A change of season only means a swift transfer from one handful of sports and activities to another for Colorado locals. This means Monarch Mountain area residents, skiers, and snowboarders start thinking about boating, fishing, and mountain biking. Monarch hosts their signature Kayaks on Snow event now in its 6th year as a jump-start to the summer sports season. Date is April 2, 2011.

"This is our biggest event of the year," Monarch's Greg Ralph said. "It's a hoot."

Kayakers from all over the state and region compete in a head-to-head Boatercross event similar to Ski Cross. Four racers at a time blast out of the start and tackle the specially designed course full of berm turns, jumps, banks, and rollers finishing into an icy pond. A single-elimination format sends the top three boats of heat onto the next round. The first boat to paddle across the pond and through the finish line takes away the big win.

Registration opens at 10 a.m. with qualifying runs at 11 and finals at 1 p.m. The $20 fee includes a t-shirt and a chance to win huge prizes. The top three finishers choose between three grand prizes which include a Dagger Kayak, an Electric Cruiser Bike, and a 2011-12 Monarch Season Pass. Spectators have as much or more fun as the contestants. Make your way to Monarch and take part in the festivities while watching the entire event from the base lodge deck.

The party doesn't stop there. Monarch's April 10 Closing Day goes out with a bang with the 5th annual Parking Lot Cook-Off and Tailgate Party. Attendees reveal their inner Emeril and chef up their tastiest treats in hopes of nabbing a 2011-12 season pass and other worthy prizes. Participants are judged on best food as well as best décor. Judges take costumes and rig decoration into consideration.

"In the past we've had pirate ships, RV palaces, and even an alien spaceship with fog-machine special effects," says Monarch's Eric Ramsey.

Bring your appetite and wear your party pants in celebration of the end of ski season and the beginning of whitewater season. Contestants start showing up to the parking lot by 9 a.m. to get close-in parking spots and start preparing food. Ralph says there are full prime-rib meals cooked during the event. Judging begins at 12 noon with prizes awarded at 2 p.m. First prize for each category is a Monarch Season Pass. Other prizes include goggles, t-shirt, and single-day lift tickets.

"It's the party that keeps you thinking about skiing or snowboarding all summer long," says local skier John Tracy.

More Information. Or call 1-888-996-7669 x-5050 to register for Kayaks on Snow.