Winterskl: 56 years old and counting |

Winterskl: 56 years old and counting

Stewart OksenhornAspen, CO Colorado
Shakedown Street, a Grateful Dead tribute band from Colorado, plays a Winterskl concert Friday at Aspen Highlands Village. (Stewart Oksenhorn/The Aspen Times)

ASPEN Exactly what would you call an event that is broad enough to encompass something called Gandalf Murphy & the Slambovian Circus of Dreams and a screening of Singin in the Rain (with an introduction by an octogenarian musical historian), a canine fashion show and something called the Mens Health Village?In Aspen, we call it Winterskl. The individual events may have been updated over the years: the Grateful Dead were still 15 years from beginning their long, strange trip in 1952, when the first Winterskl was held; this year, 13 years after the demise of the Dead, there is a Grateful Dead tribute band among the attractions. Still, the baseline idea remains the same: Aspenites entertaining themselves in the post-holiday, mid-January quiet time.Following is a selection of Winterskl events, from the time-honored to the groundbreaking.Thursday, Jan. 10 Wintersklpt, begins 8 a.m., Aspen downtown malls: The Anderson Ranch Arts Center annual snow-sculpture competition features enormous blocks of snow, six teams of artists, various chiseling devices, and the best venue imaginable for displaying public art. Judging takes place Saturday morning. Aspen Chamber Resort Association Opening Luncheon, noon, Crystal Palace: This long-standing tradition may carry on, but not at the Crystal Palace. The building housing Aspens venerable dinner theater has been sold, thus marking the true end of an era. Get your laughs in now. Art After Hours, 5-7 p.m., Aspen Art Museum: Featuring a conversation between Art Museum director Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson and Dominic Molon, who contributed to the catalogue for the museums current exhibit, Karen Kilimnik. The Laugh Your Aspen Off All-stars, 8 p.m., Wheeler Opera House: Chuckle your butt loose to the observations of local comedians. Its free.Friday, Jan. 11 Mens Health Village, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Free, open to everyone (presumably, non-men), and packed with health-related information, services and products. Rail Jam, 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Snowmass Village: A new event, featuring competitive rail-riding and music spun by DJ Mechanik. Shakedown Street, 3 p.m., Aspen Highlands Village: This Colorado band has had its own long, strange trip, covering the Dead for over 20 years. Soupskl, 5:30-7:30 p.m., downtown Aspen: Free soup! The best addition to Winterskl since the invention of the chairlift. Fireworks, 7 p.m., Snowmass Mountain Gandalf Murphy & the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, 8 p.m., Wheeler: Despite the name, this upstate New York quartet plays a rootsy brand of folk-rock.Saturday, Jan. 12 Canine Fashion Show, noon, corner of Cooper Avenue and Galena Street: Dogs in clothes. Hilarity ensues. Winterskl Parade, 2 p.m., downtown Aspen: The tradition is old; the parade route, for some reason, is new. Aspen Skating Club exhibition, 3:30 p.m., Aspen Ice Garden: The local skate-kids lace em up. Fireworks, 7 p.m., over Aspen Mountain: Has it really been a full week and a half since we last had fireworks over Aspen Mountain? How did we survive? Torchlight Descent, 8:15 p.m., Little Nell: A lovely site that hasnt gotten old. Robert Earl Keen, 9 p.m., Wheeler: Perhaps the oddest Winterskl tradition. This Texas singer-songwriter puts a little twang into Winterskl for the third straight year.Sunday, Jan. 13 Hike for Hope Uphill Race, 7:30 a.m., Buttermilk: Yes, theres a pancake breakfast awaiting at the top, and yes, you need to remember to bring cash the entry fee for the race doesnt include the flapjacks. Singin in the Rain, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m., Wheeler: Aspen musical film historian Bob Klineman introduces the 1952 Gene Kelly classic, and follows it with a Q&A

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