Time for a midwinter blast
There will be pancakes for the hungry, a fashion show for the four-legged. There will be snow sculpting for the artistically inclined, and races galore for the speed freaks.For everyone there will be, of course, fireworks and a parade.And to top it all off, there will be the blues.It’s Wintersköl ’99, the 48th annual celebration of midwinter in Aspen. The toast to winter kicks off Thursday under the banner of this year’s theme, “Forever Young ’til the End of Time,” and runs through Sunday, Jan. 17.The centerpiece of the celebration is Saturday’s Wintersköl Party, which begins at The Rock nightclub at 8:30 p.m., immediately following the fireworks extravaganza over Aspen Mountain. Producing some fireworks of their own at the party will be the Texas blues combo of guitarist Smokin’ Joe Kubek and vocalist-guitarist Bnois King.Wintersköl ’99 begins on Thursday with the Wintersculpt Snowcarving Contest, run in conjunction with the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, on the downtown Aspen pedestrian malls.Also on Thursday is the Aspen Chamber Resort Association’s Wintersköl and awards luncheon at the Crystal Palace Theatre at noon. The Silver Circle Ice Rink will be the site of the Valleysköl Family Skating Party at 4:30 p.m., followed by an exhibition by the Aspen Skating Club at 6 p.m.Friday is Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands Day, with events centered around those two ski areas. The Buttermilk day opens with an Uphill Race at 7 a.m. and a pancake breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Events at Highlands include the Apple Strudel Downhill Race at 10 a.m., the Budweiser Freestyle Friday and Alpine Freestyle Race from noon to 1 p.m., and the Budweiser Après-ski & Snowboard Bash at the Thunderbowl Cafe at 3:30 p.m. Ending the day on Friday is the Nordic Progressive bonfire at the Aspen Golf Course.Saturday will be Aspen Mountain Day. The day begins with the judging of Wintersculpt at 9 a.m., and the judging of the Window Decorating Contest at 10 a.m. Free tethered balloon rides will be offered in Wagner Park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the Canine Fashion Show is set for noon in Paepcke Park. The 4th annual Wintersköl World’s Fair will take place on the downtown malls from noon to 3 p.m., and the Wintersköl Parade through downtown Aspen is set to start at 1 p.m.The evening events begin with the torchlight descent down Aspen Mountain at 8 p.m., followed by the fireworks display at 8:15 p.m. and the Wintersköl Party at 8:30.Sunday, Jan. 17 is Snowmass Mountain Day, which starts off with a pancake breakfast at 8:30 a.m. The day also includes speed skiing on the Upper Slot Race Course, and free racing (with a Wintersköl button) and the Fire Department Centipede Races at the Spider Sabich Race Area. The Mad Hatter Treasure Hunt is at the Cirque Café at 11 a.m. Another highlight of Wintersköl is the Ski Splash at the Silvertree Hotel upper pool.Snowmass Day concludes with the Mad Hatter Après-ski Party at the Cirque Café.For further information on Wintersköl ’99 activities, call ACRA at 925-1940.
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Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.