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SnoFest provides outlet for winter fun

Participants kick off a cardboard derby race during the annual SnoFest winter extravaganza at Copper Mountain, Colorado, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. The event was organized by the Air Force Academy and the Front Range military bases for Airmen and their families to enjoy the weekend getaway. (Courtesy photo)

Participants kick off a cardboard derby race during the annual SnoFest winter extravaganza at Copper Mountain, Colorado, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. The event was organized by the Air Force Academy and the Front Range military bases for Airmen and their families to enjoy the weekend getaway. (Courtesy photo)

Front Range Airmen and their families display their GoRuck patches after the GoRuck challenge event during the annual SnoFest winter extravaganza at Copper Mountain, Colorado, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017.  The challenge tested the endurance of its participants, who hiked the surrounding mountains for more than three miles with heavy gear on their backs. (Courtesy photo)

Front Range Airmen and their families display their GoRuck patches after the GoRuck challenge event during the annual SnoFest winter extravaganza at Copper Mountain, Colorado, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. The challenge tested the endurance of its participants, who hiked the surrounding mountains for more than three miles with heavy gear on their backs. (Courtesy photo)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.- --

Schriever Airmen skied, snowboarded and engaged in other mountainside recreational activities during the annual SnoFest winter extravaganza at Copper Mountain, Colorado, Jan. 20-22.

“It’s a great experience,” said 1st Lt. Sarah D’Alessandro, 50th Force Support Squadron event volunteer. “It’s good to get out of the area we’re in and hang out with friends and family outside of work.”

The event, organized by the Air Force Academy and supported by Front Range military bases, provided an alternate duty location for Airmen to relax for a weekend and enjoy lodging and sports activities at reduced prices.

During the event, Schriever and Front Range military personnel setup tents providing free food and other amenities.

On Saturday, they had stations scattered across the resort grounds for families to enjoy various winter activities.

“Saturday was family day,” said D’Alessandro. “We had multiple different activity areas for the families all at a discounted rate. Seeing Airmen and their families was an aspect of the event I really liked.”            

Previously located at the Keystone Resort at Keystone, Colorado, the move to Copper Mountain provided a more convenient location for participants.

“Copper Mountain is a more consolidated location,” said Karen Draper, 50 FSS Sustainment Flight chief, who helped coordinate the event. “It’s less of a walk to get from one event to the other. It also has an increased number of activities.”

The resorts’ slopes provided challenges for seasoned winter athletes, as well an outlet to practice for those with less experience.

"My supervisor put me in for a drawing to win free lift tickets from leadership over at the wing. I didn't plan on going, but because I won the ticket, I did," said Airman 1st Class Julius DeBias, 3rd Space Operations Squadron. "It was my first time ever going snowboarding down any slopes that big. I used to 'snowboard' with a Walmart board back in Pennsylvania. It was just a small hill-frontier park. That was maybe 10 years ago.

“Needless to say, I fell a lot. I soon realized when I went down the 'easy road', it was everything but. There were bumps and crazy-like patterns everywhere."

Aside from the “traditional” snow sports, SnoFest included sleigh rides, snow tubing and a cardboard derby, where contestants put their creativity and sense of humor to work creating moving cardboard sculptures to race against each other.

The family tubing activity was great,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Jennifer Ray, Schriever chaplain, who brought her family to the event. “This was our first time tubing as a family and everyone had a blast.”                        

Indoors, lodging provided both single and multi-room suites and featured a party Saturday night with its own disc jockey.

“It (the lodging) was definitely cozy,” said D’Alessandro.

The event’s coordinators are looking to improve upon these benefits for Airmen in the future.

“We had a lot of good feedback. Everyone I talked to had a good time,” said Draper. “Next year we’ll take the lessons learned and apply them to make the experience better.”

 

 

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