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Ascendigo gives opportunity to adults and children with autism

Julie and Robert Manning never thought they would see their autistic daughter, Olivia, put on a helmet and ride a horse. As if the horseback riding wasn’t enough of a shock, they also witnessed her wakeboard, rock climb, zipline, ski, and raft, thanks to Ascendigo Autism Services.

“She would come home energetic and refreshed. She had that glow from the sun,” Julie remembered of Olivia’s time at camp.

Ascendigo Autism Services is a Roaring Fork non-profit that had its roots as a summer camp known as Extreme Sports Camp. Eventually, the summer camp evolved into a year-round outdoor recreation facilitator, comprehensive life program for adults, and behavior therapies for children, Ascendigo’s Chief Development Officer Julie Kaufman said.

“It opened up a whole new world for us,” Julie said. “I don’t even know how to explain it because it was so different from what I ever imagined Olivia would ever be able to do.”

Julie grew up in Aspen, and, one time when she came back to visit, she attended an Ascendigo charity event without even knowing what the organization was. Once she found out Ascendigo serves adults and children with autism, she knew she had to get her autistic, non-verbal daughter involved.

Olivia was 8 years old when she started traveling from Seattle to Aspen to attend Ascendigo’s summer camps. About four years ago, the Mannings relocated to Old Snowmass, so Olivia could use Ascendigo’s programs year-round.

Young Olivia learns to wakeboard during an Ascendigo summer camp. Courtesy of Julie Manning

The services Ascendigo provides for children and adults with autism extend beyond summer and winter camps, although those are what Ascendigo is best known for, Kaufman said. Ascendigo sets children and adults with autism up for success with anything from school to life skills.

Ascendigo’s Outreach Program, which is the one Olivia was involved with, supports kids from elementary school through high school with different services. In Olivia’s case, Ascendigo provided her with a staff person at school who helped her get through her daily activities and tasks.

School is less about academics and more about learning life skills for Olivia, Robert said. Some days, she does things such as going to Walmart or the grocery store with her Ascendigo staff.

“She’s able to do a lot of things because she has an Ascendigo person with her,” he said.

Going to a store with Olivia is no simple task, Julie added. However, Ascendigo staff are able to work with Olivia and help her to do everyday tasks like going to the store.

“They talk (Olivia) through it, and it’s amazing what they’re able to do with her,” Julie said. “That’s going to eventually roll over into her everyday life.”

In her eyes, the Ascendigo staff who work with Olivia are the most important part. Julie and Robert agreed they know how hard it can be to work with people with autism, especially ones who are non-verbal.

“They’re calm and really talk to these kids. Olivia can be stimming and looking elsewhere, but they’re sitting there talking to her and she is listening. She really understands (Ascendigo staff), and they take their time with her,” she said.

Because Olivia is non-verbal, her parents and the Ascendigo staff had to work to find ways for her to communicate. Although she cannot read or write, she is able to use an iPad that has tiles with labels such as “people,” “places,” “help,” “yes,” “no,” and many more to communicate her thoughts.

“We have speech therapists that totally built out her iPad, so that we could really expand her ability to communicate more,” Robert said.

Olivia’s iPad is customized to allow her to communicate her needs.

Now that Olivia is 21, she is moving into the Life Enrichment Program through Ascendigo. This program provides autistic adults with support in their day-to-day lives, Kaufman said.

“We support adults with everything from going grocery shopping, making meals, learning to ride the bus — really whatever kind of life skill support they need,” she said.

Ascendigo also helps connect adults with vocational opportunities. She added there are Ascendigo adults working at the Element Hotel and Glenwood Hot Springs.

For the Manning family, finding Ascendigo was a dream come true and enough to convince them to move to the Valley.

“If she didn’t have Ascendigo, there would be nothing. She would be (at home),” Julie said.

From the perspective of Ascendigo leadership, Kaufman said there’s a lot of pride that comes with the accomplishments they see people in their program experience.

“I think the impact Ascendigo has on the community as a whole is offering a different perspective on people with disabilities and what they can do and how much they can be,” she said.

