A week after the Snow Gods brought the last powder day in celebration of the closing of Mary Jane Mountain, Winter Park will close with music, pond skimming, and other festivities.
To launch the weekend, on Saturday, April 21, the Red Bull Tour Bus brings DJ Spider to play in the Village with a four hour set starting at noon. Stemming from a deep love for hip-hop, Spider's music includes an eclectic mix of music including hip-hop, house, rock, pop, soul, funk, reggae, and electro.
On Sunday, the 44th annual Spring Splash begins at noon. Skiers and riders will struggle through a gnarly obstacle course on lower Larry Sale and skim across a pond to reach the finish line and post their time.
Registration begins at 8 a.m. at the Guest Services area in Balcony House. Only 100 participants can enter and must be 18 or over. There is no preregistration and participants race in the order they register.
Dressed in a leather vest and short jeans, Brad Torchia, a resort employee, raced Spring Splash last year.
"It was my first year in Winter Park and Spring Splash is such a big deal - there is so much tradition behind it. It was really fun," he said.
He fell in the obstacles and once he made it over the jump, "I sunk," he said.
Torchia says he's not racing this year,
"I'm 80 percent sure I'm not going to race it, but my friends who are coming to town will."
"We will get 100 people signed up," he said. "It's one of those years people are looking to have fun. There will be a great band playing after the race, The Motet. It's just a fun environment."
One skier who is 100 percent committed to racing on Sunday is Bill Dehlin, a race crew employee. Last year he finished with the second fastest time in the Men's Division. This year he hopes to finish first and get the cash prize. Last year it was $800.
The water won't be as cold as last year, he said.
Dehlin will be decked out in '90s edition neon and purple race gear. His game plan will be to preview the course and try to get through the "bamboo jungle" without getting snagged, then to get enough air off the jump to finish the fastest, he said.
Dehlin likes the tradition of Spring Splash. He grew up skiing at Marquette Mountain in Michigan with a similar pond-skimming competition - minus the obstacle course.
"I won't think about the water," he said. "I just need to make it through the obstacles, jump, hit the water, and get to the finish as fast as I can."
Kristen Lodge can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610