SNOWMASS - Aspen Skiing Co. is throwing a grand-opening bash for Elk Camp Restaurant at Snowmass Ski Area from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.
Skico is giving complimentary rides on the Elk Camp Gondola. There will be live music, dancing, a bonfire with s'mores and food samplings as well as sledding. The gondola will begin providing rides at 6 p.m. The last ride down will be at 9 p.m.
Skico invested $13 million in the restaurant, which was built over two summers. It was the highlight of Skico's capital-improvement plan over the past two years.
The 14,769-square-foot facility replaces the 17,500-square-foot Cafe Suzanne. While smaller, the new restaurant is designed better, according to Skico officials. Nearly all operations are on one floor.
It has seating for 250 in the main dining room, 150 on an outdoor deck, 25 at the bar and 90 tucked away in a special place for kids in ski school.
In addition to the grand opening, Skico will host Ullr Nights on Fridays in honor of the Norse god of snow. Skico says Elk Camp will be transformed into a "nighttime wonderland" every Friday between Dec. 28 and March 29. The site will feature Ullr's snow castle, a sledding hill, s'mores and hot chocolate by the bonfire and ice skating on Rayburn's Pond. There will be live music with dancing, and the restaurant will be open for service.
The Ullr Night activities will be from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children and $5 for Skico employees or passholders.
Two special activities also will be offered during Ullr Nights. The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies will offer guided tours at 6 and 7:30 p.m. The $35 cost includes a gondola ride, snowshoes, the guided tour and a hot drink. Participants must be 7 or older.
Snowbike tours will be available Fridays during ski season. Tours will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Snowmass Base Village Four Mountain Sports store. The cost is $69 for a bike, guided tour and lift ride. It is limited to 13 participants - who must be at least intermediate skiers or snowboarders. The snowbike tours will take place, weather permitting.