
2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championship
Beaver Creek Resort
40 Village Road
Avon, CO 81620
Date: Feb. 2-15, 2015
U.S. skiing superstars such as Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso and Ted Ligety compete alongside top competitors from all over the world in events like the Giant Slalom, the Super G and the Downhill. Fast and furious, this sport is fun to watch for anyone who loves a day at the races. With events being held over a two-week period, there will be plenty of time to get in on the action. Admission is free. Events will be held at the Red Tail Stadium and the event will have shuttles from outlying parking lots to the venue.
VANS King of the Grommets
Winter Park Resort
100 Winter Park Drive
Winter Park, CO 80482
Date: Jan. 10, 2015
Locals and visitors who want to show their stuff on various terrain should register for VANS King of the Grommets at Winter Park. The event features competitors tackling table tops and rails in stylized runs for prizes. This event is open to the public. Anyone is welcome to register but it is limited to 100 contestants, so participants are encouraged to register early. For people who are trying to sharpen their competitive skills, this event makes for fun practice without the pressure of a national event. It’s also fun for those who just want to show off. The resort has plenty of other activities, including a tubing hill, to enjoy after the competition.
0509 Copper Road
Copper Mountain, CO 80443
Date: March 27- April 8, 2015
Fans of pipe competitions and high air will want to check out the USASA Nationals at Copper Mountain in March. Freeskiers and snowboarders from all over the country will come together to compete and see who’s got the best skills. These events are fun and exciting to watch, as the athletes consistently push one another to develop new tricks and take big risks. Copper also has a tiny makeshift tent village at the bottom of the mountain, at which people can enter prize drawings, learn about new products or get something to eat or drink. Anyone who’s ever wanted to witness a half pipe competition in the flesh should mark their calendar.
Burton US Open
Vail, CO 81657
Date: March 2-7, 2015
The best men and women from all over the world duke it out in the half pipe while spectators look on at the Burton US Open. One of the premiere names in snowboarding, Burton sponsors this contest every year, which makes for a fun family outing. Throughout the course of the event, guests can also see live bands and eat at one of many restaurants in town. There are also jumbo screens set up at other areas in the resort, so if you can’t get a spot by the half pipe, or if you simply want to check out more of the action down below, you won’t miss any of the competition.
Alaina Brandenburger is a freelance writer living in Denver. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.