Ascendigo Blue Aspen 2023
Theme: Western Chic
Special Guests: Hayes Carll & Allison Moorer
Date: Saturday, Feb. 18
Time: 6:00 PM MT
Location: St. Regis Aspen
Tickets: ascendigo.org

To reach Audrey Ryan, email her at aryan@aspentimes.com.

Soak away your worries with a relaxing getaway at Iron Mountain Hot Springs; new theme pools coming this spring

The best way to unwind in Glenwood Springs as an adult is to get a nice warm mineral soak with a cocktail in hand after a cold day of skiing or even just working.

And all of that, free from crowds with nothing but the Colorado River and the mountain views surrounding you. 

The Iron Mountain Hot Springs does not offer private pools, but they do offer more intimate pools for people to relax and enjoy the sights with less likelihood of feeling completely surrounded by people. 

“I think we cater more towards couples and adults,” Iron Mountain General Manager Aaron MCallister said. “While kids can still be on the property.” 

He’s not wrong. The tiny pools promote relaxing more than roughhousing or swimming, and the drinks are obviously to help the adults relax while soaking. There is little room for cannonballs at these hot springs. 

To enhance the relaxation, there’s a jetted spa and some of the pools even have pebbles at the bottom to message your feet on.

“It’s just nice to walk in and massage your feet while you’re soaking,” McCallister said. 

There are 10 smaller pools and a large family pool for the parents who do want to bring the family and allow them to have a more rambunctious swim. Children under 5 years old are prohibited.

The time limits are restricted, but for a good reason. 

“We know that the views are the most popular so we chose to just limit how many people we allow in every 30 minutes and then the average person soaks around an hour and a half to two hours,” McCallister said. “We feel that a three-hour window is enough for a majority of the people.”

Iron Mountain Hot Springs are able to keep the number of people in the pools down by enforcing this three-hour time limit for soaking, giving guests a more intimate experience.

The natural mineral pools of Glenwood Springs and the bar are not the only features at Iron Mountain. They are also experimenting with creating mineral pools that mimic other natural springs throughout the world. 

Right now, they have a Vichy pool to mimic the waters from the French Vichy-Celestins and Vichy St. Yorre waters.

“It is what we call an experience pool,” McCallister said. “It’s got a recipe right now that’s Vichy waters, we call it Carbonic Saltspring. As far as the history of this water, their claim of healing abilities is for the skin, so it’s got a good feeling on your skin when you get into the water.”

Iron Mountain plans to expand this concept along with expanding to have more pools along the riverside with more mineral concoctions to choose from, and a full 21-and-older section. 

“A portion of these pools will be our pure Iron Mountain Hot Springs mineral water that we currently already use, and then the other portion of these pools will be recipes from around the world,” McCallister said. “So we have different recipes where we can create, for example, the Blue Lagoon, or Kinosaki, Japan.”

Construction at the Iron Mountain Hot Springs for 17 new pools and a 21-and-over section.
Post Independent/ Cassandra Ballard

The different mineral pools will have different healing powers depending on the mineral blend in them. Magnesium helps with skin, while lithium can help more with relaxing. The sulfur pools are also known for helping with eczema and all are good for muscle aches. 

The expanded 21-and-older part of the property will include the various kinds of mineral pools, with 10 of them having pebbles on the bottom. 

“With this new expansion, we’re focused on an adults-only section of the property,” McCallister said.

There will also be cold plunge and large fresh-water pools with waterfalls that will be called the confluence pool, and a new cafe called the Sandbar that will offer cocktails and finer foods.

Eight of the new pools will be small and located riverside.

“They can eat in our heated patio and then take their drinks to the pool and sit in the pools,” McAllister said. 

There will be wristbands to keep underaged pool goers from entering the 21-and-older section. 

Go and try the experience pool and the old-fashioned Glenwood mineral hot springs at Iron Mountain, and get ready to see a full expansion this spring.

Post Independent reporter Cassandra Ballard can be reached at cballard@postindependent.com or 970-384-9131.

