SNOWMASS VILLAGE - Snowmass is celebrating more than 30 years of Mardi Gras revelry on Feb. 12.One of the oldest Mardi Gras parties in the mountains, according to Snowmass Tourism, this year's celebration in Snowmass Village will include a live concert by New Orleans band the Henry Butler Trio. The fete will also include a traditional madcap costumed parade, a bead throw, Hurricane drink specials and celebrations that go late into the night. All events are free and open to the public.
The festivities kick off bright and early at 7 a.m. with the 21st annual Mother of All Ascensions, an uphill costumed snowshoe race that climbs 2,073 vertical feet from Base Village to Gwyn's High Alpine Restaurant. Participants use snowshoes, track skis, hiking boots or running shoes. Costumes are encouraged, and prizes are awarded for the crowd's favorites. At the post-race party, all entrants have the chance to win prizes from participating sponsors and local merchants. Racers can pre-register at Base Camp Bar & Grill located in Base Village in Snowmass; Bristlecone Mountain Sports in Basalt; Independence Run and Hike in Carbondale; and Summit Canyon Mountaineering in Glenwood Springs. Event check-in and race-day registration begin at 5:45 a.m. in Base Camp Bar & Grill. For more information on the uphill or for volunteer opportunities, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-266-0022. The entry fee is $20 to pre-register and $25 the morning of the event.
Fat Tuesday festivities kick off at 3 p.m. This year's Mardi Gras king and queen are longtime Snowmass Village locals Markey Butler and Johnny Henschel. Queen Markey, originally from Ann Arbor, Mich., has had ties with Snowmass Village since 1986 as a part-time resident. Butler is currently serving her second term and fifth year as a Snowmass Village Town Council member.King Johnny, longtime local and current board member of the Snowmass Tourism Marketing, Group Sales and Special Events Board, founded Incline Ski Shop in 1993 after managing it for three years. He also owns Blazing Adventures in Snowmass. King Johnny and Queen Markey will throw beads and lead the parade down the Snowmass Village Mall, which there's still time to enter a float in. All businesses, families, visitors, locals and organizations can enter a float. Snowmass offers cash prizes for best float ($400), best use of theme ($200) and best costume ($150). This year's theme is "Snowmassquerade." Float entry is free, and Snowmass Tourism provides $100 reimbursement toward float expenses on proof of receipt. Float applications are due Feb. 8. They are available online at www.snowmasstourism.com/play/events, at the Snowmass Tourism office or by emailing Jacqie Stewart at email@example.com.After the parade, there will be a free concert from the Henry Butler Trio. Butler is a pianist and vocalist in the New Orleans jazz and blues vein. Fireworks end the evening at 7 p.m.