The Winter Games of Idaho have undergone a transformation. No longer subject to the sways of corporate sponsorship (Taco Bell, Pepsi and friends were not invited), it stands alone as one of the foremost winter sports extravaganzas in the Northwest. This year, the mix of ski and snowboard events, figure skating and hockey competitions and freestyle challenges of all kinds are being made possible by generous contributions from the soon to be open Tamarack Resort and the Idaho Ski Areas Association. Here is a quick list of some of the featured events that will be happening in January and February of 2005. Think snow.
• January 29-30--Mighty Mites (children under the age of 9) will have a chance to skate and spray each other on a homemade ice rink in Salmon, Idaho. No experience is required, and teams will be drawn. This is a great event for kids of all skill levels who want to break into the sport of the Steelies.
• February 4-6--Adult hockey teams go head to head on the ice at Idaho Ice World in Boise. The usual turnout has been described as "huge," and the action promises around-the-clock skating for three days straight.
• February 25-27--Organized youth hockey teams will battle each other in a round robin at Idaho Falls' Joe Marmo Wayne Lehto Ice Arena. Open to ages 10-18.
SKI AND SNOWBOARD
• February 4--Boarder X will take place at Kellogg, Idaho's Silver Mountain. This event features some of the wildest tricks and big air for single-plankers.
• February 12--Tamarack Resort just outside of Donnelly will host cross-country ski races for all ability levels. Bring your spandex and a great set of lungs.
• February 13--Also at Tamarack, there will be a display of crazy skills in the 10-acre terrain park and on the 500-foot "super pipe." Skiers and boarders will both go big and demonstrate Idaho athletes' flair for freestyle.
• February 19-20--McCall's Brundage Mountain will feel the slice of downhill skis as kids, teenagers, adults and the physically challenged race slalom and giant slalom. Some of the best alpine action around.
• February 23--Primetimers, or skiers aged 50 and up, are invited to strut their stuff on the slopes at Boise's Bogus Basin. A favorite event with spectators and surprisingly fierce competition for entrants.
• February 26-27--Bogus Basin (26) and Silver Mountain (27) will each host a day of ski and snowboard "slopestyle," or a series of wicked jumps. The two resorts will also host a telemark downhill race and half-pipe trick-off, respectively.
• February 19-20--Expect to see all of your favorite events from the big competitions, including pairs, men's and women's singles and plenty of up-and-coming talent on the rink at Idaho Ice World. This is a great event for the whole family that brings the glory of outdoor recreation indoors.
Fees vary from event to event and dates and times will be subject to change up until the finalization of schedules and details closer to opening day. For updates and more information, visit www.wintergamesofidaho.com, and feel free to contact event coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org. Online registration will be available soon at www.active.com, and snail mail versions will start popping up at resorts and in sporting goods stores as things fall into place.