A&E roundup: weekend includes 80s-themed prom, Sunlight Ski Spree, Carbondale First Friday

Who doesn’t love a good excuse to dress up — especially if they can do it in a 1980s theme? 

“We thought it would be a fun theme,” said Angie Anderson, president and CEO for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. “We’re also excited to see what people will come up with for their 80s prom outfits.”

A gala is a festive occasion or a reason to rejoice. This year’s Glenwood Springs Chamber Gala will be rejoicing by presenting awards for Citizen of the Year, Top Brass Outstanding Business of the Year, Top Brass New Business of the Year and a Top Brass Milestone.

The theme is 80s prom at the Hotel Colorado, which means you can see some of your favorite local public figures dressed to the nines with puffy sleeves, bright colors, bows, big hair and way too much hairspray and makeup. 

“We’re really excited to present the awards and gather the community for an evening of fun and celebration,” Anderson said. 

The DJ will be playing your favorite 80s nostalgia songs. Brush up on you lip-syncing, air guitar, moon walking and solving Rubik’s cubes to win prizes. There will also be a prize for best 80s garb, a release from the chamber stated.

The prom will have heavy appetizers, drinks, a photo booth for lasting memories and a silent auction. There will also be a “valley hopper” that will take people home from 8-10 p.m. to anywhere as far as Carbondale and Silt. 

The award for Citizen of the Year is judged by finding a resident who has made a significant contribution to Glenwood Springs. The person chosen has been considered to have made strides for the community, changing and benefitting it in a noticeable way and making Glenwood a better place to live and work. 

The Top Brass Outstanding Business of the year award is said to be the highest honor presented to a Glenwood Springs business, according to the Chamber. The business achievements are measured by innovation, creativity and community involvement. 

The Top New Brass Business Award is presented to a business that has been open for less than three years. The new businesses are measured in the same way as the outstanding business award. 

Finally is the Brass Milestone Award, which recognizes business anniversary milestones every five years. The main requirement is the five-year milestone. 

For those wanting to stay at the Hotel Colorado, they are provided a discounted rate of $169.

The schedule

5:45 p.m.- Doors open
6:15 p.m.- Awards Ceremony
8:00 p.m.- Moonwalk, Lip Sync, Air Guitar and Rubik’s Cube  and Best Dressed Contests
8:50 p.m.- Silent Auction Ends
9:00 p.m.- Event concludes

What: 2023 Annual Gala 80’s Prom

When: 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4

Where: Hotel Colorado, 526 Pine St. 

How much: Member individual $85, general admission $100, corporate sponsorship (10 tickets) $1,500 

Sunlight Ski Spree

Sunlight Ski Spree takes place this weekend, including an on-mountain treasure hunt, aprés ski live music, a torchlight parade, fireworks, fire dancers, and on Sunday a ski and mountaineering race.

The treasure hunt is open to anyone with the goal of finding oversized dollars somewhere on the mountain and then exchanging it for loot. Anyone can play if they have a lift ticket or a pass.

What: Sunlight Mountain Resort Ski Spree

When: Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 4-5

Where: Sunlight Mountain Resort, 10901 County Road 117 in Glenwood

What more: Mountain Treasure Hunt sponsored by ANB Bank both days, with 25 prizes to be won. Saturday will also include live music featuring Willy Taylor during the day and Jeff Rice in the bar for late night jams, a torchlight parade, fireworks and fire dancers at dusk (around 6 p.m.)

The Heathen Challenge has more strict rules, with requirements for gear, ability and endurance. 

This event is for experienced backcountry racers. There is a preregistration and different pricing depending on the division. 

What: The Heathen Challenge

When: 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

Where: Sunlight Mountain Resort, 10901 County Road 117 in Glenwood

How much: $90 Elite Division Skimo and $75 Rec Division Skimo

Casino Night at the Ute

Check out the Fourth Annual Casino Night presented by Alpine Bank to benefit the new Ute Theatre Society. The event will include chips and professional Vegas-style gaming tables, along with appetizers and drinks. There is a 21 and up for gambling and drinking.

