‘Winter Whiteout’ Packs Sports Events Late January Until Early March

A flurry of snow and ice–related activities are highlighted in and around Lake City starting this Saturday, January 26, and continuing weekends throughout February until early March.
With abundant snow, cool temperatures and predictably clear skies, this season’s impressive “Winter Whiteout” series of events will be held on the frozen surface of Lake San Cristobal and the 2’ snowpack at Lake City Ski Hill, together with Lake City Ice Climbing Park at the mouth of Henson Creek and an inaugural event — a snowman-building and snow-sculpting frolic — which will be held on the grounds of the Chamber of Commerce information center in Lake City.
Lake San Cristobal ice events take place at the county boat dock on the west side of the lake and include two pond hockey tournaments which will be held on two specially-constructed 40’ x 90’ rinks.
Ice on the lake rinks is being polished to a fine buff utilizing a mini-Zamboni polisher in advance of competitive three-on-three play by adolescent and adults teams of up to eight players each. Pond hockey dates begin 9 a.m. this Saturday, January 26, and continue Saturday, February 23, with the second annual Platinum Paddle Hockey Tourney. A gold-painted paddle

in remembrance of the late Jack Nichols will be bestowed with the winning team for the ensuing year.
Online registration for ice hockey teams is at Eventbrite.com.
Food will not be available at this year’s pond hockey tournaments, although an hour-long noon intermission is planned allowing players and spectators to drive back into Lake City.
In conjunction with the February 23 Platinum Paddle ice hockey tournament, Lake City/Hinsdale County Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the first Lake San Cristobal Brew-Ski for contestants on skis, snowshoes and walkers following a pre-set mile-long route on the lake surface starting at the county boat dock. A total of six aid stations will be strategically situated along the route offering participants refreshments in the form of locally-brewed beer furnished by DeShazo’s Lake City Brewing Co., non-alcoholic cider, and hot cocoa.
The county’s Lake San Cristobal boat dock is also the starting off point for two other traditional Lake City winter events, the first of which is Lake City Continental Divide Snowmobile Club’s Cannibal Snowshoe Race featuring a Super Heroes costume theme on Sunday, February 10, followed by the annual Lake San Cristobal Ice Fishing Derby on Saturday, February 16.
Snowmobile Club’s Cannibal Snowshoe Race begins with registration at 9 a.m. and a 10 a.m. start for snowshoers and skiers on a 5K/3.2-mile pre-set single-track course which was set last weekend by Darren Hardy. The route starts from the county boat dock and heads on the western side of the lake through willows and across the county road to Red Mountain Gulch Day Use Area, past the campground pavillion, and then follows the approximate power line route before crossing the inlet bridge and alonh the county road to Wupperman Campground.
The route leaves the unplowed county road at Wupperman Campground space No. 1 and follows a meandering route on undulating hills near the cliff edge before descending to the cove campground, space No. 24 at Wupperman, and then back onto the lake ice. The final stretch of the 3.2-mile route is a 100-yard dash leading to the county boat dock finish line.
Darren Hardy reports that he spent multiple hours last weekend setting the Cannibal course, at times wading through snow drifts which were up to his thighs. This year’s plentiful snow depth is in marked contrast to last year when minimal snow at Lake San Cristobal prompted organizers to move the race to shady areas at Lake City Ski Hill.
Snowshoes will be the first place prizes for both men and women in the Cannibal race, adjustable poles will go to the overall second place winner, and third place overall winner receives an insulated Yeti mug.
This year’s race will be enlivened with the Super Heroes costume theme which is encouraged — but not mandatory — for contestants and spectators. For the famished, the snowmobile club will serve up hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and beverages at the boat dock food booth.
Registration for the Cannibal Snowshoe Race is $30 per person, in advance at https://localraces.com/events/lake-city-co/cannibal-snowshoe-race.
