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Asher on Aspen: Aspen’s star-studded Snow Ball raises $2.5 million for cancer research

Attending the Aspen Snow Ball to support the fight against pediatric cancer.

Shannon Asher
Asher on Aspen
Diana Ross performs in first Aspen Snow Ball.
Nikki Hausherr / Nik House Media

It’s a quarter past 7 p.m., and the guests are just starting to arrive. I offer my keys over to the valet and tiptoe across the ice in my high heels while making my way toward the entrance of the St. Regis Aspen.

Velvet gowns with mink furs scurry inside as the tuxedos follow closely behind. Glamorous guests file in for the first-ever Aspen Snow Ball in support of Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research and the launch of Children’s Oncology Support Fund.

Immediately upon walking into the ballroom, guests are transported into a winter wonderland resembling a scene from the “Chronicles of Narnia.” Whimsical and dream-like, frosted trees and dollops of snow were scattered throughout, giving a magical and movie-like aesthetic.



Walking down the staircase leading to the ballroom, I can’t help but think of the scene from “Titanic” where Rose gracefully walks down the staircase to meet Jack.

Academy and Tony award winning actress Marcia Gay Harden gives an inspiring speech.
Nikki Hausherr / Nik House Media

The star-studded soiree featured a cocktail reception with a silent auction and a dinner program with a live auction of exclusive bucket list experiences, artwork, and fine jewelry. The dinner portion of the evening included opening remarks by film producer and host Thomas Pierce, who provided the audience with the genesis of his initiative, as well as inspiring speeches by Marcia Gay Harden and Denise Rich. Laura Calabrese Kruger received the community leadership award for her philanthropy actions supporting the Colorado-based Shining Stars Foundation.




The inaugural Aspen Snow Ball raised over $2 million for pediatric cancer research.
Nikki Hausherr / Nik House Media

The balloon’s raffle paddle raised up to $450,000 and included prizes from Lugano Diamonds, Chopard, and a luxury trip by Kempinski Grand Hotel in St. Moritz. The night continued with a live auction that showcased a variety of art pieces and one-of-a-kind luxury items and experiences. Highlights of the auction included a live painting from artist Bradley Theodore, a boutique hotel takeover in Cuba, a five-night trip with helicopter transfers to Mount Everest, and an iconic painting from Mr. Brainwash.

The live-auction bidding was fast and furious.
Nikki Hausherr / Nik House Media

After a three-course meal, we enjoyed a performance by Motown superstar Diana Ross. Having grown up listening to the Supremes with my parents, I was especially excited to see this music giant perform live. She took the stage and immediately demanded everyone’s attention with her powerful and larger-than-life demeanor. Her smile beamed bright as she performed hits like “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Baby Love,” “Where Did Our Love Go,” and “Stop! In The Name of Love.” To this day, the Supremes remain one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time.

The 78-year-old disco legend effortlessly pulled guests on the dance floor with her electric energy. Shimmying her way through an hour-long performance, Ross had everyone on their feet, dancing and singing along. She belted out timeless hits from her solo career, including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand),” and “I’m Coming Out.”

The crowd gathered in close and sang every word of the encore that featured a cover of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”

Diana Ross put in a high energy performance
Nikki Hausherr / Nik House Media

The Aspen Snow Ball brought together international celebrities, philanthropists, and notable guests from all over the world. The event helped to raise $2.5 million in support of the Children’s Oncology Support Fund’s launch and dedication to the development of more effective therapies for pediatric-cancer patients. Proceeds from the event went to Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research.

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