Apres in the Alps: Aspen’s World Cup Village
World Cup fans and visitors from all pockets of the world on Thursday lounged in brightly painted chairs crafted from old skis while soaking in the sun, sights of Aspen Mountain and sounds of Bavarian polka music.
With beer and other libations in hand, the vibe at Aspen’s World Cup Village proved true to its “Apres in the Alps” theme.
“The band is very authentic German-style,” said Munich resident Rita Pitter.
Pitter, visiting Aspen to spectate the World Cup races, said the Bavarian band sounded “exactly the same” as the performers at Oktoberfest in Munich.
Sporting traditional Bavarian garb, the Denver Kickers Schuhplattlers performed live polka music, dance and entertainment, which included trumpets, tambourines and the occasional yodeling.
“I think some people are seeing some things they’ve never seen before in their lives,” said Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle on Thursday as he observed the action on the patio.
“It’s a great feeling. It’s an international feeling,” Hanle said. “And we couldn’t ask for better weather.”
On a sunny and unseasonably warm mid-March afternoon with temperatures in the low 60s, several sunbathers opted for shorts and sandals, while at least two people wore bathing suits.
World Cup Village-goers on Thursday were in high spirits and reported positives experiences in Aspen thus far.
“The town is so charming. I love that we can walk everywhere,” said Rosie McBride, visiting from Chicago for the World Cup Finals.
“We can’t even put into words how great it’s been,” added McBride’s friend, Carie Leo, also visiting Aspen from Chicago for the races.
The self-proclaimed “big skiers” said they enjoyed skiing Snowmass Mountain on Wednesday and also watching the races both days.
Compared with her experience going to ski races in Europe, Pitter said she was impressed by both the lack of crowds and admission fees.
“We have to pay a lot of money to watch races (in Europe),” she said. “But it’s also much more crowded.”
Referencing Aspen’s nightlife, Pitter added, “We also really like the locations in the evening.”
After the polka bands put down their instruments, Wagner Park kept the vibe going when Vintage Trouble took the stage with their retro soul and blues rock sound. It was the first of three free concerts this weekend at the Village.
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Under bluebird skies with 160 acres under their boots, hundreds of skiers and snowboarders took to Aspen Mountain for opening day Wednesday.