Snowmass to offer Food & Wine events |

Snowmass to offer Food & Wine events

Jill Beathard
The Aspen Times
A pig roasts over a wood fire at a Heritage Fire event. The organizers of Grand Cochon, a pork culinary competition that has been in Aspen the past few years, are bringing that as well as their outdoor-cooking event Heritage Fire to Snowmass Village during Food & Wine weekend this year.
Courtesy photo |

For the first time in more than 10 years, Snowmass Village will once again share in the festivities of the Food & Wine Classic.

Grand Cochon, a culinary competition centered on heritage breed pork, has been held at the Hotel Jerome in Aspen during Food & Wine weekend for the past five years. This year, it will be at the Viceroy Snowmass, and organizers are bringing another event of live outdoor cooking to Base Village that weekend as well.

The Food & Wine Classic started in 1983, and during its first decade, events were held in both Aspen and Snowmass Village. Since then, Snowmass has mostly just served to house guests and staff for the event, said Fred Brodsky, Snowmass Tourism’s group sales director, and up until this fall, interim director.

“Since Food & Wine left Snowmass, we’ve kind of been on the sidelines,” he told the Snowmass Village Town Council on Tuesday. “We were never satisfied with that.”

Grand Cochon is the finale to Cochon 555, a 10-city tour of culinary competitions, according to the Cochon website. Ten finalists will create their best dishes at the event, which is June 20, in the Viceroy Grand Ballroom.

Preceding Grand Cochon is the Heritage Fire barbecue June 19 in Base Village. Started in Napa Valley, chefs in Heritage Fire cook whole animals over outdoor wood fires and offer guests pairings of wine and other spirits, as well.

Grand Cochon and Heritage Fire are on separate tickets from the Food & Wine Classic pass. A Food & Wine kickoff party hosted by Aspen Magazine also will return to Snowmass this summer.

Snowmass Tourism presented its entire summer event calendar at the Town Council meeting Tuesday. Another big event added this year is the Colorado Scottish Festival, a 50-year-old celebration of Celtic heritage that is moving to Snowmass from Highlands Ranch.

And Tough Mudder, an obstacle-course event that brought more than 10,000 people to the village last year, is back and adding a second event in August. Mudderella, a version of the course just for women, will be Aug. 22.

While both the Scottish Festival and Mudderella have drawn numbers in the tens of thousands when held in major cities, Snowmass Tourism officials weren’t sure how many they would bring to the village. Brodsky does think, however, that both could lead to sold-out hotels in Snowmass.

Last year was a record summer for sales and occupancy in Snowmass. It also was the start of a new approach on the part of Snowmass Tourism, which includes producing what it calls “world-class” events throughout the summer and using them as leverage to entice groups looking for entertainment during their visits.

Many of those events, such as Tough Mudder, the Wanderlust yoga festival, Deaf Camp Picnic and, of course, the free concert series, are returning this year. There weren’t many strong events last August, though. Mudderella as well as the Scottish festival, a Mini Cooper gathering and the returning Ragnar Relay are helping fill in that gap.

Brodsky said he doesn’t think any competing resort towns have as many quality events as Snowmass. Even Telluride, known worldwide for its music festivals, doesn’t have the diversity that Snowmass’ calendar boasts, he said.

“I don’t think anyone touches us anymore,” Brodsky said.