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 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.”
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.”