Appropriately with Valentine’s Day in the month, February really marks the “heart” of ski season. Mid-winter snow conditions are generally excellent. Skier visits surge over the popular Presidents Weekend. Most resorts plan special activities for that weekend, but exciting events can be found throughout the month.
PARK CITY// FREESTYLE, SNOWBOARD AND FREESKI WORLDS
February kicks off with more than 1,300 of the world’s best skiers and riders from about 40 nations arriving in Utah for the 2019 FIS Freestyle, Snowboard and Freeski World Championships, Scheduled for Feb. 1-10, the events are spread across three resorts: DEER VALLEY, PARK CITY MOUNTAIN RESORT and SOLITUDE.
Deer Valley hosts the moguls and aerials. Neighboring Park City Mountain Resort has two venues: half pipe and slopestyle at the Park City base, plus big air at the Canyons Village base. The snowboard cross and skicross are in Big Cottonwood Canyon at Solitude. Lindsey Jacobellis, Chloe Kim and Mikael Kingsbury are among the athletes expected to compete.
Hip-hop star Lupe Fiasco is scheduled to perform at the closing ceremonies, Feb. 10, on Park City’s Main Street. The 2019 competition ranks as the largest winter sports event in Utah since the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
LOVELAND SKI AREA// MOUNTAINTOP MATRIMONY
Located just east of the SUMMIT COUNTY border in Colorado, Loveland Ski Area lives up to its name every Valentine’s Day. The 28th Annual Mountaintop Matrimony noontime ceremony gives couples a chance to get married at an elevation of 12,050 feet. Married couples can also renew their vows in the mass wedding at The Ptarmigan Roost Cabin. Recent years have attracted about 75 couples, with around 15 of those getting newly married.
MOUNT SNOW// CLOUD NINE NUPTIALS
For skiers and boarders in the East, MOUNT SNOW in Vermont offers its own Valentine’s Day chance to tie the knot or renew vows. The 10:15 a.m. mass marriage ceremony takes place at the top of the Sunbrook chairlift. Couples and guests ski or board together down the intermediate Cloud Nine run after the ceremony, then head back up to the top for a reception in the Summit Lodge.
VAIL// LEGACY DAYS
Skiing in VAIL traces back to the vision of the 10th Mountain Division World War II veterans who founded the resort. Celebrated Feb. 15-18, Vail Legacy Days commemorates the history of the resort. The weekend starts with the resort’s roots through the 10th Mountain Legacy Parade at 6 p.m. on Friday. Skiers dressed in the traditional ski trooper uniforms perform a torchlight ski down to the base of Gondola One, then more military veterans in uniform join the procession finishing at the 10th Mountain Division memorial statue in Vail Village.
Distinguished military uniforms give way to fun retro-neon ski outfits on Saturday. The ’89 Throw Back Party celebrates the first year the Alpine World Ski Championships were held at the resort. Vail has since hosted the 1999 and 2015 Alpine Worlds.
SCHWEITZER// SANDPOINT WINTER CARNIVAL
SCHWEITZER MOUNTAIN RESORT overlooks the picturesque town of Sandpoint, Idaho, on the shore of Lake Pend Oreille. Held since 1972, the Sandpoint Winter Carnival, Feb. 15-24, features fun— and occasionally bizarre— activities both in town and at the ski resort. The festival kicks off Friday, Feb. 15, with a Parade of Lights themed “Weird Wonderful Winter.” Expect wacky floats and snow-shovel brigades.
On Presidents Weekend in conjunction with the town festival, Schweitzer has a slew of activities planned at the resort. One highlight is the Coca-Cola “Let it Glow!” Night Parade and Fireworks on Sunday, Feb. 17.
The unusual Eichardt’s K-9 Keg Pull wraps up the festival on Sunday, Feb. 24. The popular event in Sandpoint’s Granary District involves sort of a strange twist on sled dog racing. Competing on a snow-packed course, the dogs pull anything from an empty full-size keg to a beer can depending on the dog’s size. Proceeds benefit a local animal shelter.
LAKE PLACID// WORLD CUP BOBSLED
LAKE PLACID in New York hosted perhaps the greatest sports moment of the 20th-century, the “Miracle on Ice” for the U.S. Olympic hockey team. Along with skiing the most vertical in the East on Whiteface Mountain, tourists can experience first-hand the bobsled track used in the 1980 Olympics for $95 per person. However, on Feb. 15-16, visitors can watch Team USA compete in the BMW IBSF World Cup competition on the track. The races include two-man and four-man bobsled, plus skeleton, for both men and women.