What: Casino Night, presented by Alpine Bank

When: Doors at 6 p.m., event 6:30- 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4

Where: Ute Theater, 132 East Fourth St. 

How much: $30 (tickets include chips)

Carbondale’s First Friday

This month’s first Friday will have the opening of The Way We Are, a mixed media exhibition from a variety of women artists in the Roaring Fork Valley. The exhibit will run until Feb. 24.

What: First Friday in Carbondale, The Way We Are — First Friday Opening Reception

When: Open reception 6-8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3

Where: Carbondale Clay Center, 135 Main St.

There will also be a  concert at Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale on First Friday. Both bands that will be playing are ensembles from Colorado College in Colorado Springs and will be performing bluegrass. It’s just $10 to see the Rocky Mountain Tops and the Tumbleweeds.  

What: Colorado College bluegrass

When: 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3

Where: Steve’s Guitars, 19 N. Fourth St.

An ongoing art show in Carbondale 

This features all local artists from a zip code that starts with 816. The art is multimedia and features displays from everything from famous artists in the area to closet talents that are displaying their work for the first time. 

What: 44th Annual Valley Visual Art Show

When: Everyday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. until Feb. 23

Where: Launchpad Carbondale, 76 S. Fourth St.

Next week…

The Brewery Comedy Tour comes to Casey Brewing in Glenwood Springs on Feb. 8. For tickets click here or visit the postindependent.com events calendar.

What: Brewery Comedy Tour

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8

Where: Casey Brewing, 711 Grand Ave.

How much: $7

Jazz up your Tuesday night with the Travis Anderson Trio 

The point of live music is to have a good time, and for the Travis Anderson Trio that is how it began, and one of the main focuses of their performances.

“The overriding aesthetic for the group is just to have fun and to kind of bring the audience into that fold,” Anderson said.

The show continues the Glenwood Springs Community Concert Association series, at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Mountain View Church.

The band got together by accident about 15 years ago. 

“I was just playing solo piano at jazz club, like happy hours, and I had never played with anybody in my whole life,” he said. 

They accidentally double booked a bass player and a drummer on the gig, and they all decided to play together. 

“‘Well, we’re getting paid, do you want us to play with you?’ And I said, ‘OK,’” Anderson said. “That was 15 years ago, and I’m still playing with the same bass player.” 

Steve Pikal is the first-call bassist of the Twin Cities, and the drummer is Nathan Norman, who joined the group about nine years ago. Anderson himself was described as a fleet-fingered pianist according to a news release. 

Together, they play some traditional jazz, pulling influence from greats like Oscar Peterson, while also playing more modern and familiar songs. 

“It’s mainstream, kind of like what I would consider the height of jazz is like ’50s and ’60s kind of piano trios,” Anderson said.

A signature touch of their playing style that they love to do is play more modern stuff, with a little twist, Anderson said. They’ll play TV and movie themes, Disney stuff, video games, Charlie Brown theme songs, animated specials and others. 

“Things that people can attach to and then we can kind of go off the rails and do our own thing,” he said. “We’re not losing people in the weeds of getting in too deep in the jazz cannon.”

This is the trio’s first tour, but they have been hyping up Minneapolis for some time, receiving great feedback, and they hope to bring the same joy to others in the country. 

“It’s kind of the most consistent feedback we get is that the shows are fun,” he said “They can see that we’re having fun on stage. We’re engaging with each other, we’re engaging with the audience, and just a little more interactive that way.”

If you go…

What: The Travis Anderson Trio

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31

Where: Mountain View Church, 2195 County Road 154, Glenwood Springs

How much: $25

For season ticket information, contact the Glenwood Springs Community Concert Association at  www.gsconcertassn.org or call Nancy at 303-517-9800 or Sue at 970-379-3488.

Optimism and Activism is the theme for the Carbondale Salon series

Activism doesn’t always need to be abrasive or hostile. When seeking a change to a social construct, art can sometimes present a nuance to activism that education and news can’t portray. 

