Winterfest highlights Redstone’s draw as ice-climbing mecca |

Winterfest highlights Redstone’s draw as ice-climbing mecca

Julie Albrecht/Special to The Aspen TimesAn ice climber maneuvers his way up a frozen path near Redstone. The community up the Crystal River Valley is hosting the first Redstone Winterfest this weekend.

REDSTONE – Wintertime in Redstone isn’t just about dogs and sled-dog racing anymore.

In fact, the inaugural Redstone Winterfest this weekend is intended, in part, to showcase another attraction on the frozen Crystal River Valley landscape that has been growing in popularity – ice climbing.

“Ice climbers know the Crystal Valley as a somewhat tucked-away, unknown destination for great climbing,” said Becky Trembley of the Redstone Community Association, who is one of the organizers of the event.

Duane Raleigh, a Redstone resident who is also editor and publisher of the Carbondale-based magazine Rock and Ice, has teamed up with Dick Jackson of Aspen Expeditions to help draw some attention to the sport through Winterfest.

Jackson holds permits and insurance for ice climbing in the Crystal River Valley, and will be on hand organizing ice-climbing demos during the weekend.

The festival begins Friday evening with a beer tasting and live music at the Expo Tent, which will be set up on the lawn of the Redstone Inn for the weekend.

Besides climbing, there’ll be dog-skijoring clinics, a Saturday dog parade on Redstone Boulevard, snowshoe and nordic races, a scavenger hunt, a kids ski run and snow sculpting.

Evening events include live music and screenings of the German film “North Face.”

Although the annual sled-dog races will not be happening this year, Trembley said the plan is to bring them back in the future. The key organizer was not available to put the event together this year, and the Community Association had been looking to expand the winter festival theme anyway. So, it was the perfect opportunity to make the break and do something different this winter that would have some broader appeal, she said.

“We’ve been wanting to take it up a notch, and make it more of a rounded weekend of winter activities,” Trembley said. “It’s going to be bigger and better than ever, especially with the ice climbing.”

A few events that have become part of the sled-dog race weekend in recent years will continue, including the dog parade and the ice sculpting.

“Ski-joring is also a big event, and it’s a great replacement for the sled dogs,” she said. “It’s kind of taken off and built some momentum of its own in this valley.”

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