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Ken and Barbie Leach, married for 50 years, click into their skis after renewing their vows during the annual Valentine’s Day mass wedding Loveland ski area. The couple have renewed their vows at the annual event several times. (Hugh Carey, The Colorado Sun)

Seventy-five couples gathered on Valentine’s Day to marry or renew their vows in a snowy, mountaintop meadow during the annual mass wedding at Loveland Ski Area.

The couples kissed, hugged and then clicked into their skis, making tracks through freshly fallen snow glistening in rays of sunshine. For 12 partners, it was their first ski run as a married couple.

Tim and Rita Ryan have been together for seven years. They had seen the mountaintop mass wedding on television before and this year they thought “why don’t we make this happen,” Tim Ryan said, just after promising himself to Rita.

“As much as we wanted to do a wedding with friends and family, that takes too much planning and we don’t have time to do that right now,” Tim said. “So this was just perfect.”

Tim and Rita Ryan, center, kiss after reciting their vows on Valentine’s Day at Loveland ski area. During the 32nd annual mass wedding, 12 couples got married and 63 renewed their vows. (Hugh Carey, The Colorado Sun)

Tim is a regular at Loveland, but Rita was on skis for the third time in her life on Valentine’s Day. “Doing something only in Colorado,” eclipsed any jitters she had about skiing into Forest Meadows to say her vows.

“It was a little bit scary getting down,” Tim said.

“But we made it,” Rita said with a laugh. “No broken legs.”

Robin Thomas, right, adjusts the tuxedo of her husband, Allen, prior to the Marry Me and Ski Free event. The Denver couple have been married for 32 years. (Hugh Carey, The Colorado Sun)
Becca and Erin Roosa kiss ahead of the event. The couple got married four weeks ago in Hawaii. (Hugh Carey, The Colorado Sun)
Tom and Kathy Glenn put on candy rings handed to them by their children prior to the mass wedding at noon. The Front Range couple have been married for 32 years and the idea to renew their vows during the Valentine’s Day event was sparked by their children. (Hugh Carey, The Colorado Sun)
Jenny Busby-Benson, left, and her husband, Doug Benson, get married during the Marry Me and Ski Free annual lovefest at Loveland. (Hugh Carey, The Colorado Sun)
Cathy and Sean Cayton, of Colorado Springs, kiss after renewing their vows. (Hugh Carey, The Colorado Sun)

The 32nd Annual Marry Me and Ski for Free Valentine’s Day event at the Clear Creek County ski hill was a lovefest, despite snow blowing sideways and temperatures in the teens. Many of the betrothed made their trek to Loveland to renew their commitments, others, like the Ryans, were pledging marriage for the first time. 

The tradition has thrived among skiers with a passion for mountains, snow, skiing and their partners since 1991.

“If you love to ski, and if you love Loveland, there’s really no better place for it,” Loveland spokesman John Sellers said. “We make it really easy for couples, whether you’re getting married, whether you’re renewing your vows, it’s fun, it’s easy, it’s inexpensive, and it’s going to create some memories that will last for the rest of their lives.”

Ken and Barbie Leach, married for 50 years, ski down together at Loveland ski area. They are season pass holders and skied together before they got married. (Hugh Carey, The Colorado Sun)

Hugh Carey

Hugh Carey is a staff photographer for The Colorado Sun. Hugh covers a variety of topics for The Colorado Sun, with a focus on outdoor and Western topics, breaking news and disasters. Prior to working...