Hinsdale County Search & Rescue’s sole public fundraiser of the year is the popular Lake City Ice Fishing Derby which begins at the lake 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 16, and continues to 4 p.m. Both registration, which starts at 7:30 a.m., and food for famished fishermen will be headquartered at the county board dock.
Cost of registration, according to derby coordinator Tom Carl, is $20 per person, with meals available at $7.50. Registration fee includes the cost of drilling the first fishing access hole, additional holes drilled at $1 each. As an added incentive to fishermen on a lucky streak, meals will be personally delivered out onto the ice by snowmobile club members.
Prizes will be awarded based on the longest native game fish plucked from the ice, the first-place winner receiving a 90”x90” insulated fishing hut retailed by Cabella’s; second place is a three-burner propane heater, and third place is an underwater camera. In addition to the three top prices, multiple door prizes will also be awarded.
Moving down valley to Lake City, this season’s Winter Whiteout sports frenzy takes place Saturday, February 9, with Town of Lake City’s annual Ice Climbing Festival featuring vertical ice acrobatics by top-notch men, women, and youth ice climbers.
Early registration for contestants in the ice festival, $30 per person, is available at Eventbrite.com; or, the day of the event at the ice park, $35 per person, starting at 9 a.m. on February 9. Competition and thrills for awed spectators at ground level begins at 10 a.m. in multiple divisions in men’s and women’s Top Rope and Lead Rope.
For ground-bound spectators, the Top Rope competition consists of a two-member ice climbing team, one on the ground grasping the belay support rope as the climber speedily ascends the vertical course propelled with cramponed boots and ice picks in both hands.
In the Lead Rope competition, ice climbers are once again belayed as they speedily work their way up the ice walls, threading their rope through pre-installed ice screws. Once they reach the top, spectators below hold their breath as the climber strikes a metal pan and then rapidly descends back to the ground.
Spectators and competitors will be warmed by a wood fire at creek level, together with a snug canvas wall tent equipped with wood stove.
Lake City Ski Hill south of town is the location of weekly training sessions for members of the elite Hinsdale Ski Team coached by Henry Woods. In addition to several out-of-town competitions, the ski team will host two events at the local ski hill, the first of which is a side-by-side two-course Slalom track on Saturday, February 2.
The dual-course race is open to the public, local skiers and ski team members invited to challenge their friends and family members to determine who is the speediest as they cruise down the mountain. Cost of entry, says Coach Woods, is $5 per person, proceeds benefiting Hinsdale Ski Team. Hot dogs will also be served outside the ski hill warming hut. Trophies will not be awarded, he adds, although “bragging rights” will go to the fastest skiers.
Lake City Ski Hill is also the location of the Matt Milski Memorial Ski Race on Saturday, March 2, the annual ski competition which in recent years has attracted top flight Hinsdale Ski Team members and challengers from their counterpart Wolf Creek and Silverton ski teams.
The Milski ski race consists of a challenging, timed Slalom course for boys and girls, and adults, in age divisions. Awards will be presented to the top three finishers in each race division.
In addition to traditional, annual winter events in the lineup in coming weeks, a new winter snow celebration romp is being added into the mix by Lake City Old West Shooters. Old West Shooters’ Denny Brannon tells SILVER WORLD the well-known summer western revival shooters have scheduled a free-of-charge snow event in the yard at Lake City Chamber of Commerce Visitors’ Center from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 24.
A variety of games will be played celebrating all things snow, including a snowman-building contest, awards for the best Snow Angel creations for the under age five crowd, and snow sculpting.
Snowman-building — given adequate raw materials — is an old-time Lake City sport, Brannon stating that he is even on the lookout for small chunks of coal in order to craft the snowman’s eyes and mouth.
Keeping in the traditional track, the Old West Shooters snow romp will also include a snowball- throwing contest with awards to the best marksmen who can knock a cowboy hat off the snowmen.
Refreshments will be served at the snow romp, including roasted marshmallows, hot cider and hot chocolate.