There's no denying it any more. Winter is here, even though I rock climbed outside in a T-shirt the other day.

Evidence: Snow on the ground in Boulder for multiple days. Eleven mile or 30K snowshoe race in my inbox.

The Hardwater Snowshoe Race starts at 9 Saturday morning. Choose from 11- or 18-plus mile options that venture out on the Sourdough Trail, from Nederland.

Running with snowshoes. I've been training in the newsroom by stapling a week's worth of the Colorado Daily to my wool clogs and sprinting for deadlines.

I would train outside by running in snowshoes, but I am klutzy and know that faceplants would become part of my regular workout routine.

I should train, though. After the holidays, a race at altitude with weights on my feet seems like a perfect opportunity to work off Mom's butterball cookies.

(Yes, that's what they're called, because just eating lots of Christmas cookies doesn't make you feel guilty enough -- they need a guilt-inflicting name.)

Hrm. I'll start training for this race tomorrow.

Info: No registration fee but donations accepted; register online or day-of, if spots are available, between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the Nederland Community Center.

Winter Trails Day

Maybe the snowshoe race sounds a little intense. Maybe you don't have snowshoes.

Maybe you don't own snowshoes because it's bad enough that your hiking pal June always speeds ahead when you hit trails together in the summer, and for crying out loud, you just want a respite from trying to keep up with the hare in the winter.

Hi June. You're fun. Love, the tortoise.

You can demo snowshoes for free at Saturday's Winter Trails Day at Echo Lake , near Mount Evans, hosted by REI. And you can hike as fast or slow as you like.

Info: Bring a driver's license to demo snowshoes; they're available for adults and children. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.;

Fresh Pass

Final evidence that winter is here for reals: Snow days.

Not the kind where you stay home from work or school. The kind where you get to ski freshies.

Wait -- those are the same.

From 7 to 11 Saturday night, Copper Mountain will be selling its Snow Days Pass at Boulder's Absinthe House , 1109 Walnut.

For $99, you get a pass to Copper any time they get four or more inches of snow. Since lift ticket prices at the window at Copper are $96 for a day, well, don't make me do the math for you. There's a reason I'm a writer.

Saturday night, Absinthe will have 99-cent, 4-inch beers for the promotion.

FYI, little beers go well with butterball cookies, especially after running 18 miles in snowshoes.