Price: Free, rules and registration are available on website
Skijoring skiers hurtle snowy jumps and spear rings as they’re dragged behind speeding horses on snowy streets at the Crystal Carnival. The event has been the highlight of the carnival — and the season — since 1949, drawing growing crowds and competitors every year to see this modern-day Medieval tournament. Here’s what to expect March 2 to 7 this year:
Separated into three classes, the winter athletes compete for eternal glory in this Scandinavian-inspired snow sport. Originally tethered to reindeer as a way to traverse snowy plains in Norway, the now popularized sport includes a variety of obstacles on a course in Leadville as participants navigate the timed, winter course behind a horse and rider. Gates, jumps and spear-able rings make for a spectator spectacular as the Open Class, Sport Class and Legends Class compete in the annual event in downtown Leadville.
Harrison Avenue Knockout Nordic Sprint
Leadville, CO 80461
Date: March 2, 2012
Hours: 7 p.m.
Price: $3 entry fee
Dashing 400 meters down Harrison Avenue in the annual Nordic Sprint under the lights of the main drag, participants race for cash prizes. Encouraged to bring their Nordic spirit and competitive edge, registration is just before the race in front of Melanzana at 6:30 p.m. at 8th and Harrison avenues. Click here for training opportunities.
Dutch Henry Tubing Hill
One minute south of downtown Leadville on Highway 24
Leadville, CO 80461
Date: March 5 and 6
Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Price: $5 per-hour tube rental/$3 per half-hour. Hill is free.
As the highest and fastest sledding hill in Colorado, Dutch Henry is all-around family fun. Tubes are available for rent or families can bring their own tubes or sleds to this free hill. Leave your wooden or metal sleds at home — nobody needs extra noggin dents — but tubes, discs and plastic sleds are welcome to an afternoon full of heart-pumping fun.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
Date: March 5, 2012 and March 6, 2012
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. weather permitting
Price: $7 per person
Tethered at the base of Dutch Henry Sledding Hill lay hot air balloons ripe for the pickin’. Overlooking the scenic surroundings, watch sledders and see the majestic Twin Lakes from high above the beauty. Drifting silently in the air, the balloons are the perfect way to see the area. Bring your camera for amazing photo opportunities.
Mount Massive Mush
Mount Massive Golf Course
Date: March 6, 2012 and March 7, 2012
Hours: 7 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Price: $20-45 entry fees to participate, free to spectators
The mile-long mush finds purebreds, specialized mixed breeds and shelter dogs snowshoeing and pulling sleds in its 5th race this year. The Shelter Dog Shuffle at 1:30 p.m. Saturday rewards the fastest shelter dogs alongside their American Kennel Club registered purebred cousins in their own events. The Rocky Mountain Sled Dog Club sponsors the annual racing occasion, making Colorado’s own version of the Iditarod fun for the whole family.
After the games, check out Ski Cooper while you’re in the area. With lift tickets for as little as $60, the fantastic slopes and family atmosphere make for a great ski-trip getaway in the mountains without the lofty lift ticket prices.
Chad is an avid globetrotter and brings the best of travel secrets and expert insights to his readership. A Denver-based travel writer and photographer, Chad’s travels have taken him to five of the seven continents in a passionate love affair with the world of travel and the outdoors. His work can be found at Examiner.com.