Sunday, January 31, 2016

Coopers Rock WinterFest - Saturday, Feb 6

The 5th annual Coopers Rock WinterFest will be held on Saturday, February 6th, 2016, from 10:00 until 4:00.  The festival will be located at and near the Day Use Parking Lot and Front Gate, ¼ mile from the Coopers Rock I-68 Exit.  Almost all events are located in, or start and finish at, the main festival area.
Visit the Registration & Information Table, front and center as you drive up to the Day Use Parking Lot and Front Gate, to find out exactly where everything is located and any other questions.
*Snowball Target Rangeopen house: 10:00 – 4:00.  Near the Front Gate.  Throw snowballs at this one-of-a-kind array of targets.  They make noise and move if you hit ‘em!
*Snow Obstacle Courseopen house: 10:00 – 4:00.  Between Front Gate and parking lot.  No special equipment or skills needed, just a willingness to clamber up and slide down through this terrain park-like set of obstacles, comprised of old iron ore pits and constructed  snow  features.  300’ course.
*Sledding and Snowman Zoneopen house: 10:00 – 4:00. Located on the hill adjacent to the brand new  restroom, above the Day Use Parking Lot.   Due to the work-in-progress of landscaping the new restroom site, sledding opportunities will be more limited than usual, but at least a small area will be open and some plastic sleds provided.
* Cross-Country Ski Try-Out Zoneopen house: 10:00—3:00.  Try out xc-skis for free, on flat, open easy terrain perfect for first-timers.
*Slingshot Paintball Biathlonopen house: 10:00 – 3:00.  This event is modeled after the Olympic Biathlon, except skiers shoot paintballs with slingshots instead of bullets with rifles.  Skiers compete in heats of 4, ski around a 1,500’ loop course, and shoot at 5 targets, which must be hit before proceeding.  Skiers of all levels are welcome, including total Beginners.  Not timed, and no prizes awarded,, butlots of laughs.  This is the perfect event for a group of friends to compete against one another.
* Disc Golfopen house: 10-00 – 3:00.  A 5-basket disc golf course will be temporarily set up, and discs provided.  Who says you can’t play disc golf in the snow?  If you bring your own discs, make sure they aren’t white!
* Guided Snowshoe Hikes – Trips leaving from Front Gate  at:  10:00, 11:15, 12:30, 1:45. These guided snowshoe hikes take participants on a loop trip shorter than a mile, featuring an exploration of a beautiful  microcosm of Coopers Rock – a boulder garden featuring narrow chasms, big trees, and billowing layers of rhododendrons .  A limited number of snowshoes are provided.  1st come-1st serve.  Small group size.
*Winter Tree I.D. Hikes – Guided trips leaving from the Front Gate at: 10:30, 12:00, and 1:30.  Sharpen your winter dendrology skills – it’s harder to ID trees when they have no leaves.  Hike a route weaving through the festival area, learning how to ID numerous native trees using their winter characteristics, such as buds, bark, silhouette, and others.
*Downhill XC-Skiing Time Trial1:00 – 2:00.  Ski fast – win prizes! The race course is on a segment of  Roadside Trail, .4 miles along the trail from Front Gate, on the switchback hill in the Crop Tree Demonstration Area.  The most competitive of WinterFest events, this 450’ time trial course takes less than a minute per run, and contestants can run as many laps as they want during the hour-long competition.  Fastest time wins.  The course is Advanced Beginner/Intermediate in technical difficulty.   Each run is timed, results are recorded, and the winner wins both an original, handmade WinterFest tree trophy, and also a cake!
*Mass-Start Downhill Dash2:15.  Meet at 3-way intersection of Roadside Trail and Advanced Ski Trail, 1,500’ along Roadside Trail from Front Gate, at a kiosk.    Proceed to race course in nearby cleared utility corridor.  All skiers are invited to join in this crazy downhill sprint, down a wide, grassy 600’ long course big enough for dozens of competitors.  Includes Starting Line and Finish Line.  Event not timed.  Winner Take All! The winner wins both an original, handmade WinterFest tree trophy, and also a cake!
Women’s Frying Pan Toss3:00 – 4:00.  The site for this event is by the “Welcome To Coopers Rock” sign, before the Day Use Parking Lot.  All women are encouraged to enter what has become a signature event of the Coopers Rock WinterFest, and one that was borrowed from a 100+ year-old winter festival in Saranac Lake NY.  Contestants each get a shot at hurling the official WinterFest frying pan.  Farthest toss wins.  This one’s a hoot!  Winner gets a one-of-a-kind hand-painted  frying pan trophy.
*Fire, with hot chocolate, coffee, and baked goods for sale10:00 – 4:00.  Come get warm around the fire in the center of the Day Use Parking Lot.

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