Friday, January 31, 2014

Crested Butte's Super Bowl Spirit

Game? What game? I'm thinking more about the two feet of snow that dropped in the Rockies not who's going to win Super Bowl XLVIII (that reminds me, I still have to enter my friend's pool). I'm guessing I'm not the only skier mulling these thoughts, especially the Colorado ones who could have used what's being called the storm of the season to call in sick with the powder flu.

Think about it:  The Super Bowl couldn't be more perfectly timed with a ski day. Most resorts stop their lifts at 4 p.m. and the kickoff is at 4:30 p.m., mountain time. Plenty of time to ski a final run before dashing into a slope side bar to watch the Denver Broncos face off against the Seattle Seahawks. And extra calories in the bank for more beer and wings that you know you'd eat regardless of whether you skied, ran or did nothing all day. Besides, with all the snow falling, how could you want to leave the mountain early?

If you want to maximize your Super Bowl weekend, one of your best bets is to head to Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) where they're making the most of the Broncos quest for the Lombardi trophy. Over the weekend, you'll find everything from discounted lift tickets for supporting the Broncos to a tailgate party complete with a wing-eating contest and giveaways.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Super Bowl Skiing: Liftopia's Big Game Day Sale

It doesn't take much to convince me to go skiing. When it's cold, snowy and the middle of winter, there's really nothing I'd rather do. Even on Super Bowl Sunday. Actually, skiing before watching the Super Bowl practically became a tradition in my house. My mom, my sister and I would ski at the local hill, but unlike every other Sunday, we'd get better parking, a seat in the lodge for a quick warm-up and nearly no lift lines. Better than watching the Bills lose to the Cowboys...again. 

Apparently we were onto something 20 years ago. "Super Bowl Sunday is one of the best days of the year to get out on the hill," said Evan Reece, co-founder and CEO of Liftopia, the largest online and mobile marketplace for lift tickets and other mountain activities. "You'll find wide-open trails, no lift lines, and great bars and restaurants to view the game when it starts at 6:30 p.m. EST. You might as well burn some calories on the hill before you dive into those wings." 

Pizza may have been my food of choice as a kid, but the pre-game workout hasn't changed much. And Liftopia is making it even more tempting to ski before the big game. On Tuesday morning, the site launched a lift ticket sale that'll make Super Bowl Sunday one of the more affordable days of the season to hit the mountain. With snow in the forecast, it's a hard offer to resist. 

The Game Day Sale, as it's been called, has become somewhat of an annual tradition for Liftopia, and skiers and boarders can reap the benefits at more than 250 resorts across North America. Liftopia's biggest sale of the year on lift tickets has prices starting as low as $19.99, as much as 55 percent off walk-up window rates. Now there's a huge thank you to my wallet!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A New 5K in Town: Charles "Peanut" Tillman 5K

We cheer for him on NFL Sundays, now Peanut
Tillman cheers for runners at his inaugural 5K.
It's kind of hard to get excited about running when it's freezing outside. You don't want to bundle up. You don't want to slip on the ice. You don't want to get all the way to the path only to wish you had your snowshoes instead of your running shoes. You don't want to race in the bitter cold that accompanies a morning start. And even the treadmill is getting boring--really boring. OK, so maybe that's just me and how I deal with this craziness nicknamed Chiberia.

But yesterday my eyes perked up at Universal Sole's announcement of the Charles Tillman 5K coming to Chicago on Saturday, March 8. A new running race and one that's not happening in the always jam-packed summer? It's love at first read. Here's why I'm psyched.

  1. I love new running races--a chance to try something new--as much as I love powder days. Maybe even a little more. While I haven't taken action yet, I'm super tempted to skip a ski weekend for this run.
  2. The race is on Saturday, March 8, at Lakeshore East (update: with a growing field of participants, the race will now start and end at Soldier Field). It has to warm up--even just a little--by then. Right? Let's hope so.
  3. Universal Sole is partnering with the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation to put on this race. If you've been to one of their Burgers and Beer fun runs or trail races, you know you're guaranteed to have a good time--and not go home hungry!
  4. Speaking of Charles "Peanut" Tillman, who's up for the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year honors, he sounds like a class act. I say sounds because I've missed literally every other opportunity to run with him. He also landed the top spot on Huffington Post's 'nice' list to close out 2013.
  5. All of the proceeds from the race will go toward the Cornerstone Foundation, which helps hospitalized children including his own daughter when she was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. Talk about running for a worthy cause. 
  6. Runners might see more than just Peanut Tillman. It sounds like the entire Tillman family will be in tow as well as some other Chicago Bears players.
  7. For me, this race could be my chance to shoot for a faster 5K time, something I attempted to do at last year's Ravenswood 5K--and did for the first mile--until I tweaked something and practically dragged half my body across the finish line (we don't like to relive that race much). This winter I've been running at altitude (a good old 6,000 to 7,000 feet up depending on which path or treadmill I'm tackling for the day) so it'll be nice to run where it's flat and my lungs aren't fighting for air most of the time. 
Go to to get registered and start counting down the days to warmer weather. After all, the temperatures can't get much worse than what we've already suffered through...especially come March.

Photo grabbed from Jeffrey Beall at flickr

Friday, January 10, 2014

10 Reasons to Ski This Weekend...or Any Weekend of January's Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month

Vail, I'm coming to ski you--hopefully as good as I did last April!
There’s powder in the forecast, which means you’ve had a case of the powder flu growing all week. The winter chill that spread across most of the country just after the new year has finally thawed out (hello 40 degrees ABOVE zero in the Midwest after a few days of 40 BELOW zero wind chill temperatures). And while we’re all a little bummed that Lindsey Vonn announced her withdrawal from next month's Sochi Olympics, skiers aren’t going to let that ruin their winter fun. If anything, we’ll just ski harder and take a run or two for Vonn.

If there’s a weekend your skis shouldn’t collect dust in the closet, this one is it. The holidays are over. The resorts are clear of those Christmas and New Year’s crowds. And skiing is mindless exercise, especially on a pow day—we’re starving by day’s end and feel a good quad burn simply by playing in the snow. Need more reasons, concrete ones, to ski in January? Here are 10:


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