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Party at 12,000 feet

Tim Mutrie
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Picture a party – at 12,000 feet.

That’s exactly what the Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol is throwing this Sunday, a barbecue at 12,380 feet on the summit of Highland Peak – and everyone’s invited.

Of course, there is one stipulation: “You walk, we grill,” the patrol stated in a flyer.

A Weber gas grill is already in place at the summit, courtesy of patrollers Tim Grogan and Aaron Smith. Earlier this week, Grogan lugged the heavy grill up the ridge to the summit, while Smith shouldered the propane tank.

The barbecue is scheduled to run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. On Sunday morning, patrollers will tackle the burden of food: some 300 burgers (veggie and beef) and buns, about 25 pounds of chips and 300 cans of soda.

“I don’t really know how to weigh all this stuff, but it’s a lot,” said Highlands patroller Kevin Heinecken, snow safety supervisor. “The whole patrol will be pitching in. It’s to celebrate the Highland Bowl.”

The patrol just announced the barbecue yesterday. Heinecken said the patrol has been waiting for a favorable forecast, and they’re banking on Sunday.

“Sunday’s got a 99 percent chance of being nice,” Heinecken said. “That’s why we waited until today to announce it. Sunday’s going to be the clear-out day after this storm period, so besides being epic skiing, it should be an epic day.”

The patrol has rations for 300 people, so anyone interested in attending should buy a ticket before trudging the 705 vertical feet from the top of the Loge Peak lift to the summit of the bowl. Tickets will be available for $5 on a first-come, first-served basis at the snowcat pickup area in Loge Meadow.

“We’re selling tickets so we don’t have people hike up and then run out,” Heinecken said. “Three hundred seems like a lot, but some days a shitload of people hike up there.”

As for directions to the high-altitude luncheon, Heinecken replied: “Just look for the smoke from the grill.”


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