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A toast to winter

Stewart Oksenhorn

Winterskl, Aspen’s annual toast to winter, will bring a host of activities to local ski areas and downtown Aspen for the next four days. As always, the celebration promises something for everyone, from music, and fireworks to races and pancakes.

Winterskl opens today. At 8 a.m., the sculptors of Wintersculpt will begin creating their snow sculptures on Aspen’s downtown pedestrian malls. The Aspen Chamber Resort Association and Winterskl awards luncheon is set for the Crystal Palace Restaurant at noon.

“Annapurna at 50,” a reception with legendary climber Maurice Herzog, will be held at the Wheeler Opera House at 4 p.m., followed at 5:30 p.m. by a screening of the film “Annapurna at 50” and a lecture by Herzog. The Valleyskl Family Skating Party is at the Silver

Circle Ice Rink at 4:30 p.m., with an exhibition by the Aspen Skating Club at 6 p.m. The Aspen Music Festival goes right to the heart of Winterskl tradition in presenting Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes in an Artist Recital Concert at Harris Hall at 7:30 p.m.

Tomorrow is Highlands Day, with activities centered around Highlands. The Apple Strudel Downhill Race is at 10 a.m., followed at noon by the Budweiser Freestyle Friday Alpine Race on Scarlett’s Run. The Linked-Arm Slalom Race is at 4 p.m., with the Budweiser Aprs-Ski and Snowboard Bash at the Thunderbowl Caf at 3:30 p.m. Budweiser beer will be available for purchase and consumption.

Also tomorrow, the Kidsculpt sculpture competition begins on the Aspen pedestrian malls at 8 a.m.; the Winterskl Children’s Art Exhibition opens at the Red Brick Arts and Recreation Center, and the Nordic Progressive Bonfire Dinner is at the Aspen Golf Course at 6:30 p.m. RootsJam 2000, a benefit concert for GrassRoots TV featuring exciting John Oates, is at the Wheeler Opera House at 8 p.m., and the Yonder Mountain String Band is at the Double Diamond later that night.

Saturday is Aspen Day, with activities centered around Aspen Mountain. The day begins with the Wintersculpt judging at 9 a.m., and the morning continues with the Storefront Window Decorating Contest and the crowd-pleasing Canine Fashion Show in Paepcke Park at noon.

The Winterskl Parade heads down Main Street in Aspen at 1 p.m., and the fifth annual Winterskl World’s Fair is on the mall area from noon to 3 p.m. The Kids’ Fun Snowshoe Obstacle Course is at Wagner Park playground at noon, with the History of Winterskl exhibit in the Wheeler lobby at noon. The Wintersculpt awards party is at the Hotel Jerome at 3:30 p.m. Capping off the day will be the torchlight descent and fireworks extravaganza, on and over Aspen Mountain, respectively, beginning at 8 p.m.

Sunday brings a final day of Winterskl action, centered at Buttermilk and Snowmass. Action at Buttermilk begins with the free Redfeather snowshoe demos at 7 a.m., with the Uphill Race set for 7:30 a.m. A pancake breakfast follows at 8 a.m. at the Cliffhouse Restaurant.

At Snowmass, the pancake breakfast begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Ullrhof Restaurant. Party on the Mountain is at the Spider Sabich Race Arena, and features races, a Hula-Hoop contest and music by local band Jes’ Grew. The Ski Splash is at 2 p.m. outside The Silvertree Hotel and Winterskl 2000, themed Think Globally, Celebrate Locally, concludes with an Hawaiian Tropic Bikini Contest at the Double Diamond.


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