The 70-degree weather is a perfect way to usher out ski season and welcome baseball back (go Rockies!). But don’t trade your snow pants for hiking tights quite yet; our mountain resorts are ready to lure guests back to the slopes with closing festivals that celebrate the powder and the warm temperatures.
This year, Vail’s upping the ante by holding its Spring Back to Vail bash the same weekend as the Vail Film Festival (April 7 to 10)—so you can go straight from swooping to screening. Making enough time for both your cultural and recreational fixes can be difficult, so we’ve created a guide to help you navigate the lineup based on your preferred run.
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If you like… the Bunny Hill
You should attend: Year by the Sea, 3:30 p.m. on Saturday or 2:30 p.m. on Sunday
Based on the New York Times bestselling memoir, this coming-of-age film chronicles a middle-age woman’s decision to focus on her own needs after putting those of her family first for decades. While heartwarming, the world premiere will serve as a low-key introduction to a slate of mostly heavier films—just like the bunny hill does for the more intense trails.
If you like… Lost Boy
You should attend: 142 Miles from Monday, 11:15 a.m. on Saturday
This adventure-themed documentary follows a group of friends as they bike the 142-mile Kokopelli Trail, which winds from Loma (near Fruita) to Moab. Clocking in at just nine minutes long—it’s part of the four-film Colorado Shorts Showcase—the film offers stellar views of the Centennial State’s wilderness but, like the universally loved green run, doesn’t offer very many tense moments.
If you like… Dealer’s Choice
You should attend: Riot, 3:45 p.m. on Saturday or 11:15 a.m. on Sunday
We start getting into more serious territory with a documentary about the Newark, New Jersey, riots of 1967, which left 26 people dead over the course of six days of looting and violence. The subject material equates with the steeper section of the blue Dealer’s Choice pass, but the black-and-white archival footage makes the film seem more historical than a present-day commentary (in the end, more of a blue than a black diamond).
If you like… Look Ma
You should attend: A Light Beneath Their Feet, 7 p.m. on Saturday or 5:30 p.m. on Sunday
Taryn Manning (Tiffany ‘Pennsatucky’ Doggett on Orange is the New Black) stars as a mother with bipolar disorder whose daughter must decide whether to pursue her own dreams or take care of her erratic mother. The journey’s predictably a bit bumpy, similar to the moguls you’ll face on your way down the black diamond run that formerly played host to the World Cup Mogul Tour.
If you like… Highline
You should attend: Cut to the Chase, 4 p.m. on Friday or 9:30 p.m. on Saturday
When a petty criminal’s sister goes missing, he has to navigate Louisiana’s seedy areas while dodging a mob boss in this thriller. You’ll be on the edge of your seat just like you were on edge during the intense moguls on the double black diamond run. Bonus: Actors Lyndie Greenwood and Erin Cahill of Fox drama Sleepy Hollow will be in attendance at Friday’s post-screening Q&A.
Follow editorial assistant Mary Clare Fischer on Twitter at @mc_fischer.