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Something about November, seemingly every year, makes you wonder if the Colorado winter is coming or not.

The days are still so nice and comfortable. No snow, no ice, no bitter winds from Canada. Hell, it was warmer Tuesday morning in Colorado Springs than in Orlando, Fla.

But the bottom will drop out soon, and we'll turn our attention toward the activities that make our winters so enjoyable. (Or tolerable, depending on your point of view.) To prepare for that, we bring you our annual Winter Fun special, a package of stories and information that we hope you'll find useful.

There's the basic calendar, covering parties, festivals and even the infamous Manitou Fruitcake Toss. On that spread, you'll also find options for season passes at skiing and snowboarding destinations. For those into cheaper fun, we've also got a roundup of the area's best places to go sledding. And because so many choices involve a drive, we provide our experts' suggestions on music to put you in the proper mood.

You even get stories about different ways to make popcorn (with raisins and peanut butter?) and what to do if the flu strikes, depending on the kind of doctor you might prefer.

Don't say it's too early for all this. We've had too many snowy Thanksgivings.

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