It's hard to believe that Old Man Winter is shuffling off to his summer vacation home in Point Barrow, Alaska, and another ski and snowboard season is about to be put to rest.


Well, if winter's gotta go, it might as well go out in style. That's what the folks at [R425R, Steamboat] have in mind when they shut the door on the 2008-09 season in mid-April.

First, you can get a little warm-up act when Ryan Shaw, a bluesy singer/songwriter from Georgia, puts on a free concert in Gondola Square the afternoon of Saturday, April 4.

Then the party really gets going the following weekend.

It kicks off with Steamboat's rite of spring, the Cardboard Classic, Saturday, April 11. This annual goof - which is celebrating its 29th birthday - is a locals' favorite, featuring homemade over-the-snow craft constructed only from cardboard, glue, string, water-based paint, duct tape, and masking tape. The participants board their contraptions and race down the face of Headwall and hope they don't lose anything more than their dignity.

The fun continues Sunday, April 12, after the lifts shut down for the final time this season. That's when Ozomatli, an urban-Latino-reggae-salsa-samba-and-funk assemblage from Los Angeles, serenades the folks in Gondola Square with a free concert, the closing act in the Bud Light Rocks the Boat series.