Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Fort Carson Mountaineer

Programs highlight winter wonderland

Photos courtesy of Outdoor Recreation. Ice climbing is one of the activities offered through Outdoor Recreation. Ice climbing weekends to Ouray and Lake City include lessons, gear, lodging and meals.

By Andrea Stone

Mountaineer staff

Winter in Colorado brings a whole new set of outdoor adventures, and Outdoor Recreation is ready. With activities planned throughout the season and equipment available for rent from the Equipment Checkout Center, there’s no shortage of opportunities.

“Since we are in such a great location, we have the ability to offer a wide variety of programs,” said Erin Johnson, Warrior Adventure Quest coordinator.

One of the newest programs is a ski and snowboard tuning workshop, the first of which is Dec. 4.

“You’re going to a ski area for the first time, and you look at your skis and realize (you) haven’t waxed them. This (class) will teach you quick repairs for your skis and snowboards,” she said.

Those who prefer to have their work done for them can visit the Equipment Checkout Center.

“We have full services for tuning and waxing with certified technicians,” said Erina Patrick, ECC and Mountain Post Outfitters manager.

For downhill skiers and snowboarders, there are “Get on the Bus” trips planned most weekends. The program is a combined effort between Fort Carson’s Outdoor Rec and the U.S. Air

Force Academy’s Outdoor Rec.

Trips to Loveland, Monarch, Ski Cooper and Arapahoe Basin are $65, which includes transportation and lift ticket. Other resorts are available, but lift tickets need to be purchased separately through Information, Tickets and Registration, and transportation for those trips is $25. The first getaway is planned for Nov. 23 with a choice of Loveland or Winter Park.

“We’ll deal with the icy roads. You can just sit back and relax,” Johnson said.

Those hoping to get away for an entire weekend have a few options. The first weekend trip is Dec. 13-15 to Crested Butte, and in February, there will be a trip to Wolf Creek and Durango Mountain Resort. The cost is $200 for Crested Butte, which includes lodging, breakfasts, lift ticket and transportation. The weekend to Wolf Creek is $210 and includes two nights lodging, breakfasts, transportation and two nights at the hot springs. Lift tickets are not included.

Jan. 17 is Fort Carson ski day at Monarch. Transportation is free, and lift tickets are $45. There will also be prizes and giveaways.

Backcountry skiing and snowboarding programs are also available.

“(There’s) an evening session learning about avalanche and avalanche awareness,” she said. “The second day, you’re out in the wilderness, skiing and snowboarding in the backcountry all day long.”

“If you’re not one of those (people) who wants to go ski at a resort and go fast, we have the more relaxed trips,” said Johnson. “It’s fun, and it’s so picturesque.”

There are snowshoeing and cross-country skiing day trips planned for January-March. Both activities include transportation and instruction, and rental equipment is available. Jan. 4-5 is the Lost Wonder Hut ski and snowshoe trip, which includes meals and lodging.

There are day trips for ice climbing; the first is Christmas Eve.

“If you don’t want to hit up the masses at the malls, come ice climbing in the wilderness,” she said.

In February, there are ice climbing weekend trips to Ouray and Lake City.

“We’ll teach you how to do everything,” she said. “We do recommend that you at least take the climbing wall orientation class just so you know how to belay, how to tie the knot, that kind of stuff. Other than that, we’ll teach you everything else.”

The indoor climbing class is offered twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays. The cost is $20, and it includes a year membership to climbing walls at Outdoor Rec and Iron Horse Sports and Fitness Center.

There are snowmobile trips planned throughout the winter.

In April, there will be an opportunity to go mountaineering on one of Colorado’s 14ers.

For those who may not have the right clothing, Mountain

Post Outfitters at Outdoor Rec can take care of their needs with a variety of jackets, snow pants, gloves, hats, helmets and goggles. They also sell skis, but they don’t sell boots or snowboards.

“When you sign up for an adventure program, like skiing or snowboarding, visit the ECC and Mountain Post Outfitters and get completely outfitted for your trip,” Patrick said.

For children, 11-16, there are youth camps during winter and spring breaks. For $160, participants can spend three days skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing and ice climbing.

The cost includes all instruction, transportation, lift ticket and snowshoe and ice climbing equipment rental. Ski or snowboard rental costs extra.

“You are in one of the states that has so many different opportunities, why wouldn’t you get out? We’re doing something at least every weekend, whether it be a day trip or a weekend trip … get out and enjoy the winter wonderland that is Colorado,” Johnson said.

More information is available by calling Outdoor Rec at 526-3907 or visiting the Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/FortCarsonOutdoorRecreation.

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