“In a way, I kind of feel like making art is inherently political no matter what the subject is,” said Niloufar Nourbakhsh, a composer and pianist featured in The Salon. “Because there’s just no way to talk about anything without the politics and the social constructs that affect our lives.”

The one major aspect the artists featured in this Carbondale Salon have in common is that they can portray those layers of complexity through their performances.

The Salon performance series blends different art forms to highlight, in this circumstance, the strength of activism and the necessity for optimism through poetry, music, comedy and dance when striving for social change or awareness. 

“Activism and optimism is the theme and the activism is that you have to fight for that identity for marginalized people and that relevance, but the optimism is that the creative energy gives the ability of discovery,” said Uche Ogbuji, a poet and spoken word artist presenting at the event. 

Ogbuji’s passion is spoken word performance art while his “day job” is being an engineer. 

Born in Nigeria, Ogbuji moved to different countries growing up like Egypt and England, and briefly went to grade school in the United States. He went back to Nigeria and attended college there, eventually moving to Colorado and making it his longest lived residence. 

“My poetry is about the legacy of colonialism, especially in Africa and how it affects indigenous people and how indigenous people can basically have a place in the present, and also moving into the future,” Ogbuji said. 

Growing up, he had a lot of interest in what sci-fi futuristic thinking looked like from the perspective of marginalized people, he said. Sci-fi has almost always been more centered around a white, straight male perspective, and he wanted to experiment what it would look like from an afro perspective — a term now coined as Afrofuturism.

Although that is his main focus, the work he will be showing at The Salon will involve more of his childhood, with the end part being more centered around Colorado, but there will still be a layer of his favored themes. 

Nourbakhsh is an Iranian composer who wrote a full-length opera about the Iranian protests in 2009, ‘We, The Innumerable.’ An aria from the opera called ‘Solitary Confinement’ is an expert that will be shown at The Salon. 

Although the opera is set in 2009, she said the events happening today are very similar. 

“I’m hoping that through the experience of this work, people can have a deeper understanding of what’s happening in Iran, especially this aria is set in solitary confinement,” she said. “It is in relation to the 1000s of Iranians who are in prison right now. I hope it will be a chance for the audience to think about those people and connect with them on a different level.”

She added that art gives people a different way to connect and a different understanding than they would get from learning about Iran through the news. She also hopes this gives people a better opportunity to remember what is going on in Iran, instead of moving to the next “hot” topic. 

“The revolution that the people have started is just not going to go away, and it’s going to take time and they really need the help and support,” she said. “The more the international community is watching the events in Iran, the less danger there is for the people.”

Nourbakhsh opera was the overall launchpad for the theme of the art experience. 

“At the heart of the opera, it’s a story about love, the importance of love, the importance of choice and universal values,” she said. “That speaks to us, no matter where we’re from and what our background is, and how those two things can really lead to the liberation of a nation.”

Another artist who mostly performs in Denver is comedian A.J. Finney, who said his comedy is more on the self deprecating level, breaking social constructs by poking fun of himself. 

There will also be local dancers Claudia and Erik Peña, author José Alcántara, and songwriter Brad Smith. 

The Salon series was founded in Philadelphia by composer Andrea Clearfield in 1986 and later brought to Aspen by Andrea and Michele Kiley, and The Salon has been in Aspen for longer than five years with co-curator and host Alya Howe 

For more details and ticketing information, please visit carbondalearts.com

A&E roundup for Garfield County with XGames concert edition

This weekend doesn’t have too much going on downvalley, most likely because of XGames events in Aspen, but here are some events you can catch in Garfield County this weekend and into next week. 

We’ve also listed the setlist and times for the free concerts XGames edition. 

This weekend in Garfield County

The Salon performance series is being featured at the Launchpad in Carbondale, with the theme being activism and optimism. There will be a variety of performance artists from pianist Niloufar Nourbakhsh from Iran to Uche Ogbuji, a poet from Nigeria. There will also be comedian AJ Finney, songwriter Brad Smith, dancers Claudia and Erik Peña and author José Alcántara

What: The Carbondale Salon: Optimism & Activism

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: The Launchpad, 76 S Fourth St. in Carbondale


Enjoy a Colorado jam band called Alpenglow at Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale. Each member either currently is a student of the University of Colorado in Boulder, or an alumni. The five-person group started performing last summer and have already headlined the Boulder Fox Theatre.

