November 17, 2006
Aspen has hosted top-flight ski competitions since 1950, when Ajax served as the venue for the FIS U.S. Championships. That tradition continues on Aspen Mountain this week, when the world’s best female racers arrive for the Aspen Winternational. The event, the lone women’s World Cup stop on American soil this season, features giant slalom and slalom disciplines. Olympic gold medalist Julia Mancuso will look to maintain her momentum when giant slalom kicks off the racing, Saturday, Nov. 25, at 10 a.m., with finals scheduled for 1 p.m. Mancuso was the top American giant slalom racer, finishing 12th in Aspen last December. Slalom takes place Sunday, Nov. 26, with qualifying at 10 a.m. and finals at 1 p.m. An experienced American contingent that includes Vail’s Lindsey Kildow, Resi Steigler and Stacey Cook will look to start strong in the race for the World Cup overall crown. The excitement continues off-mountain. The Apres-ski Street Party hits the Gondola Plaza Friday through Sunday, Nov. 24-26. And Saturday, Nov. 25, brings ’80s ska sensation the English Beat for the season’s first Hi-Fi concert at 6:30 p.m. on the plaza, with a fireworks display following.
The first song on “Facelift,” the debut album by Alice in Chains, was titled “We Die Young.” It couldn’t have been more prescient, for either the band or the Seattle grunge scene Alice in Chains helped usher in. Grunge had a glorious moment in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and its credo of death and struggle couldn’t have been better punctuated by the 1994 suicide of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain. Alice in Chains, which drew from metal more than their counterparts, also added to the grunge lore. Lead singer Layne Staley’s heroin addiction led to the band’s collapse in the late ’90s, and to his own demise in 2002. Last year, the surviving members – guitarist Jerry Cantrell, drummer Sean Kinney and bassist Mike Inez – reunited for a benefit concert for victims of the Asian tsunami. The band is currently on a full tour with William DuVall, who has played in Cantrell’s solo projects, handling vocals. The tour stops at Belly Up on Tuesday, Nov. 21. A two-CD compilation, “The Essential Alice in Chains,” was released in September.
Earlier this year, Aspenites heard from the late Janis Joplin through Theatre Aspen’s hit production of “Love, Janis.” Now we hear from another singer star whose life was cut short. “Always, Patsy Cline,” like “Love, Janis,” mixes songs and the singer’s private thoughts, and it is based, like “Love, Janis,” on an ongoing correspondence. Cline, the country star who died in 1963, at the age of 30, maintained a friendship via the U.S. mail with Louise Seger, a Houston housewife and avid fan. Ted Swindley’s play, which premiered in 1990, focuses on the evening Seger hears of Cline’s death in a plane crash and features a mix of narrative and songs, such as “Crazy,” Sweet Dreams” and “Walkin’ After Midnight.” Aspen Stage’s production, featuring local talent Jeannie Walla as Cline and Cara Daniel as Seger, plays at the Wheeler Opera House Saturday and Sunday evenings, Nov. 25-26, plus a matinee on Sunday.