Frisco kicks off its 43rd annual Gold Rush weekend this afternoon, celebrating both its heritage as a mining town and its legacy as a center for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. A movie matinee, bonfire, fireworks and Nordic and snowshoe races are slated for the event, which welcomes families to enjoy winter outdoor activities through Sunday. "For the last three years, we've been trying to bring back our history to the event, how the gold rush impacted this community and the big part that snowshoeing played in our history, from a way of transportation to a recreational activity," said town of Frisco spokesperson Suzanne Lifgren.
Today's festivities start indoors, where cinema fans can watch Charlie Chaplin's classic 1925 film, "The Gold Rush." A look at what towns such as Frisco must have been like in its mining-boom days, the film will be presented at 4 p.m. at the Frisco Historic Park and Museum at 120 Main St. The venue opens at 3:30 p.m. and seating is available on a first-come basis. Hot cider and popcorn will be served to warm up the audience.
On Saturday at 6 p.m., locals and visitors are invited to the eighth annual Spontaneous Combustion bonfire on the corner of Marina Road and Highway 9. (Folks wishing to recycle their Christmas trees for use in the bonfire should drop them off at the location by the end of the day today.) Food and beverages will be available for purchase and proceeds benefit the Summit Nordic Ski Club. Fireworks at the east end of Marina Road, visible from downtown Frisco, wrap up the night around 7:15 p.m.
Sunday is the day to get your skis and snowshoes out and breathe some fresh, crisp air at the Frisco Gold Rush Nordic and snowshoe races. The event starts at 8:30 a.m. and runs through 1 p.m.; it is open to all levels, ages 5 and over. Colorado's oldest citizens' cross-country races feature distances ranging from 5k to 15k."I think Frisco has a unique atmosphere because it is a good small town and a good central location to attract athletes from other parts of the state," said Linsey Kach, Frisco's recreation programs manager. According to Lifgren, approximately 1,000 racers will participate. "For beginners and advanced snowshoe skiers, it is a great introductory event because it puts their skills to the test," she said. The 5k Tubbs Snowshoes race opens the event at 8:30 a.m., followed by the 10k classic ski race at 10 a.m., 15k skate-ski race at 11:15 and 5k freestyle/fun ski race at 12:15 p.m. At noon, children 5 and under can win prizes at the Fosters Treasure Hunt. New this year, participants will receive a chip where their timing will be registered, offering a more accurate performance measurement. Racers will also receive a commemorative Gold Rush mug and will be able to warm up at the finish line with hot soup. The first ones to finish the race will win prizes from event sponsors such as Tubbs Snowshoes and Salomon. Pre-registration is open until 12 p.m. Saturday by calling the Frisco Adventure Park at (970) 668-9133 or visiting www.friscorecreation.com. Prices vary from $18-$23/race. Day-of registration begins at 7:30 a.m. in the Frisco Day Lodge, with a $5/race fee increase."People will have a good time because there are activities such as the treasure hunting and the kids' race that makes it a family-friendly event," Lifgren said. "It is a good family vacation and a way to embrace our environment."Parking is available on Main Street only.