It’s Wintersköl time in Aspen |

It’s Wintersköl time in Aspen

It’s time to ring in the old and the new starting today with the rebirth of Wintersköl, Aspen’s long-running celebration of winter.

With new events side by side with some of the more time-honored and funky activities, this year’s theme of “Old Sköl, New Sköl, Wintersköl” represents a new face on an old tradition, organizers say. Since 1951, Wintersköl has brought locals together as a weekend-long “toast to winter.”

Hana Pevny, Aspen Chamber Resort Association president, said Wintersköl’s expansion will serve as a fun weekend for both locals and out-of-towners.

“Traditionally Wintersköl is a community event historically held because of the slow period after the winter holidays,” she said. “Like any resort we have our peaks and valleys. We want to deliver community events while at the same time positioning ourselves outside of the community as a destination resort, to bring people into town.”

And so with a re-energized Wintersköl planning committee put together by ACRA and a wealth of community support, a full schedule of events at the local ski areas emerged.

Time-honored activities such as the Wintersköl parade and the Canine Fashion Show will keep the festival’s past alive this weekend. But there are some new twists and turns in the schedule to keep participants on their toes.

Events kick off at 8 a.m. today with the Anderson Ranch Arts Center’s 10th annual “Wintersculpt” competition. Eight teams will be sculpting snow on the Hyman Avenue and Cooper Street malls in Aspen.

The large blocks of snow will turn into designs such as “Free Willy III: The Aspen Escape,” a sculpture of a killer whale trapped on a chair lift, and “Aspen: Paradise in the palm of your hand,” a portrayal of a giant hand holding a ski town.

From 3-5 p.m. on Friday, the public can meet and observe the sculpting artists in the mall area, and Anderson Ranch will provide hot cider and cookies. Judging and awards for the contests will be on Saturday morning from 9 to 10:30 ? the first-place team wins $1,500.

ACRA will present awards for the small and large local businesses of the year today at their Wintersköl opening luncheon at noon at the Crystal Palace.

Perhaps more fun, Taj Mahal will play tonight at the Wheeler Opera House at 7:30.

Friday will feature a full day of events from breakfast to apres ski at Highlands, with contests and prizes.

Anyone who rides the Highlands direct shuttle that day from Aspen can enter to win prizes such as a snowmobile trip or free product demos, while sampling free snacks from Iguana’s in Highlands Village.

Saturday is Wintersköl’s Aspen Mountain Day, featuring the traditional parade at 1 p.m. in downtown Aspen and the eighth annual World’s Fair in the Aspen mall area, featuring music and food booths.

Ink! Coffee sponsored the traditional fireworks demonstration this year, set for 8:15 p.m., which will be preceded with a torchlight descent down Little Nell at 8 p.m.

Sunday is Snowmass/Buttermilk Day, featuring an uphill race at Buttermilk at 7:30 a.m., and pancake breakfasts at each mountain. The Snowmass Pipeline Big Air Contest and Snowmass Apres Party with both be at Fanny Hill from 2-4 p.m.

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is]

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