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skiing

Pass the powder
It might be 90 degrees outside, but now's the best time to buy ski season lift passes. Seriously.

Many popular Colorado passes become available at REI and other sports retailers starting in the summer, with prices beginning to rise as early as Labor Day and continuing on up until the slopes open. Here are the best deals for students who can afford to be ski bums all winter, and also for those who just want to sneak in a few powder days while avoiding those outrageous one-day tariffs.

Deeply discounted passes

Summit Pass (formerly the Buddy Pass): $399, unlimited access to Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin

snow.com/passsales

Rocky Mountain Super Pass: $399, unlimited access to Winter Park/Mary Jane and Copper Mountain

passwagon.com/rockymountain.htm

Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus: $439, unlimited at Winter Park/Mary Jane and Copper Mountain, plus six unrestricted days at Steamboat Springs, and free skiing every Friday afternoon at Steamboat

passwagon.com/rockymountain.htm

Colorado Pass: $439, unlimited at Breckenridge, Keystone and A-Basin, plus 10 days at Vail and Beaver Creek

snow.com/passsales

Epic Pass: $579, unlimited at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly (Lake Tahoe) and A-Basin

snow.com/passsales

Freaky free deals

Voucher giveaways: Keep tabs on radio stations, auto dealerships, sporting goods retailers and gas stations for giveaways.

Crested Butte "Ski for Free": In past years, Crested Butte has handed out passes at the ticket office, no stipulations, between Thanksgiving and Christmas as part of a promo.

skicb.com

Promotional events: These usually occur in the preseason and feature promos, things like films and manufacturer and resort exhibitions. Lift vouchers and season pass deals are staple freebies. The Colorado Ski & Snowboard Expo (bewisports), for example, happens Nov. 7-9 this year. Admission tends to cost $10 to $15, but that's a whole lot cheaper than a one-day lift ticket.
Mandy Moench


hiking/biking

Environmental movement

By Mike Alberti So, it's the first week of class and your professor's dropped a 10-page paper on you. You've spent your whole weekend still slighly incredulous, cooped up in the library writing about the history of the coffee trade in Yemen.

What you need, besides a new professor, is fresh air and exercise. We've scoped out four of the biggest parks in the city and recommended a few trails for hiking and biking. There are also some handy-dandy maps available on the city's Web site, springsgov.com. So lace up your boots or jump on your bike and forget about Yemen for a few hours. It'll be there when you get back.

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Except for Palmer, all of these parks have options for bouldering and technical climbing as well. Visit springsgov.com or call 219-0108 for rules and registration information.

Garden of the Gods Park

3130 N. 30th St., 634-6666

gardenofgods.com

Open: May 1 to Oct. 31, 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Nov. 1 to April 30, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Hikers: For a short, easy evening hike, try hiking the Siamese Twins and Cabin Canyon Trail. Be sure to check out the view of Pikes Peak between the sandstone towers of the Twins.

Bikers: The Ute Trail is great for beginners. Not much of an elevation gain, but some twists and turns.

North Cheyenne Cañon Park

2110 N. Cheyenne Cañon Road, 385-6086

springsgov.com/page.asp?navid=3038

Open: May 1 to Oct. 31, 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Nov. 1 to April 30, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Hikers: The Columbine Trail is a beautiful hike that starts at the Starsmore Discovery Center and goes all the way into the canyon. It starts out flat, then turns into switchbacks about halfway along. It's about four miles one-way.

Bikers: Captain Jack's can offer a challenge to even experienced riders. About eight miles long, the trail is fast with some boulders; ride slowly the first time around.

Palmer Park

3650 Maizeland Road

springsgov.com/page.asp?navid=788#p

Open: May 1 to Oct. 31, 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Nov. 1 to April 30, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.

For hikers: Templeton Trail is about the toughest the park has to offer. Make sure you watch out for bikers.

For bikers: Palmer Point Trail is an intermediate ride with some twists and turns and long, slow ascents. It also intersects with many other trails in the park, so you can ride it repeatedly and go a different route every time.

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

3615 W. High St.

springsgov.com/page.asp?navid=4081, redrockcanyonopenspace.org

Open: Year-round, dawn to dusk

Hikers: The Contemplative Trail is especially quiet and removed. It winds through most of the park and connects to other trails if you want to extend your hike.

Bikers: The Roundup Trail is one of the newest in the park and the best single-track opportunity here. A little over a mile long with lots of switchbacks, it won't take long.
mike@csindy.com

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