Outside in Aspen adventure weekend returns
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – Have you ever wished you could climb a fourteener with renowned ski mountaineer Chris Davenport or discover the techniques for capturing dynamic images from award-winning photographer Lucas Gilman, whose work has graced the pages of National Geographic, Sports Illustrated and The New York Times?
Have you dreamed of scaling Independence Pass’ vaunted rock walls with Jake Norton, who recently summited Everest for a seventh time, or taking a hike with famed polar explorer Eric Larsen and Aspen’s Christy Mahon – the first woman to climb and ski all of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks?
Sound a bit far-fetched? Not this weekend.
It’s all possible – and it’s all here.
The third annual Outside in Aspen, which unites athletes and outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds in this idyllic Rocky Mountain setting for the ultimate adventure weekend, returns Friday.
The event, born from a collaboration between Outside magazine and the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, kicks off tonight with a slideshow presentation by Gilman at the Ute Mountaineer and a welcome reception at the Sky Hotel.
“It’s always nice to get out in the mountains. Everybody who lives in Aspen and spends time outside can appreciate how amazing these mountains and our recreational opportunities are,” Davenport said Wednesday. “I love showing that off and sharing it with people from out of town.”
“We really love and have connections to Aspen, which is the ultimate ‘Outside’ town,” added Christine Salem, Outside’s specialty-publishing director. “For us, this weekend provides the opportunity to bring our magazine completely to life.”
Those who descend on this small ski town this weekend will be treated to a wide range of activities. Adventure Base Camp, at Aspen Mountain’s Gondola Plaza, will feature everything from a kids nature corner and product demonstrations to free yoga, music and massages.
Sunday afternoon, a group of pro athletes will gather there for a symposium titled “Adventure Saves the World: The Role of Explorers and Athletes in Social Activism and Philanthropy.”
Davenport is among those expected to take part in the panel discussion, which starts at 3 p.m. Before that, he’s slated to guide a climb on 14,265-foot Castle Peak on Saturday, which, coincidentally, is national Get Outdoors Day.
“They will get to experience a gorgeous mountain in a way they were not able to do on their own. There’s a lot to be said for that,” Davenport said. “It’s nice to get out, share my knowledge and inspire some people.”
Davenport’s Castle Peak trip is just one of myriad high-country excursions being offered. On Saturday and Sunday, participants can sign up for $100, half-day, elite-athlete-led clinics ranging from road and mountain biking to rafting, stand-up paddle boarding, fly-fishing and rock climbing among others.
Mahon and Larsen are planning to lead a hike to Willow or Buckskin passes.
“The lack of snow is somewhat good for this. This is the first big weekend to get out and explore,” Mahon said Thursday. “I just took a walk through town, and Aspen is so gorgeous right now, so lush and green. I’m happy to be a part of this.
“I remember going the first year and getting to meet (American mountaineer) Melissa Arnot and all these athletes that I respect and read about. It was really a great venue for having one-on-one discussions about what’s going on in the adventure world. Now, being part of the actual program is exciting. To be going on a hike with Eric Larsen, I feel like I’m the participant. … I’m probably the lesser of some of these athletes, but I’m psyched to share some hiking and trail-running knowledge as best I can. I’m already thinking of stories to share about the places we might be going, the places that provide us so much enjoyment.”
While the basic premise of the event has remained the same in its three years, Salem said Outside in Aspen has experienced “exponential growth” in participation.
“I’d say we’ve more than doubled every year. Things are looking that way again, based on numbers we were looking at last Friday,” she said. “People are pretty excited to come to Aspen in June. It’s not a hard sell.”
There are some new wrinkles this time around. Notably, Saturday’s slate includes the first Outside in Aspen Triathlon, which will feature an 800-yard swim at the Aspen Recreation Center, a 17-mile bike ride to the Maroon Bells and a four-mile run around the Aspen Golf Club.
Participants will compete alongside a group of Outside editors and professional Ironman and triathlete Jesse Thomas.
“I hope he doesn’t smoke everybody,” Salem joked.
Visit http://www.outsideinaspen.com for more information and a detailed schedule of events.
• Lucas Gilman program, 6 to 7 p.m., Ute Mountaineer, 210 S. Galena St. Lucas Gilman is one of the leading adventure sports and travel photographers in the industry. Join him for an evening of images and stories from travels and expeditions from around the world.
• Welcome reception, 8 p.m. to midnight, Sky Hotel, 709 E. Durant Ave.
• Outside in Aspen Triathlon, 7:30 a.m., Aspen Recreation Center, 0861 Maroon Creek Rd. This is the perfect triathlon for beginner triathletes looking for a unique challenge and seasoned racers wanting to compete on a short but challenging course. The triathlon is a USAT-sanctioned event.
• Base Camp, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Aspen Mountain Gondola Plaza.
• Aspen Center for Environmental Studies leads guided tour on top of Aspen Mountain, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Interested participants will need to purchase a foot pass and meet at the top of the gondola.
• Jes’ Grew performs at Base Camp, 1:30 to 5 p.m.
• Apres pool party, 5 to 8 p.m., the Sky Hotel.
• After-party and concert, 10 p.m., Belly Up Aspen, 450 S. Galena St. This is the Band (Talking Heads cover band). $25.
• Base Camp, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• ACES leads guided tour on top of Aspen Mountain, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Interested participants will need to purchase a foot pass and meet at the top of the gondola.
• Adventure athlete symposium, presented by Triumph Motorcycles, 3 p.m., Base Camp. Outside magazine editors will moderate the discussions and questions from the audience. Afterward, they will announce the Gear of the Year giveaway. Winners and participants can enjoy autograph signings with the pro athletes, and more Base Camp fun and giveaways.
For complete list, go to http://www.outsideinaspen.com
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Buttermilk Ski Area already is scheduled to host the world’s best at ESPN’s X Games this coming week, while it was recently announced Aspen Highlands will host alpine skiing’s NorAm finals later this spring.