What: Alpenglow

When: 8 p.m. Saturday 

Where: Steve’s Guitars, 19 N. Fourth St. in Carbondale 

How much: $20

Free Music at XGames at Buttermilk:

Friday, Jan. 27

TJ Mizell

3 – 3:45 p.m.

Night Tales

4:15 – 5:15 p.m.

Kaskade

6:30 – 7:15 p.m.


Saturday, Jan. 28

Alexandar Smash

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Alexandar Smash

2:45 – 3:15 p.m.

MOD SUN

3:45 – 4:45 p.m.

Yung Gravy

7 – 7:45 p.m.


Sunday, Jan. 29

MADDS

2:15 – 3 p.m.

girlfriends

3:30 – 4:15 p.m.

Fun events for next week:

The Travis Anderson Trio plays the next Glenwood Springs Community Concert Association show on Tuesday at Mountain View Church. 

The trio is led by pianist Travis Anderson, with Steve Pikal on bass and Nathan Norman on drums. 

For season ticket information contact the Glenwood Springs Community Concert Association at  www.gsconcertassn.org or call Nancy at 303-517-9800 or Sue at 970-379-3488.

If you go…

What: Travis Anderson Trio

When: 7 p.m. Jan. 31 

Where: Mountain View Church, 2195 Co Rd 154 in Glenwood

Cost: $25, unless you buy a season pass. 


Musicians Ruby Joyful will be performing a local concert in carbondale with special guests Drew Emmitt and Andy Thorn of Leftover Salon 

If you go…

What: Ruby Joyful with Drew Emmitt and Andy Thorn 

When: Doors at 7:30 p.m. and show at 8 p.m. Feb. 2

Where: Steve’s Guitars, 

How much: $25-$35

Beth Stelling brings acerbic wit to TACAW’s Dinner & Show series

Fresh off a three-night run at Denver’s Comedy Works, comedian Beth Stelling will be making her first appearance on a Roaring Fork Valley stage at TACAW on Saturday as part of the Dinner & Show series, in partnership with Epicure Catering.

“My first frame of reference of Aspen was Dumb and Dumber,” she said with a laugh, “but, of course, I’d heard about the Aspen Comedy Festival (now Aspen Laughs Fest) from friends of mine whose careers were made there, who got six figure deals, and lives were changed by it.”

“Denver is one of my favorite places to perform, and I do know Colorado to be extremely beautiful, and so I’m looking forward to being there,” she added.

Stelling started her comedy career in Chicago and quickly became a member of Chicago Underground Comedy before being named a New Face of Comedy in Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival.

She moved to Los Angeles in 2011. Within her first year in L.A., she made her late-night TV debut on Conan and released her debut album, Sweet Beth, on Rooftop Records. She also appeared on comedy programs such as Comedy Central’s @midnightChelsea Lately, and The Pete Holmes Show.

She has since written and starred in her own hour-long HBO Max comedy special, Girl Daddy, produced by Conan O’Brien, as well as The Standup, a half hour comedy special on Netflix. She has appeared regularly on Conan, as well as on Jimmy Kimmel Live and Comedy Central, and she plays Ms. Fish on NBC’s Peacock sitcom Rutherford Falls opposite Ed Helms. 

Additionally, Stelling is currently writing on season 8 of Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty. Other writing credits include Apple’s upcoming series Strange Planet, Hulu’s I Love You America with Sarah SilvermanThe Last O.G., and HBO’s Crashing.

Her style is quirky, acerbic, and self-deprecating delving deep into her relationships with men, food, and family, never veering away from dark territory like her experiences with emotional eating and abuse.

And yet, she somehow manages to make it all funny.

“If I’m talking about, you know, something that would be described as like liberal, feminist, buzzkill-type thing, I identify in that way, but I’m here to always make it funny. If there is something that’s hurt me or made me angry, I write about it to have some control over it. It’s cathartic. And, no matter what I’m talking about, you should be able to laugh at it, no matter what you believe,” she said.

