SnoFest: An affordable winter R&R option

  • Published
  • By James Lovely
  • 10th Services Marketing
It's time to start planning for SnoFest. The military's 18th annual snow sports weekend is Jan. 25-27, 2008, at Keystone Resort. SnoFest features a variety of activities, including competitive ski and snowboard racing, fantastic parties and a variety of other activities.

Discounts on lodging, lift tickets, and equipment make SnoFest the most fun and affordable winter vacation option for the military community. SnoFest is hosted by Services from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Buckley, F.E. Warren, Schriever and Peterson Air Force bases, Headquarters Space Command and Fort Carson.

SnoFest started as a one-day event, but has morphed into a weekend of fun in the Colorado Rockies.

"Today, we still work hard to keep SnoFest, now a three-day event, as affordable as possible," said Kaye Grant, 10th Services Marketing director at the U.S. Air Force Academy and a SnoFest chairperson. "Our commercial sponsorships generously provide cash and product to reduce the cost to our attendees - lower party prices, free racing, free cardboard derby and lots of free drink and food giveaways.

"No matter how you cut it, skiing is a very expensive sport and every year prices go higher. SnoFest folks work with Keystone to try to keep the prices in the ballpark for our military families."

Wounded servicemembers learn to ski
This year, SnoFest is expanding to include participation by about 20 active duty members who were severely injured fighting the Global War on Terrorism.

Adaptive Adventures, a nonprofit organization, is hoping to advance the quality of life of these men and women by teaching them to ski within the limitations of their disabilities.

Book lodging soon
A wide variety of heavily discounted accommodations have been set aside at Keystone just for SnoFest. Hotel rooms, studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom condos are available for booking beginning Oct. 1.

To ensure that you get the best rates and availability, it's important to book your lodging reservations as early as possible. Rates at Keystone start at just $119 per night (not including tax and surcharge) for a deluxe studio that accommodates a family of four.

To reserve lodging at Keystone, call (800) 258-0437, and mention base affiliation and group code GV7SNFE. For lodging near Keystone, call Colorado R&R at (719) 333-7367.

Party tickets sell out fast
Because seating is limited at Friday's and Saturday's after-ski parties and tickets are likely to sell out well in advance, partygoers should plan to get their tickets as soon as possible. Each night's party in the Keystone Conference Center includes a buffet and entertainment. Party tickets go on sale Nov. 1 at base Information, Tickets and Tours offices. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 5-12, ages 4 and under are free if they do not occupy a seat.

New this year: Reserve an entire table at one of the parties by purchasing a block of 10 tickets at once and signing up at that time. All other seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Last year, partygoers took home thousands of dollars worth of prizes and giveaways.

Friday's party includes a performance by Tops in Blue, the acclaimed Air Force Expeditionary Entertainers. The show, "The Fly-By" will honor the 60th anniversary of the Air Force.

Saturday's party, themed "Reel Fun," will pay homage to Hollywood. Everyone is encouraged to come dressed as their favorite movie character. The Air Force band "Pegasus" will provide the musical entertainment.

Discounted lift tickets
Lift tickets for SnoFest will also be available at ITT beginning Nov. 1. The discounts are significant, too.

An adult SnoFest lift ticket will be $43 ($39 for E-1 to E-4), a savings of $12 over the price of a military discounted lift ticket this season and a savings of as much as $40 under the retail price. Lift tickets for children ages 12 and younger will be $29. Children under 5 ski free.

Ski and snowboard racing
NASTAR ski and snowboard racing competitions among all represented military installations, fun races and open skiing are free with the purchase of a SnoFest lift ticket. This year, there will be absolutely no late registration. Racers must pre-register through Outdoor Recreation by Jan. 17.

Activities for non-skiers
Non-skiers attending SnoFest won't be left out in the cold. Available activities include a visit to the Glenwood Hot Springs, an ice sculpture contest, ITT tours, ice skating, tubing, sleigh rides, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and the cardboard derby.

Enter the cardboard derby
Saturday's cardboard derby is, arguably, the weekend's most fun event. Families, squadrons, teams and individuals build snow racers from cardboard, tape, paint, paper and rope. It's not too early to begin creating your entry. Bring your racer to the slope or make one on-site the day of the event from available materials.

For more information about SnoFest, check with your base ITT or go to