Winter is here and we have had some snow lately to prove it. Of course when it’s cold outside in Colorado, we think of it a little differently than folks in most of the rest of the country do. For …
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Winter is here and we have had some snow lately to prove it. Of course when it’s cold outside in Colorado, we think of it a little differently than folks in most of the rest of the country do. For us it means that some of our biggest playgrounds are open and we flock to the ski areas to hurl ourselves down a mountain with some kind of high tech slabs attached to our feet. If you are a skier or snowboarder you know that the season is about to peak and no matter what obstacles might be out there, it’s time to put it into overdrive.
Obstacles. Well, there seems to be more of them nowadays than there used to be. I mean sub-zero temperatures, blizzards and hurricane force winds have always pretty much just been a part of Winter mountain sports but lift tickets starting at about $80 a day and topping out at $179? OK, now that’s a ridiculous obstacle! Of course most of us know ways to get good discounts on them and there are some really great season pass deals every fall, but sheesh!, when I first started skiing you could get a pair of top of the line racing skis plus boots for $180. A friend of mine and I were reminiscing (That’s what us old gray beards do, reminisce) about how an adult lift ticket at Loveland was $6 with Vail and Aspen selling theirs for $9. I remember hearing our parents saying “nine bucks for a lift ticket? That’s outrageous! Next thing they’ll be over 10dollars!” At that time we were just kids and our lift tickets cost $4. Now you younger people know what we mean by “the good old days.” Then there’s the I-70 traffic obstacle, but at least that one isn’t costing you big money, just giving you big headaches.
But there is another side the winter mountain sports that doesn’t involve lift tickets at all and that’s mountaineering and ice climbing. Sure, you have to invest in some fairly pricey equipment like most sports, but once you have it, then you can pretty much use it for free or for a nominal park entrance fee. Plus we have one of the best centers for mountaineering in the world located right here in Golden. It’s the American Mountaineering Center (AMC). It’s located at 710 10th Street on the corner of 10th and Washington Ave.
In February they have a couple of terrific little film festival type nights planned that are sure to inspire, educate and entertain anyone who enjoys any type of mountaineering. The first one is on Feb. 5, and is called Reel Rock 13. It’s going to feature four films shown on the big screen at the AMC Foss Theater.
Age of Ondra, takes an intimate journey with one of the greatest athletes at his peak. Up to Speed is an in depth look at the little known (in the US) sport of speed climbing which will be part of the 2020 Olympics. Queen Maud Land follows six elite climbers journey to the remote frozen towers in Antarctica and Valley of the Moon, guides you on an adventure to sandstone walls in Jordan.
Doors open at 6 p.m. with the movies stating at 7 p.m.. They will also be serving beer before, during and after the show provided by their partners at Avery Brewing Company. Tickets run $15 and the proceeds go to support Access Fund, The American Alpine Club and Boulder Climbing Community.
The second night of adventure films is the Backcountry Film Festival on Feb. 7. This one is presented by the Colorado Mountain Club and Winter Wildlands Alliance. It’s described as a celebration of the human-powered experience and a gathering place for the backcountry snow sports community.
Winter Wildlands Alliance is a national nonprofit organization that partners with groups like Colorado Mountain Club at the local level to inspire and educate the backcountry community to protect and care for their winter landscapes. Funds raised at each screening stay in the local community to support human-powered recreation and conservation efforts, winter education and avalanche/safety programs and to raise awareness of winter management issues.
Tickets run $12 for CMC members, $15 for non members. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the show starting at 7 p.m. The public event calendar for the CMC website seems to be down as of this writing so for more information about these events and where to get tickets just give them a call at (303) 996-2747.
John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multi-media production. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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