Stelling’s hour set at TACAW will be based on material she has been recently touring with, which include stories about her childhood growing up in Dayton, Ohio, and visiting her dad in Orlando “and his collection of live raccoons.”  She will also be work shopping some new material as she just went through a break-up which she said she has recently written a lot about.

“Why comedy? It’s such a large question, but words are so powerful,” she said. “Why I do it is to try and give another perspective or talking point or just share my experience so someone can understand it. Through comedy, you can step into somebody’s perspective and see another way. Yeah, that’s exactly why I do it; it’s beautiful.”

If you go…

What: Comedian Beth Stelling
When: Saturday at 8 p.m.
Where: TACAW
More info and tickets: tacaw.org/calendar/comedian-beth-stelling/

Fire and Ice Festival at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park on Iron Mountain on Saturday

Although the days are slowly getting longer, winter celebrations continue in the dark and cold month of January.

“We wanted to give the community and our guests something fun to do in the month of January, and something different, like fire and ice,” Kate Henion, the marketing and sales manager at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, said. 

The Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is putting on a new celebration called the Fire and Ice Festival, so people can enjoy the aspect of both elements. 

The festival will feature the Dance of the Sacred Fire fire dancers, coupled with an ice tower, ice sculpting, and live music. The juxtaposition of the elements will be a sight to behold.

“It’s going to be something really visually stunning to see,” Henion said.

There will be two fire dances during the event. The evening will open at 4 p.m. with live music from the Missing Link Band. 

An ice carver using a chisel to carve a sculpture.
Getty Images

There will also be live, interactive ice sculpting with Colorado Ice Works that will begin on Friday and continue into the event on Saturday. 

The sculpting of an ice castle with a slide will begin on Friday, and, on Saturday, the sculpture will be finished, and the sculptors will be working on a bear and an alpine coaster. 

“These interactive sculptures are going to be open until Mother Nature melts them; so basically, anytime the park is open, these will be open to the public as long as nature allows,” Henion said. 

She said the castle will not be enormous, but it will be big enough to go inside, take pictures, and ride down the slide. 

The big fire tower will also have the elemental extremes of an ice tower with fire billowing out of the top, she said. 

The event is designed to appeal to all ages, and there will even be drink and food specials throughout the event, like an apple-pie fireball shot and churro sundaes. 

“What we really wanted to do as a company was bring something fun, exciting, and something different for everyone to enjoy,” she said.

Carbondale’s 44th Annual Valley Visual Art Show

Enjoy the art of your neighbors with the 44th Annual Valley Visual Art Show in Carbondale. 

“My favorite thing is just to look for all the different kinds of media involved,” Brian Colley, gallery manager, said. 

The exhibit features all physical media that is within 30 inches in height and width. There is one sculpture that is taller, but they decided to display it since it still fits with the rest of the art. 

“We’ve got one artist who just graduated from high school with a found-objects sculpture, and then we’ve got more established artists like Shana Miller who just had a show with Art Base last fall, and everyone in between,” Colley said. 

When artists apply for the show, they get to show one piece of art that is ready to hang. They treat the show like a professional gallery would, “so they have some experience getting their work ready to display.”

All of the art is featured in a single two-room gallery space. 

“We have traditional things like painting and drawing, but we also have, in this year, some scratchboard art,” Colley said. “We have some work with textiles, and lots of different kinds of sculptures.” 

The annual People’s Choice Award gives out cash prizes to the top three vote recipients. Colley said that this year, the voting will be in an old-fashioned phone booth, kind of like the ones you might envision in England. 

The traditionally red booth is tall with a phone inside, that Colley said might be set up to work one day. Eventually, it will live outside as a public art installation project with the Carbondale Creative District, but it is in the gallery right now for a fun way to vote, he said.

