Racing cars on a frozen lake in Colorado isn’t the safest—or smartest—off-slope activity. But it sure is fun.
Maybe you’ve seen them, on your way to Loveland or Vail—Hummers and Jeeps and Saabs sliding around a frozen lake outside Georgetown, Colo., while placid ice fishers await their trout nearby. And maybe you’ve wondered just what kind of nut drives a car out onto the ice. Well, me. And the competitors who sign up every weekend with Our Gang Ice Racing, which has been running competitions in Colorado every winter since the 1980s. Rookies are welcome; all you need is an all- or four-wheel-drive vehicle, a driver’s license and 20 bucks.
How do you conceal a 13,000-foot peak? Ask Denver skiers, who aim to keep Loveland's steeps and stashes to themselves.
When Will Rice needs a surefire shot of fresh powder and short liftlines, he heads for the glades beneath Chair 8 at Loveland Ski Area. "The snow loads up in there," says the Denver telecommunications salesman, who's been skiing Loveland for eight years. "It's one of the most consistent stashes in Colorado." Better still, Loveland is just 53 miles from Denver, making it one of the easiest mountains to reach when a storm swoops in. "From my office," Rice says, "I can be in the parking lot and into my boots in 50 minutes."
Loveland Ski Area 1,570 skiable acres; 2,210 vertical feet; 400 annual inches; 93 trails plus a terrain park and about 500 acres of above-treeline skiing; 10 lifts, including three quads and two triples. Lift tickets: adults $59; children $24; seniors $44; four-hour Flex Pass $45.
Getting there From Denver, take I-70 West to exit 216. Drive time: 50 minutes. Georgetown, 12 miles from Loveland's slopes, is exit 228 off I-70 West.
Loveland Ski Area in Colorado officially kicks-off the nation's 2002-03 ski and snowboard season Thurs., Oct. 17. The combination of snowmaking, over 12 inches of natural snow and winter temperatures helped Loveland become the first ski area in North America to open for the season.