Ski and Be Seen

February

Charming Steamboat Springs pays homage to its frontier past during Winter Carnival, its 93-year-old event held every February.     Photo: courtesy, Ski Colorado

Mt. Baker, Washington
Come winter, a jet stream often trains like a fire hose on this near-mythical ski area that once received a world-record 1,140 inches of snowfall in a single year. At the annual Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom, February 3–5, 300 racers—from ankle-biters to Olympians—take their shot on the same racecourse: a natural sluice that careers down the mountain. The laid-back extravaganza culminates on Saturday night with a salmon barbecue for 600. $40–$55, depending on category; 360-734-6771, www.mtbaker.us

Wasatch Range, Utah
Want to poach six resorts in one day? Sign on with the Ski Utah Interconnect Adventure Tour and you'll sample up to six Wasatch Range resorts before the sun drops over the Great Basin. Be one of 12 skiers to don avalanche transceivers and take the Deer Valley Resort lifts before they open. After a few powder runs, you'll hop over to adjacent Park City Mountain Resort. Then leave the ropes behind for a two-mile backcountry descent to the base of Solitude Mountain Resort and on to nearby Brighton Ski Resort. Next, it's back to Solitude, across the dramatic 500-yard traverse called Highway to Heaven, and into Little Cottonwood Canyon via Twin Lakes Pass. Another long backcountry run deposits you at the upper base of Alta Ski Area. But your quivering legs aren't done yet: You'll drop into Mineral Basin, return to the mountaintop, and ski to Snowbird's base before catching a shuttle back to Deer Valley. The $175 price tag includes guide, lunch, lifts, beacon rental, and transport; 801-534-1907, www.skiutah.com/resorts/interconnect

Steamboat Springs, Colorado
There's a charming wholesomeness to Steamboat's 93-year-old Winter Carnival. Today's version (February 8–12) takes over the entire town. A favorite event: the Friday-night phenom where a celebrity exhibitionist covers himself in glowing lightbulbs, then skis down the mountain launching fireworks from his pack. Head to Howelsen Hill to see if someone can break the world record in the gelandesprung—a ski-jump contest in which leapers use standard alpine gear. Many events are free; 800-922-2722, www.steamboat.com

Bardonecchia, Italy
Forget figure skating and soporific biathlons: At the XX Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy (www.torino2006.org), unpack Old Glory and head 40 miles west to the town of Bardonecchia, home of all the snowboarding events. There, February 16–17, Vermont's Lindsey Jacobellis, 20, and Maine's Seth Westcott, 29, are both early favorites to mine top metal in the new medal sport of snowboardcross, a.k.a. SBX. (Think motocross on snow, with four athletes plunging down a banked course, elbow to elbow.) Tickets, $59–$151; 877-457-4647, www.cosport.com

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