Something’s going on nearly every weekend this summer and long into September around Snowmass
September is anything but sleepy in Snowmass Village.
In fact, several of Snowmass’ hottest events of the summer season — plus a new festival this year — are packed into the month of September. September in Snowmass continues to grow each year from a tourism standpoint, with more visitors as well as more events on the calendar.
From 2013 to 2017, occupancy in Snowmass for the month of September has increased from 21.2 percent to 48.8 percent, Snowmass Tourism marketing director Virginia McNellis said.
As of late spring, McNellis said, Snowmass is “on pace to either meet or beat those numbers this September.”
Snowmass’ revenue per room — a common industry metric also known as “RevPAR” — also has tripled across those four years, McNellis said.
With breathtaking mountain vistas that blend the vibrant green hues of summer with bright autumn golds — and cooler, yet still sunny, sweater weather — we don’t question September’s increasing popularity.
“Snowmass looks its best (in September),” McNellis said.
Noting the month’s strong event lineup, she added, “just having that vitality and that extra bit of fun really helps us grow September.”
JAZZ ASPEN SNOWMASS LABOR DAY EXPERIENCE
(Aug. 31 to Sept. 2)
Kicking off the month on a holiday weekend, Snowmass welcomes Jazz Aspen Snowmass’ Labor Day Experience, which organizers call “an open air, dance-oriented extravaganza of popular R&B, rock, funk, blues, world and soul music.”
Thousands of locals and visitors flock to Snowmass for this summer highlight that, for many, is as much about being in the company of friends and socializing as it is about the bands.
That said, Jazz Aspen Snowmass, now in its 27th year, draws top-notch talent to our little valley.
The masses travel with them. Jazz Aspen Snowmass estimates the three-day festival attracts more than 10,000 concertgoers each day.
Headlining this year’s Labor Day performances are Lionel Richie, Jack Johnson and the Zac Brown Band.
SNOWMASS BALLOON FESTIVAL
(Sept. 7 to 9)
Another Snowmass Village summer favorite is the annual balloon festival.
The 43rd annual Snowmass Balloon Festival is a time-honored village tradition, drawing thousands of spectators and visitors annually.
Watch as a bundle of more than 90,000 cubic feet of colorful, rip-stop nylon and a massive wicker basket evolve into a sea of bright colors stamping Snowmass’ skyline.
As one of the highest altitude hot air balloon festivals in the county, the Snowmass Balloon Fest also attracts pilots and enthusiasts from all over.
More recently, the festival added a nighttime jazz-band “glow show” choreographed to the movement of glowing balloons.
Hot air balloons in the morning as part of the balloon festival, followed by the second annual “Septemberfest” celebration of fall in the evening, left a lull in the afternoon that one local hopes to fill with crisp, bubbly cider samples.
“I thought this will help, mid-day, to kind of piece it all together so it flows from one event to the next,” Daly Bottle Shop owner Reed Lewis said of his inaugural “Cidermass” event this fall.
Also known as the Snowmass Cider Festival, Cidermass will feature hard cider tastings from 25 to 30 vendors from around the country, with an emphasis on local companies as well, Lewis said.
Pointing to Snowmass’ wine and beer festivals as examples, the longtime village resident added, “I just felt like one of the things that works up here are events where people can sample. And cider is already exploding, I just felt it was a really good fit, especially in the fall.”
Proof that Snowmass’ growth in September is not only a marketing strategy, but also an organic, local push: in 2017, Snowmass restaurateur Dave Dugan launched a festival dedicated to celebrating the month.
In an effort to up the fun, get people together and also raise money for a worthy cause, Dugan debuted Septemberfest last year.
“Let’s celebrate fall, let’s do bigger events, do some good in the world,” Dugan said. “We really want to give a reason for people to come together.”
Septemberfest will offer a marketplace-style experience in the Base Village events plaza with local vendors, restaurant booths, children’s activities, sake and wine tastings, music and more.
The goal is to offer something for everyone in the family, Dugan said.
“I think there’s a mentality in Snowmass that we have a great mountain, but if you want to have fun, go to Aspen,” he said. “It’s always going to be family-friendly, and it should be. But we can have events, we can have a nightlife.”
MOTORING CLASSIC & VINTAGE CAR RACE
(Sept. 16 to 17)
Calling all car enthusiasts — this is the weekend in Snowmass Village that will offer all things automobiles. A car show kicks off the events Sept. 15, followed by the second annual Aspen Snowmass Vintage Car Race on Sept. 16 and 17.