Art pieces by various local artists cover the gallery walls at the Launchpad in Carbondale for the 44th annual Valley Visual Art Show.
John Stroud/Post Independent

“It was something our former director found a couple of years back and it was in a bad state of repair. One of our board members over the past few years has basically built it back up from scratch from the ground up,” Colley said. 

It’s a fun assortment of artists who contribute each year, Colley said. About a third of the group has usually been in multiple Valley Visuals each year, and then another third is in the show every now and then, and then there’s another third of the group who are first timers. 

“On Friday’s opening reception, all artists are invited to come and hang out and meet each other, and then the community can meet the artists,” Colley said. “It’s kind of a big art love fest for all the creative people here.”

Once you see the show, come vote for you favorite for the People’s Choice Award.

The R2 Gallery is open weekdays from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. and for more information call (970) 963-1680.

If you go…

What: 44th Annual Valley Visual Art Show

When: 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 20- 5 p.m. Feb. 23

Where: The Launchpad, 76 S. Fourth St. Carbondale

A&E Roundup with a spotlight on Imagination Movers

A family-friendly band is coming to Garfield County this weekend for kids and parents to rock out to together. 

“Be ready to interact and experience flying toilet paper, vortex smoke rings, amazing music, lots of dancing and an afternoon well spent,” said Scott Durbin, one of the founding band members of Imagination Movers.

The Ute Theater will be hosting the long-lived band for a special public concert after doing a couple private concerts on the Western Slope. 

“When you’re a new parent, you’re sort of evaluating children’s entertainment — whether it be music or television or film — and kind of looking for that kind of content that challenges your kid or encourages them to be creative or to move or what have you,” he said. 

The Louisiana-based music group is celebrating their 20-year anniversary and are excited to continue performing music the whole family can jam to. The group was created as a live-action kids’ show and band after the members were trying to find music that parents could enjoy and lyrics children could relate to. 

“We lamented the loss of real people and children’s programming,” Durbin said. “That sort of was the genesis of the idea, and that, actually, was born sort of as a music-based show from the get go.”

They were able to gain an unexpected national following from satellite radio, which gained them attention from Disney and Nickelodeon, though their main platform they were aiming for was PBS. 

Disney eventually offered them a TV show where they would perform their songs, and they took the show offer after Hurricane Katrina created a lot of hardship for the band members. 

They have since ended the show but continue to travel to perform at different venues. The old show, however, can still be watched on Disney+. The group is famous throughout the United States and even in other parts of the world.

Durbin came from an education background and wanted to make sure the lyrics and content were developmentally and age appropriate, while letting the musicians rock out.

“The music is really the kind of stuff that we would listen to, whether it be The Police or the Killers or things that we enjoyed listening to,” he said. “While the lyrics were about things like sleeping through the night or cleaning your room.”

They started the band before Hurricane Katrina, and, after the damage from the hurricane hit so heavily, they decided to take a deal with Disney as they worked to rebuild their lives. 

“The great thing about the Movers is it keeps us creative and, hopefully, encourages kids to be creative too,” he said. 

Now, 10 years later, they are still rocking hard with fans old and new. Durbin said the ages of the people who attend their concerts can be between toddlers to 17 year olds because they have been around for so long. 

“We’re super excited about coming in and putting on our sort of interactive rock concert for families,” Durbin said. 

If you go…

What: Imagination Movers

When: 2-4 p.m., Jan. 14

Where: Ute Theater and Events Center at 132 East Fourth St. in Rifle

Other Events happening this weekend

What: Love Rocks with Tony Austin

When: 7 p.m., Jan. 14

Where: Love Rocks, 1712 Willits Lane Unit 5 via 43 Widget St. in Basalt


Birds of Play is a Colorado band from Telluride with openers Red Hill Rollers

What: Birds of Play

When: Doors at 7 p.m., Jan. 14

Where: TACAW, 400 Robinson St. in Basalt


What: Said The Sky

When: Doors at 9 p.m., Jan 14

Where: Belly Up Aspen, 450 South Galena St. in Aspen


What: LETTUCE

When: Doors at 7 p.m., Jan. 15

Where: Belly Up Aspen, 450 South Galena St. in Aspen