Head up the hill 12 miles to Ski Apache in Ruidoso, N.M., Oct. 24 for Party On The Mountain - the inaugural pre-season bash for locals. The event sets the tone for the upcoming winter, gets everyone psyched, and also gives guests a chance to purchase discounted season passes and gear. There's also a season pass raffle.

The day kicks off with the Ski Apache Mountain Challenge 6.5k race at 9 a.m.,  followed by gondola rides to the summit starting at 10 a.m. The outdoor grill opens at noon so you can grab complimentary hot dogs, hamburgers, and soft drinks while grooving to live music on the patio and gazebo. A cash bar is available as well.

Later, take a hot air balloon ride from the south parking lot, or participate in a Frisbee golf contest. Local freeriders will show off their skills on the rails. Sign up any time before 4 p.m. for a tour of the new snowmaking facility and learn how that snow "magically" appears when the temperatures drop.

Season passes can be purchased at the bash at 20 percent off the regular rate and those skiers who had a pass last season can get this year's for 50 percent off the regular rate.

Free commemorative "Party on the Mountain 2006" T-shirts will be given away to the first 500 guests that day, along with prize giveaways all afternoon. Shuttle service to the resort will be available.

For information