By Margie Arnold
21st Force Support Squadron
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — World-class snow. Outdoor adventures. Lots of laughs and good times. Great company. All are part of the winter wonderland that is SnoFest!
SnoFest! is an annual event hosted by Colorado front range military bases and installations at Keystone Resort, providing participants with world-class skiing and snowboarding, along with fabulous lodging, parties, giveaways, races, a hilarious cardboard derby, sleigh rides, tubing, ice-skating, non-skier excursions and more, all at heavily discounted prices for the military community. It is scheduled Jan. 24-26 at Keystone Resort, and is a rare event that appeals to singles and families, kids and adults, skiers and non-skiers.
“I’ve been to SnoFest three times, and had an excellent time every time,” said Col. John Shaw, 21 Space Wing commander. “As the host for this year’s SnoFest, I’m looking forward to a little friendly competition between all of the front-range installations.”
Shaw, who will participate in the races, is eager to keep the commander’s cup at Peterson.
“Our skiers here brought home the commander’s trophy last year, and we’ll be cheering them on to keep the trophy again this year,” Shaw said.
The event draws skiers from Front Range military installations, and has activities planned for all ages and abilities.
“SnoFest is a family event. I have brought family to the SnoFest event for the past five years now and we have so much fun,” said Michelle Peterson, PAFB outdoor recreation supervisory recreation assistant. “We attend at least one of the party nights hosted at the Keystone Conference Center which is very family oriented; with entertainment, dinner and dancing that makes for a great night out.”
This year participants may notice a few changes in SnoFest. First, Jan. 24, is a dedicated practice day, and racers will get two free practice runs each; the races are on Jan. 25. Second, snow tubing was added as a non-skier activity on Friday and Saturday. Third, cardboard derby participants are encouraged to build their vehicle in advance and transport it to Keystone Resort.
One of the first things you’ll want to do if you’re going to SnoFest is to make reservations for lodging. From a budget priced condo to a luxurious hotel room, find what fits your needs and your wallet. Call 1-800-258-0437 and give your Group Code GC8PRT and your base affiliation. The sooner you call, the better chance you have to get your desired room.
The ski and snowboard races are the heart of SnoFest. That’s what it’s all about. This year the races — Commanders Cup, team, and individual competition, including youth competitions — will be condensed into one day on Jan. 25. Friday has been designated as a practice day and free practice vouchers can be picked up on Friday at the Mountain House from 7-9 a.m. A skier’s or snowboarder’s time in a team competition will also suffice as their time in individual race categories and the Commanders Cup. That makes the practice runs on Friday even more important.
All of the general race information and race registration forms are on www.mysnowfest.com. Competitors can register Friday or Saturday morning, but pre-registration is highly encouraged. Race numbers can be picked up Friday or Saturday morning at the Mountain House. Questions can be directed to Warren Schroeder at 556-8222.
The Commanders Cup trophy will be presented at Saturday night’s party; all other awards will be presented at the hospitality tent starting at 3:15 p.m. Saturday.
What’s a ski weekend without a party?
“We have two awesome, fun-filled theme parties planned. And what makes them so much fun is when the guests come dressed according to the themes,” said Jane Marie Kopycinski, party committee co-chair. “It helps everyone really get into the spirit of it.”
Friday’s party theme is Itza Pizza Party. Think Italian, with red-and-white checkered tablecloths, empty wine bottles as centerpieces on the tables, pizza — lots of pizza — salad, ice cream and more. Cost is $18 for adults, $10 for children ages 5-12, free for ages 4 and younger if not occupying a chair.
Saturday’s party theme is Comic Palooza. Come dressed as your favorite super hero or your favorite comic book character. Come to the rescue; save the day with your costume and your vivid imagination. Enjoy beef stroganoff and vegetarian lasagna, along with salad, veggies and cake. Cost is $25 for adults, $15 for children ages 5-12, free for ages 4 and younger if not occupying a chair.
Face painters and balloon artists will be at both parties. Tickets are available now at the ITT office.
SnoFest isn’t just for skiers and snowboarders. At a world-class resort like Keystone, there’s an abundance of things to do both on and off the slopes. So if you or someone in your group would rather go for a snowshoe hike, tubing or prefer to stay indoors and indulge in a wine or beer tasting, SnoFest has it.
On Jan. 24, enjoy snow tubing from 1-2 p.m. and from 2-3 p.m. or a wine tasting from 3-4 p.m. On Jan. 25, while your friends are racing downhill, explore the outdoors on a snowshoe hike from 10 a.m.-noon or go snow tubing from 10-11 a.m. If you prefer to take the chill off, enjoy a beer tasting from 3-4 p.m. or a wine tasting from 2-3 p.m. featuring a fine selection of whites and reds accompanied by a tray of assorted cheeses, crackers and fruit.
Call 333-7367 to make your reservations in advance for any of these activities. Tickets will not be sold the day of the events.
The hospitality tent will be open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and Saturday and offer just that — plenty of hospitality in the form of a message board, SnoFest badges, free refreshments, and delighted events sponsors.
The cardboard derby is one of the most popular SnoFest events. Picture people piling into vehicles made only of cardboard and duct tape and trying to navigate downhill to a target at the bottom. Some vehicles don’t slide well and might need more than a starting push, while others may take off at lightning speed and fall apart on the way down, spilling everyone onto the slope. It’s excellent entertainment for spectators.
Anyone wanting to participate is encouraged to build their vehicle in advance and transport it to the slopes. A cardboard derby registration table will be available Jan. 25, and participants can get free additional duct tape, if needed, at that time.
SnoFest is open to all active duty, retired military, DOD employees, defense contractors, USAFA cadets and prep school students, Reservists, National Guard, and eligible family members. Outdoor recreation offers an Adventure Trip which leaves on Friday morning and returns on Sunday evening. Contact Mila Love at building 640, phone 556-2116/6447 for information.
For more information about SnoFest 2014, go to www.mysnofest.com.