On-mountain nuptials make for a memorable wedding.
Years ago, when newspapers were still generous with assignments to freelance writers, the Denver Post sent me to the Loveland Ski Area to cover the first-ever “Marry Me and Ski for Free” event on Valentine’s Day. (The photos here are BingImages from weddings past.)
If I remember correctly, the deal was that couples would get free skiing, a ceremony at the Ptarmigan Cabin and afterwards, a reception with Subway sandwiches and King Soopers cake at the base lodge afterwards. Any couple with a Clear Creek County marriage license would be legally wed by the Universal Life Church minister presiding. Others could “just practice.” It was a snowy weekday, and I figured that friends, co-workers or neighbors with the day off would “just practice” in order to get free skiing.
It was snowing to beat the band as nine couples rode up Chair 2 and stood in a semi-circle around the minister. Eight were actually getting married for the first time and a couple from nearby Georgetown were renewing their vows. The bride was proud that she could fit into her wedding gown after two children and over her ski clothes. One bride’s mother came in from Kansas and declared that this was not the wedding she had envisioned for her only daughter. Her other offspring were sons. She didn’t ski, so the Patrol made a mother-of-the-bride exception to the must-ski requirement and ferried her up and back on a snowmobile.
Every year since then, couples have flock to the Loveland Ski Area on Valentine’s Day to take the plunge or renew their vows in a mass wedding ceremony at the top of Chair 2 at an elevation of 12,050 feet. The event typically draws between 60 & 80 couples, some of which attend in full wedding attire. After the ceremony, the newlyweds ski or snowboard down the mountain to the reception that features wedding cake, a cider toast and a best dressed contest. It is quite a site to watch the couples make turns down the mountain in wedding dresses and tuxedos.
The details of what’s offered and what’s required change from year to year, but it’s always memorable — more so on a powder day. Valentine’s Day this year is on a Saturday, so expect a crowd. So if you’re intending or know someone who is, you’ve got a week to get your act and your outfit together. FoMoInfo: 303-571-5580 Ext. 141.