Aspen Times Weekly: A SnowMASSIVE Summer
SNOMWASS SUMMER EVENTS
5-6 RAGNAR TRAIL
12-14 SNOWMASS MAMMOTH FEST
19 HERITAGE FIRE
20 GRAND COCHON
27-29 BIG MOUNTAIN ENDURO
2-5 COLORADO WANDERLUST FESTIVAL
18 DEAF CAMP BENEFIT
18-19 AUDI POWER OF FOUR TRAIL 50K,
22K AND VERTICAL K
24-26 SNOWMASS DOUBLES VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT
24-26 SNOWMASS TENNIS SMASH
25-26 SNOWMASS BIKE DEMO DAYS
30-8/1 3RD ANNUAL ROOF OF THE
ROCKIES JEEP JAMBOREE
1-2 COLORADO SCOTTISH FESTIVAL AND ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGHLAND GAMES
6-9 MINIS IN THE MOUNTAINS
7-8 RAGNAR RELAY
8-13 12TH ANNUAL AREDAY SUMMIT,
FILM FEST & EXPO
15 RIDE FOR THE CURE®
15 CHALK IT UP!
22 MUDDERELLA COLORADO
28-30 ZOPPÉ ITALIAN FAMILY CIRCUS
4-6 JAS ASPEN SNOWMASS LABOR DAY EXPERIENCE
12-13 TOUGH MUDDER COLORADO
18-20 SNOWMASS BALLOON FESTIVAL SNOWMASS WINE FESTIVAL & CLASSIC CAR SHOW
26 GOLDEN LEAF HALF MARATHON
As the spring sun begins to melt the snow atop Sam’s Knob, attention is rapidly turning to what is certainly the most insanely packed schedule of summer events ever seen in Snowmass Village.
Beginning with the Ragnar Relay Trail Run the first weekend in June and continuing on and on and on until the final weekend in September, when the Golden Leaf Half Marathon fittingly brings the season to a close, Snowmass will offer not just something, but a plethora of somethings for just about everyone.
“We really feel that this summer could be a tipping point for Snowmass in creating a new normal,” said Rose Abello, who was appointed by the Town of Snowmass Village as Director of Tourism this past September. “We’ve brought in events that will not only allow guests to give Snowmass a trial run, but will also give locals in the valley affordable and, in many cases, free events to attend.”
While longtime summer stalwarts, like the weekly Snowmass Rodeo, the Snowmass Balloon Festival, and JAS Aspen Snowmass remain, Snowmassive, as the town bills it, is not your Daddy’s Snowmass Summer. No, the selection of events has blossomed to include world-class culinary events, mind, body and spirit celebrations, and a host of music and participatory adventures.
For perhaps the fist time, the true beauty of Snowmass and its outstanding summer entertainment options will rival, and in many ways surpass, those of its famed upvalley neighbor and sibling, Aspen.
THE BUSINESS SIDE OF FESTIVALS
While the events this summer are designed to show people a good time there is a strategic business purpose in bringing each of them to the resort. “Ultimately, we want to fill the beds and the restaurants and bring people to Snowmass,” said first-term Mayor, Markey Butler, when asked about the goals of Snowmassive Summer.
The Town of Snowmass Village’s budget is built from proceeds generated by sales and lodging taxes, both of which increase as guests come to Snowmass. Over the last few years the Town Council, in conjunction with input from the nine-member advisory Marketing, Special Events & Group Sales Board, has focused on expanding business in what was formerly a fairly fallow season for a resort built on skiing.
Four years ago, Fred Brodsky, who had extensive experience in the events industry in Las Vegas, was hired as Group Sales Director. Brodsky immediately saw the value that existing events created for summer tourism and seized the opportunity to expand the lineup with new festivals and events. “Instead of trying to create new events that could be financially risky and potentially ineffective, we really try to do our homework and seek out a diverse set of top event producers to bring their successful events here or to partner with them to create new ones,” he said.
The result is that producers like New York’s Tough Mudder and Atlanta’s Taste Network (Grand Cochon and Heritage Fire), which put on mega-successful happenings around the country, have bought into Snowmass as a perfect venue for their events. And they were able to work with the town and get approvals quickly. “Generally when it comes to special events, dealing with municipal government can be very difficult,” said Brodsky, “However the Town of Snowmass Village has created a business friendly environment making permitting and planning a very smooth process. In short, we want to make it easy for people to do business with us.”
