Spring Jam takes over Aspen Mtn. | AspenTimes.com

Spring Jam takes over Aspen Mtn.

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The Aspen Skiing Co.’s annual tribute to spring won’t suffer because the season came a bit early this year.

The 180 Spring Jam – the weeklong, citywide celebration that heralds the end of another ski season – will kick off today regardless of the slushy conditions created by weeks of warming temperatures. The semisnowy slopes shouldn’t hinder the last week of the season, Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said, though they may necessitate a bit of shoveling.

“No matter what the weather does, we’ll be able to do everything,” he said. “We might have to move some snow and stuff, but I don’t think at this point that it’s jeopardizing any of the scheduled events.”

The only thing that might be in jeopardy due to the slushfest is the area reserved for audiences at the base of Aspen Mountain. The base of Little Nell offers a nice viewing area for spectators of the many races and exhibitions associated with the Spring Jam. But those hoping to stay dry during the events might want to avoid a front-row seat.

“Yes, it will be slushy at the landing, so if you don’t want to get slushy, move back,” Hanle laughed.

Slush was a bit of a problem for last year’s festival, too, but the Spring Jam is still back for a second year. And though the highlight of the seasonal celebration might be cheap lift tickets – $39 for the day – all of the events made popular by the first Spring Jam are back for another round.

The festival schedule kicks off today with “Ski Bums,” a documentary/tribute presented by Aspen Filmfest to set the mood for the week. The film also introduces another year of Aspen Shortsfest, running April 9-13, giving Spring Jam participants a break whenever they tire of skiing or their hectic apres-skiing schedules.

The most anticipated events of the festival pick up on Saturday and Sunday with two big races and the start of the Free Concert Series. First up is the Wild Dash for Cash, a “gladiatorlike” ski race that will send participants on a chaotic scramble from the top of Aspen Mountain to the base of Ruthie’s for $7,500 in prize money. The opportunity for cash and prizes continues Saturday afternoon with the KickAspen Big Air Invitational, which invites skiers and boarders to show off a few favorite stunts.

Later that day, the first free concert of the week will feature Bouncing Souls at the base of Aspen Mountain. The Silver Queen Gondola area will play host to one free concert each day of the Spring Jam. Residents and visitors can listen to the music and enjoy daily apres parties held at the base of the ski slope.

On Sunday, the Jib Jam on Aspen Mountain will feature rail contests for both skiers and snowboarders. At Snowmass, the Wild Tube Races will send teams of two people down the ski area’s halfpipe. And those who want to be considered for the $1,000 grand prize must be sure to cling to their teammate during the entire ride.

Monday through Thursday will offer more selections of the free concert series, and things pick up again during the second Spring Jam weekend with the speedcross and slopestyle competitions on Aspen Mountain. The festival concludes on April 14 with the free Chris Klug Retro Fun Race. Skiers and snowboarders of every ability level are invited to join the Olympian in a race down the Little Nell, as long as they’re dressed in “retro” gear. Then, at 3 p.m., Boogie Machine will play the last concert in the free series.

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