The Aspen Highlands party goes on
The Aspen Times
Bacon Appreciation Day is Sunday at Buttermilk
In celebration of Buttermilk’s closing day, the mountain hosts an annual Bacon Appreciation Day featuring a schedule of all things bacon including bacon waffles at the summit in the morning, bacon samplers around the mountain throughout the day, kid’s games in the base area, a bacon and beer happy hour at Bumps restaurant as well as a bartenders brawl featuring Aspen Skiing Company bartenders duking it out for the honors of the best bacon inspired cocktail. A cost is associated with the lunches, happy hour and the bartender’s brawl, but all other bacon items are free while supplies last.
The Bacon Appreciation Day Uphill begins at the base of the mountain at 7:30 a.m.
Aspen Highlands’ extended ski season means the mountain’s infamous closing-day party will not actually mark the end of the season.
But will this impact the magnitude and scale of its closing day celebration?
Of all four mountains’ closing days, Highlands closing day “is the one,” said Aspen Skiing Co. Mountain Operations Manager Rich Burkley.
Highlands closing day is its own animal, which Aspen Highlands Mountain Manager Kevin Haggerty dates back to the mountain’s pre-Aspen Skiing Co. era in the 1990s.
“It’s always been a party, but the scale certainly seems to get bigger every year,” Burkley said.
Last season, Highlands closing day party drew at least 4,000 people, Burkley said, and skiing was nowhere near some peoples’ radars.
In fact, many people arrived at the mountain in street clothes ready to party at 2 p.m., Burkley said.
People also travel from all over to attend the Highlands closing-day party, Burkley said, noting that he has friends in Denver who know of other Front Rangers who drive hours to make it to the coveted celebration.
“I’ve talked with people from Vail who say they come to Aspen every year for Highlands closing day,” Burkley said. “It’s pretty funny, because we don’t go to Vail for their end-of-season parties.”
Haggerty said closing day can be a little stressful when people get out of hand, but that he and his Skico colleagues “just try and embrace it” as best they can.
“We just want people to be safe getting down the hill,” Haggerty said. “Once they get to the bottom, they can let loose.”
Despite herds of commuting partiers, Highlands closing day celebration still has “more local flavor” than any other closing-day celebration, Burkley said.
Aspen resident Whitney Hubbell said the party is exemplary of Aspen culture and lifestyle.
“It brings the whole community together in celebration of the end of the season — culminating in an unforgettable celebration,” she said.
Tenants at the city’s oldest deed-restricted housing complex, Centennial Apartments, faced rent hikes as high as 30% in January that sent city, county, and APCHA officials into closed-door meetings with the relatively new landlord, Birge & Held.