“It truly takes a village to put on productions of this size and scope,” Abello reiterated. “From police, to public works, transportation to marketing, we need the support and work with all of the town entities, as well as partners like Skico, the lodges and merchants to make sure these events are successful for our businesses, our guests and our residents.”
In 2014, sales tax revenues in Snowmass jumped 17.9 percent from the previous summer with an astounding 36.9 percent increase in September when Tough Mudder brought 10,000 visitors to the Village. “These kinds of events allow us to look at department spends versus generated revenues and make informed decisions on how to delegate our funds,” said Butler. “Also, we were so pleased that Aspen is able to benefit from the ‘Snowmass overflow,’” she joked.
And it is not just the summer that gets a boost from the festival lineup. “We are building great databases from our summer visitors that we can use to market our winter experiences as well,” said Abello. Many of the scheduled events like Wanderlust, Ragnar and the Mammoth Fest are directed toward what the tourism industry refers to as “FITs” or Frequent Individual Travelers, the majority of whom are young and athletic. “We feel that if they come to Snowmass and give us a trial in the summer, they are great targets to market to for winter travel, especially with some early season specials.”
THE SNOWMASSIVE EVENTS
The fact is there’s so much going on this summer in Snowmass that it would be nearly impossible to do it all. “We’ll see ya’ next winter,” laughed Abello and Brodsky when I asked them how they were going to get through the schedule. There are major events back-to-back and Snowmassians will be saying goodbye to newly made friends from one event on a Sunday night and getting up on Monday morning to begin loading for the next event.
That said, on the following pages you’ll find a rundown of a few of the events that one man, this man, is most looking forward to in this Snowmassive Summer.
THE BIG BURN
In what has to be the most significant relocation in recent Aspen-Snowmass history, GRAND COCHON will move its porcine cooking competition and celebration of all things pig from the historic Hotel Jerome to the hip Viceroy Snowmass. It’s a little like a summer version of X Games packing its halfpipe and migrating to Elk Camp. A game changer.
Grand Cochon is the season finale of a nationwide cooking competition that features chefs preparing dishes using heirloom breed hogs. Ten chefs in 10 cities are each given one whole hog, which they must cook from head-to-tail. The winners of each of those competitions will convene at the Viceroy on Saturday, June 20, to compete for the title of “King or Queen of Porc” at Grand Cochon.
Not only that, but Brady Lowe, the guru behind Grand Cochon, is also bringing a carnivore’s dream event to the Base Village Mall when he debuts HERITAGE FIRE SNOWMASS on Friday, June 19. “This is the best culinary event I’ve ever attended,” says Fred Brodsky, “and I’ve been to a lot of them.” Brodsky is referring to the Heritage Fire event that has been Napa Valley’s cult, premier culinary event for more than six years and is making its way to Colorado for the first time.
Forty-plus notable chefs from Colorado, working alongside top chefs from around the country, will be cooking 3,000 pounds of heritage breed animals over outdoor bonfires at the Snowmass Base Village in celebration of pasture diversity and family farming. The list of heritage and heirloom foods to be featured include dry-aged beef, large-format fish, whole pigs, lambs, goat, lobster, squab, rabbit, duck, chicken, artisan cheese, oysters and heirloom vegetables.
Both of these events are all-inclusive and feature samples of the finest wines, bourbons, and food delicacies too be found on the planet. Cochon has become a premier food event and an outrageous party. Tickets can be purchased at cochon555.com. Aspen/Snowmass locals may receive a discount of $15 by purchasing tickets at stayaspensnowmass.com.
THE SOUNDS OF SUMMER
This year marks the quarter-century mark for JAZZ ASPEN SNOWMASS head honcho Jim Horowitz, and his line-up on Labor Day weekend in the Snowmass Town Park is silver studded. Start with Hozier, who will take us to church when he headlines Friday. No Doubt and mega-star Gwen Stefani, who will be playing fewer than a half-dozen shows this summer, will Rock Steady on Saturday, and on Sunday, Lenny Kravitz, who will be making his JAS debut, headlines. Epic.
