Red Lodge Mountain Resort is gearing up for its annual Winter Carnival Feb. 25-26. The event, which brings a time to cut loose with craziness, draws locals and visitors for the mid-winter slope party.

The theme changes each year. This year, skiers and snowboarders will appear no doubt in leis, sunglasses, aloha shirts, and hula skirts for the Beach Party. Bikinis? Depends on weather.

The headliner event is a cardboard craft race down Show Off Alley. Locals have been already congregating in garages to build their Beach Party-themed entries out of cardboard and duct tape for the Cardboard Classic. Competitors push their crafts up the run to ride down in heats to be first across the finish line.

"We probably have around 50 entries," spokesperson Jeff Carroll told us. "We run competitors in heats, but it turns into mass carnage as some self destruct 15 feet down the hill. Others collide or smash into the B-net at the bottom."

Competitors are permitted to engineer their crafts for maneuvering. "Many attempt to build brakes and steering, but it never works," laughs Carroll.

Visitors can get a preview of the Cardboard Classic entries on Friday night during the parade in downtown Red Lodge. Prizes are given after the race for the fastest and most creative crafts. "We expect to see lots of Beach Party themes this year, but a lot of people just do random," added Carroll.

Other weekend events in a snow sculpture contest, costume contest, torchlight parade and fireworks, and the annual Snow Ball for crowning the king and queen of the mountain.

Those looking to visit Red Lodge for the weekend can get ski and stay packages that start at $48 per person per night. Passholders from other Montana ski resorts can also purchase a full day lift ticket for the price of a half-day ticket.

More information.

Here's video from the 2010 Cardboard Classic at Red Lodge.