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Midwinter festivities, free concert and fun

Staff ReportGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

ASPEN/SNOWMASS – This weekend Aspen and Snowmass offer up a “sköl” or “toast” to winter.Begun in 1951 by Aspen locals searching for a unique way to celebrate the valley’s Nordic lifestyle, Wintersköl now encompasses four days of zany winter events that began Thursday and extends through Sunday at all four Aspen/Snowmass mountains.Aspen Mountain is the site of a torchlight descent and fireworks display Saturday, as part of Aspen’s Wintersköl celebration. This year, citizen skiers and snowboarders are invited to participate in the torchlight descent.Interested participants are asked to board the Little Nell lift between 8 and 8:15 p.m. Up to 150 people can participate on a first-come, first-served basis. Children are welcome, those 12 and younger receive battery torches. All participants must sign a waiver.Riders and skiers are recommended to wear old clothing, as real flares will be distributed to those older than 12 years old. The torchlight descent begins at 8:30 p.m. down the Little Nell run, and will be immediately followed by a fireworks display. Aspen Skiing Company also recommends helmets.Call 925-1220 for more information.Snowmass Village concludes the Wintersköl festivities Sunday with a free concert, Swissbob races and kids fun.”We’re thrilled to be a part of the Wintersköl festivities and look forward to closing out the event with a full day of fun Snowmass-style,” said Susan Hamley, marketing director for Snowmass Village. “From Swissbob mania to face painting to bluegrass music, we’ve got something for everyone.”Sunday begins with the fourth annual Snowmass Swissbob Races on Fanny Hill where competitors can challenge their downhill moxie on a sled only 12 inches wide by 12 inches deep. In addition to downhill and giant slalom races, the Uphill Swissbob Challenge involves both a 500-foot vertical climb and a downhill course. Those participating in all three competitions have the chance to win a Super Avaluge (valued at $250) and Leedom Helmets ($100). The first 20 contestants to register receive a free Swissbob sled (additional registrants must bring their own Swissbob, which are available for sale at Snowmass’ Aspen Sports store next to the ticket pavilion, plus other local retailers). Free kids activities fill the Snowmass Village Mall at 1 p.m. while the Snowmass Village Mall Stage rocks from 2:30-5 p.m. with acclaimed bluegrass group The Wayword Sons, who combine the critically acclaimed songwriting of Benny Galloway, stellar musicianship and unique instrumentation including keyboards, dobro, acoustic guitar and upright bass. The band’s genre-bending sound calls upon traditional bluegrass as a jumping off point for musical experimentation, and their first album in 2006 debuted in the top 10 of Billboard Magazine’s bluegrass charts. The day concludes with fireworks over Fanny Hill at 7 p.m. Regional buses pick up at the end of the Snowmass Village Mall at 15- and 45-minutes past the hour. The buses are free to Aspen until 4:45 p.m. and then $3 after.


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