High Country: Roots Rx raises largest donation to date for AspenOUT | AspenTimes.com

High Country: Roots Rx raises largest donation to date for AspenOUT

The dispensary do-gooder collected $60,000 during Pride Month, which was announced during the Downhill Costume Contest at Aspen Gay Ski Week.

Katie Shapiro
High Country

Drag queen star “Miss MariamT,” the host of Aspen Gay Ski Week’s Downhill Costume Contest, pops confetti in celebration Jan. 21 on Gondola Plaza.
Paula Mayer/Special to The Aspen Times

The legendary Downhill Costume Contest during Aspen Gay Ski Week was made even more memorable this year with a special announcement to the tune of $60,000.

In what is the highest single-dollar amount received in Aspen Gay Ski Week’s 45 year history, Colorado cannabis retail chain Roots Rx raised the funds in June of last year as a result of a LGBTQ Pride Month giveback campaign from a percentage of sales across all six Roots Rx locations (Aspen, Basalt, Eagle-Vail, Edwards, Leadville and Gunnison).

“AspenOUT and Aspen Gay Ski Week are so honored to have Roots Rx as our largest donor ever,” noted AspenOUT executive director Kevin McManamon. “They have been such a strong supporter of ours for many years now, and we are looking forward to collaborating with them, again, for 2023.”

Participating brands included 1906, Ascend, Canyon, Dixie, Escape Artists, Foria, Incredibles, Iovia, Mary’s Medicinals, NFuzed, Ripple, The Lab, Wana and Willie’s Reserve.

AspenOUT executive director Kevin McManamon and board president Melissa Temple during Aspen Gay Ski Week’s annual Downhill Costume Contest on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022.
Rising Sun Photography/Aspen Skiing Company

Initially signing on as a sponsor in 2019, Roots Rx has made philanthropy a pillar of its company culture — other regional efforts range from supporting local food banks to the Wildland Firefighters Foundation and Shaw Cancer Center. As the official dispensary for Aspen Gay Ski Week attendees, Roots Rx hosted a brand showcase in the Hospitality Suite at the Limelight Hotel Aspen to share branded swag, educational materials and drive guests to both the Aspen and Basalt stores to shop for discounted products legally.

“We’ve always wanted to do way more than just make a rainbow logo — so instead, we decided to allocate as much money as we could toward AspenOut to help support the proactive services they provide for people in a time of need both locally and nationally,” said Roots Rx general manager Brittany Crane.

“(AspenOUT’s) fundraising efforts (overall) result in scholarships in the Roaring Fork Valley, as well as get distributed to outside, nationwide organizations supporting the LGBTQ community — including crucial suicide prevention resources,” added Roots Rx assistant general manager of retail Melanie Lemmer. “But we truly just love the love that this event spreads through our community and how it makes a difference. It’s the most special time to be in Aspen!”

Lemmer was also granted the honor of participating as a judge for the spirited event (the donation was announced during her introduction), hosted by drag queen star “Miss Mariam T,” alongside the likes of Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo, influencer John Willam Barger, Dallas city councilman Chad West and Captain Sandy Yawn from Bravo’s “Below Deck Mediterranean.”

Celebrity guest judge Captain Sandy Yawn from Bravo’s “Below Deck Mediterranean.”
Rising Sun Photography/Aspen Skiing Company

“The talented lineup of skiers and riders is always so entertaining — they had me laughing, crying and so proud to be part of this amazing event,” Lemmer reflected. “Every year, I savor every moment of Aspen Gay Ski Week — it’s an opportunity for me and our entire team to fill our cups with acceptance and gratitude.”


Roots Rx Aspen

400 E. Hyman Ave. (lower level)


Roots Rx Basalt

165 Southside Drive




Aspen Times Weekly

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“Without any exception the worst snow storm known since the advent of the railroad west of Leadville has been raging over the crest of the continental divide since last Thursday,” asserted the Aspen Tribune on January 31, 1899.

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