Village Voices: Despite COVID-19, trivia in Snowmass Village lives on

A behind the scenes look at the workspace and new virtual Tuesday trivia space. Since March 31, host Elliott Audette has shifted the in-person trivia night usually held at the New Belgium Ranger Station in Snowmass Village online to a new Snowmass Village Trivia YouTube page as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
Elliott Audette/courtesy photo

Although the novel coronavirus pandemic has halted a lot of group activities in Snowmass Village over the past month, Tuesday night trivia is not one of them.

After the Snowmass ski season ended March 14 and the New Belgium Ranger Station temporarily closed its doors as a result of the pandemic, the weekly trivia competition found a new venue online.

And since this virtual debut, trivia host Elliott Audette said people from Snowmass Village and beyond have tuned in for the game night each week, still finding a way to connect and unwind despite the COVID-19 crisis.

“It seems a little silly at first but it has some of the same vibes and is super fun,” Audette said.

Although he said the online Tuesday trivia night is going well so far, he was reluctant to start it up at first.

Audette worried it would feel forced or obnoxious if he was just “screaming at a computer,” but with a little boost from his Snowmass friends and trivia followers he decided to give it a try, creating a teaser video and using the remaining trivia games he had prepared for in-person to start.

Through live streaming himself host the trivia night via YouTube, having participants submit their answers through an app on their phones and encouraging interaction with each other through Google Hangout, Zoom and YouTube live chat, Audette said so far he’s been able to keep part of the same lively Ranger Station trivia spirit alive virtually. About 30 to 50 people have joined in each Tuesday over the past four weeks, Audette said, and he is happy the virtual platform allows his East Coast and West Coast friends to all play together in one place.

“I was super hesitant to start it up at first because the whole fun is interacting with the audience and teams at the bar. I didn’t see how that could work online,” Audette said.

“It’s definitely very different than in-person but it fills the same void of getting the community together. … It’s turned out great.”

Once the Ranger Station and the rest of Snowmass Village businesses and restaurants can safely reopen and host larger group sizes, Audette said he’ll start up the in-person Tuesday trivia again.

However, given the success of the virtual game night and his desires to expand weekly trivia and opportunities to connect in the village, he also hopes to keep the online platform going. Audette plans to live stream his in-person games at the Ranger Station but also to potentially creating specific themed, online-only trivia.

Regardless of being able to host trivia in-person or online, Audette feels it remains a good way for friends and neighbors to interact with one another and offers a break from COVID-19 news.

“I think it’s definitely helping everyone stay more sane and feel a bit more normal through all of this,” Audette said. “There’s no politics, no deep discussions on all of the bad stuff, just a two hour escape. That’s the most important part.”

Tuesday’s online trivia night can be found at the Snowmass Village Trivia YouTube page.