Presented by Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing, the two-day race will feature more than 120 high-end cars from Porsches and Ferraris to Audis and Corvettes.
For more information on Snowmass’ Motoring Classic and vintage car race, visit http://www.gosnowmass.com.
SNOWMASS WINE FESTIVAL
(Sept. 14 to 15)
Q: What beats wining and dining for a worthy cause on a beautiful fall afternoon in the mountains?
A: We don’t know.
The Rotary Club of Snowmass will host its annual wine dinner and festival mid-September.
One hundred percent of the proceeds benefit educational scholarships and nonprofit organizations throughout the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond.
The weekend will commence with a pairing dinner at the Viceroy Snowmass on Sept. 14.
Viceroy executive chef Herb Wilson will prepare the four-course “Northwest Passage” dinner, which will boast five wines from American Viticultural Areas in Oregon and Washington state.
The three-hour grand tasting will take place at Town Park Sept. 15.
Visit http://www.snowmasswinefestival.com for more.
BUT BEFORE THAT …
With a lineup that boasts time-honored traditions like the nearly 50-year-old Snowmass Balloon Festival (more on page 8) and inaugural events alike, summer in Snowmass is an eclectic mix of old meets new.
This summer, Snowmass welcomes four unique new events — AdventureOUT, Yeti Tribe, the Colorado brewery Running Series and Cidermass — creating “one of (Snowmass’) most robust event calendars ever,” Snowmass Tourism Director Rose Abello said.
On the following page is what you should know about the new guys in town …
(July 4 to 8)
The nonprofit that produces Aspen Gay Ski Week, AspenOUT, is launching a new LGBTQ event in Snowmass Village for the summer.
With an emphasis on outdoor experiences
and community building, AdventureOUT Snowmass will differ from the 41-year-old
Gay Ski Week, said Kevin McManamon, AspenOUT executive director.
“We’re not (planning it) as party-heavy as Aspen Gay Ski Week,” McManamon said, adding that AdventureOUT will focus more on daytime activities.
And in true Snowmass style, the event also will cater to families of the LGBTQ community.
“We’re marketing it to the general LGBT population, but with a little more focus on family,” McManamon said. “The LGBT family market is burgeoning (and) kind of exploding with everyone having kids, so we want to provide those folks with a family-friendly atmosphere.”
He said the timing of the event also is more convenient for families to attend than Aspen Gay Ski Week, which occurs during the school year.
Snowmass “has always been a popular stop during Gay Ski Week,” Abello said, “and we have been working with AspenOUT to develop a summer option” for about two years.
The AdventureOUT agenda so far includes activities such as hiking, biking, rafting, rock climbing, Jeeping, a farm-to-table dinner and an outdoor concert.
For more information on the inaugural LGBTQ event in Snowmass, visit http://www.adventureoutsnowmass.org.
(July 27 to 29)
The Yeti Tribe is a “diverse group of freaks that share (a) devotion” to owning and riding Yeti Cycles, according to the company’s site.
From Patagonia to Nepal, Yeti Cycles hosts gatherings in mountain regions throughout the world and Colorado, with “tribe” locations in Crested Butte, Montrose, Durango, Steamboat, Telluride and Minturn.
The gathering will include a weekend of camping in the mountains and single-track trail riding along Snowmass’ renowned trail system.
COLORADO BREWERY RUNNING SERIES
In 2012, two folks in Minnesota launched an event consisting of a 5k run that would start and end at a brewery, where a party would then follow.
After four successful years, in 2016 the duo decided to expand its series to Colorado, with a home base in the Denver metro area, said Brady Archer, Colorado Brewery Running series director of events.
By 2017, the Brewery Running Series boasted 17 races in Colorado and added several other states to the list, as well.
In August, the Colorado series will launch its first mountain trail run in Snowmass Village, beginning and ending at the New Belgium Ranger Station.
After a few years of growth and establishing a following, Archer said, “We’ve now gotten to the point where the buzz is big enough to get us into the mountains, and hopefully bring the fun with it.”
The Brewery Running Series, which will host 120 to 130 events throughout eight states this summer, donates 10 percent of its total revenue to select nonprofits each year.
For more information on the Snowmass run, visit http://www.breweryrunningseries.com
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