The SUMMER OF FREE MUSIC is the new moniker for what was formerly the Thursday Night Concert Series and it is the best line-up ever. The performances, which kick-off on Friday, June 12 (hence the dumping of the Thursday name) with dance-grassers White-Water Ramble and Old Man Canyon, will be presented by SNOWMASSIVE events. This includes an amazing Fourth of July performance by MOBY, presented by WANDERLUST, and a Taj Mahal and the Phantom Blues Band show, which will be an AREDAY presentation.
What was once simply a spicy Chili Fest has morphed into a great “let’s-get-it-going” summer opening event. The SNOWMASS MAMMOTH FEST is now all about chili (International Chili Festival world champions have come out of this event), craft beer (25 microbrews will be poured) and music. Former JAS performers Tedeschi-Trucks Band and Donavan Frankenreiter are among those who will take the stage at the festival-like tribal gathering June 12-14. Good vibes and great chili.
LET’S GET PHYSICAL
The beauty of Snowmass is, well, the beauty. And that is as true in the summer as it is in the winter.
The mother of all outdoor events is the TOUGH MUDDER team adventure challenge series. A cult of more than 1.3 million participants world wide have subjected themselves to obstacles and discomfort over a 10-12 mile course in an effort to … actually, I’m not really sure why. It must be some sort of rite of passage. Last year TM brought 10,000 people to Snowmass and, according to an interview with Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen in The Aspen Times, the event was “clearly responsible for what turned out to be one of the busiest weekends of the entire summer for Aspen-Snowmass.” New this year are freshly designed outrageous obstacles, including “Fire in your Hole,” “Birth Canal” and the “Human Hamster Wheel.” You can find out just what those are Sept. 12-13.
Also, new this year is a kinder, gentler version of this agro-event called MUDDERELLA, which is designed by women, for women. Twelve to 15 obstacles over a 5-7 mile course will be laid out for the ladies on Aug. 22. Keep it clean.
And now for something completely different, the COLORADO WANDERLUST FESTIVAL returns for a second summer appearance. The polar opposite of the Mudder mentality, Wanderlust is a celebration of all things harmonious and spiritual. Built on a platform of downward dog, this yoga-inspired fest brings music, group hikes, farm to table dinners and a collection of the world’s most esteemed yogis to the mountains. All this and Moby. What a wonderful way to celebrate on Independence Day.
SOMETHING A WEE BIT DIFFERENT
Men in Kilts. The Jimi Hendrix of Bagpipers. Intrigued? So am I. These are just two of the sights to see at the 52nd annual COLORADO SCOTTISH FESTIVAL AND ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGHLAND GAMES on Aug. 1-2. For the first time this, Scot-centric event moves from the big city (Denver, not Glasgow) to the Highlands (Snowmass, not the Cuillin) for three days of piping and drumming, caber tossing and, of course, drinking. That’s what the Scots do. A highlight will be a free Friday concert with the band Swagger. Oh, and this is a dog-friendly gathering, too.
I’ve seen a lot of things in this Valley, but never a circus. ZOPPÉ ITALIAN FAMILY CIRCUS will be setting up its 500-seat tent in the Base Village Aug. 28-30 for a series of performances that have had audiences cheering since 1842. Nino the clown leads the acrobats and animals in a story that gives them a platform for entertainment. The ultimate family event, we’ll see you under the Big Top.
It would be foolish not give a nod to the staples of Snowmass summers for so many years.
This year marks the 42nd summer that the SNOWMASS RODEO has put on its chaps and saddled up. Each Wednesday, some of the top cowboys and cowgirls gather in the Rodeo grounds to race, rope and ride. It’s the same as it ever was, only better. Families get there early for a chuckwagon BBQ, and rain or shine the show goes on.
Also this September, the SNOWMASS BALLOON FESTIVAL drops the ropes on its 39th year. The signature summer sight in Snowmass may well be the morning images of the balloons as they take flight against the back-drop of the early turning Aspen trees and the snow kissed summit. This year, the weekend will also include the Snowmass Wine Festival and a Classic Car Show that will celebrate America’s best from 1965 to 1995.