Snowmass goes bananas for its 50th anniversary celebration | AspenTimes.com

Snowmass goes bananas for its 50th anniversary celebration

Banana-costume clad folks danced in their onesies and tutus, children followed "treasure maps" leading them to bright yellow plastic bananas, competitors sprinted in their ski boots in search of the next clue, and event organizers chaotically swapped participants their vouchers for prizes.

The scene from Snowmass on Saturday truly was bananas as the ski area recreated one of its wackiest pastimes from 1985 until sometime in the mid- to late-90s: Banana Days.

While the activities were fun and silly, the Banana Days prizes were serious.

Snowmass residents Margot Ellis and Katie McKirahan won the grand prize — a three night, all-inclusive stay at the Galley Bay Resort & Spa in Antigua — while Cindy LaMar, also from Snowmass, scored a $2,500 gift card to Gorsuch.

Snowmass native Jessica Coxon earned the third place prize with two VIP tickets to Jazz Aspen Snowmass' Labor Day Experience in September.

"I have to say I've never ran around or on the mountain like that. I did so much running," Coxon, 21, said after the hunt. "It was definitely insane."

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LaMar echoed, "When I say that we ran, we literally ran up and down Snowmelt Road. Two of us had asthma attacks."

"The thing I think that helped us is that we skied really, really fast," she added.

Speed and a strong knowledge of Snowmass were the ticket to winning the grand scavenger hunt, which challenged competitor's village history.

"Last night I read all the Town of Snowmass Village history," McKirahan said. "I tried to memorize it."

McKirahan, who has lived in Snowmass for 11 years, said she also researched the resort in Antigua online.

"Getting motivated," Ellis added, with a laugh.

Coxon said she brought a copy of this week's Snowmass Sun, which included a historical timeline of Snowmass Village, with her on the hunt.

"It was so much fun," Coxon said of the day's events. "I wish we did Banana Days more often."

Ellis, McKirahan, LaMar and Coxon weren't the only winners Saturday — every child who completed his or her treasure hunt received a prize and hundreds of other awards were distributed.

"The AVSC kids are cleaning up," Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club coach Oliver Bacharach said. "It's been a fun, banana-filled day and (it's) taking up most of our snowboard time. Instead of doing 180s, we're finding and hiding bananas."

Josh George and his family, also of Snowmass, altogether found 66 bananas throughout the day.

George, 15, said they arrived to the hill at 8:15 a.m., waited for the lifts to start spinning at 8:30 a.m. and immediately spotted a dozen bananas in a tree while riding one of the first chairs.

"We were literally throwing them down the mountain because we couldn't carry them all," he said.

Britta Gustafson, one of the main Banana Days organizers said, "I think everybody had a blast today, and that's all we wanted to have happen."

"I'm never leaving (Snowmass). We're going to be here for the next scavenger hunt," McKirahan said. "We're looking forward to winning the 100 year hunt."

erobbie@aspentimes.com

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