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Spring hailed at Afton Alps -- even if winter lingers (W/PHOTO GALLERY)

Skiers click their poles in applause for a snowboarder who competed in the Mogul Mash event at Spring Fling. Woodbury resident Kevin Lepel, Afton Alps’ recently retired director of racing, was among the winners. (Staff photos by Mike Longaecker)1 / 7
Children donned bunny ears, colorful duds and creatively decorated helmets during a costume event. (Staff photo by Mike Longaecker)2 / 7
Eagan resident Joey Peterson pulls with all his might during a tug-of-war event at Afton Alps’ Spring Fling. Joining him are a costumed Davey Peterson and the team’s anchor, Kevin Lepel. (Staff photo by Mike Longaecker)3 / 7
Riders executed tricks at the end of the WinchFest course. (Staff photo by Mike Longaecker)4 / 7
Seventies fashions were out in full force during the Spring Fling’s costume contest. (Staff photo by Mike Longaecker)5 / 7
A snowboarder is pulled at about 30 mph during the WinchFest event at Afton Alps’ Spring Fling, held Saturday at the Denmark Township resort. (Staff photo by Mike Longaecker)6 / 7
A snowboarder is pulled at about 30 mph during the WinchFest event at Afton Alps’ Spring Fling, held Saturday at the Denmark Township resort. (Staff photo by Mike Longaecker)7 / 7

Sub-freezing temperatures might have suggested otherwise, but spring was clearly in the air last weekend at Afton Alps Ski Area.

The Denmark Township ski area on Saturday held its annual Spring Fling event, which was marked by a full slate of activities.

Skiers and snowboarders spent a good deal of the day at WinchFest, Red Bull-sponsored activity where riders were pulled across obstacles on flat land by a high-powered winch. At the end of the run, the momentum carried riders skyward on an incline built into the snow.

As the afternoon activities progressed, Afton Alps-goers gave their best efforts in the Mogul Mash, a costume event, a tug of war and the coup de grace – a water-skip event, where riders tried their best to stay afloat while racing across open water.

While the event marked this week’s official arrival of spring, it didn’t mean the end of the ski season at Afton Alps. The resort will remain open until at least the first week of April, according to officials there.

Mike Longaecker
Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker
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