Snowmass recreates “Banana Days” for ski area’s 50th birthday

Erica Robbie
Snowmass Sun
Jeff Featherstone and Terri Caine pose on the cover of Snowmass Magazine's winter 1986-87 issue.
Courtesy photo |

Banana Days hunting hints from Britta Gustafson

(Gustafson wrote the clues and will help hide the bananas, so you may want to take notes ...)

You may want to know where to find “Art in Unexpected Places,” where the “red lift” once was, the names of some of the regulars who were often showcased at the Leather Jug, who cleaned up after the “Great Bean Spill” of Snowmass, and the oldest business still in operation on the Mall.

A handful of Snowmass locals are going bananas in their quest to recreate one of the ski area’s wildest and wackiest pastimes: Banana Days.

The “tongue-in-cheek” banana-themed parties were all the rage on the mountain from the mid to the late ’90s, said Snowmass native Britta Gustafson.

Gustafson, who helped produce “The Story of Snowmass” history book, is one of the volunteers hoping to bring Banana Days back to life.

“We wanted to harken back to the chaos of the original event,” Gustafson said, “and I think we’re going to accomplish that.”

As such, during Snowmass’ 50th anniversary celebration next week exactly 1,967 (a nod to the ski area’s inception) bright yellow plastic bananas filled with prize certificates will be scattered throughout the Snowmass Mall, Base Village and around the mountain.

Longtime Snowmass locals Carmen Barber and Renee Fleisher solicited countless businesses and individuals in the village and beyond to collect nearly 2,000 prizes with no budget.

Both volunteers said they were overwhelmed and humbled by the community’s generosity.

“Nobody said no. That’s what’s so amazing,” Fleisher said. “And I would say a lot of people gave more than we suggested they give. We would make suggestions to them and a lot gave more.”

The three grand prizes are a three night, all-inclusive stay at the Galley Bay Resort & Spa in Antigua, a $2,500 gift card to Gorsuch and two passes to the Jazz Aspen Snowmass’ Labor Day Experience 2018.

Banana Days modern day iteration on Dec. 16 will consist of four “treasure hunts,” one of which is specifically for children. Children ages 12 and younger can pick up a trail map and clue guide (located at the lift ticket pavilion on the mall and Base Village, as well as at the Treehouse Adventure Center) starting at 10 a.m. All children who complete the scavenger hunt will receive a prize.

For adults, Banana Days features three ways to participate:

First, as early as the lifts open (8:30 a.m.), several hundred bananas can be found, without any clues, on the hill, mall and Base Village.

Gustafson said to think of this hunt as an “Easter-egg style” search.

The “Grand Banana Scavenger Hunt” and the rest of the day’s shenanigans will kick off at 10 a.m. and require hunters to rely on clues.

KSPN will broadcast the first clue to the Grand Scavenger Hunt at 10 a.m. — just like the original Banana Days, when clues were only shared via local radio stations. Another way to partake in Banana Days is to follow the hashtag #BananaDays on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to find clues.

Riddles, puns and a knack for Snowmass history will lead participants throughout the grand hunt.

A Banana Days party – complete with Carmen Miranda style costumes, banana drinks, tropical fare and live music by Damien Smith Duo – will kick off at Elk Camp Restaurant starting at 2 p.m.

Banana Days winners will be announced at the party at 2:30 p.m.

For more on Banana Days and Snowmass’ 50th anniversary weekend, visit