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Ain’t no party like an iglooau party

April in Glenwood
April E. Clark
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
April E. Clark
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Like a Hoosier version of Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz,” I’m often reminded I’m not in Indiana anymore.

The Rocky Mountains might be my first clue.

The reasons vary and include a range of regional jargon. I rarely hear Hoosiers discuss how “sick” the powder is when fresh snow falls. Or reply to an idea they agree to with a simple, “Right on.” A party this weekend was reason #362 I know I’m not in Indiana anymore.



I believe there about 500. But I’m still counting.

On Sunday, friends B.L. and Sam Chops hosted the first-ever “iglooau” party in Aspen. The event was like a Blue Hawaii cocktail fresh from the blender. A splash of Colorado’s finest bluebird sky. A hint of coconut. And the perfect amount of ice.



Two words: Frozen heaven.

The igloo Sam and B.L. constructed with their creative bare hands was the center of attention. There was also a sledding bulldog but I missed that part of the afternoon’s festivities. I’m hoping to at least catch it on YouTube.

Sure, all dogs go to heaven. They also go sledding from time to time.

The igloo is a majestic masterpiece in its own right. This icy structure ” that one could conceivably live in if she had the perfect North Face Nebula 20-degree sleeping bag ” comes complete with built-in benches and a special place for drinks. Never mind that entering the igloo requires getting down on all fours and executing a quick Army crawl on the ice to enter.

It’s all part of the fun folks.

In my pre-Colorado life ” which seems so far off now that I’m approaching my sixth rafting season ” I had never been in an igloo, let along partied in one. The beauty of being a local with ski resorts in your own backyard is that things like igloos and huts are all over the place. You just have to find them. Luckily discovering this one did not require a grueling hike in ice-cold, blizzard-like conditions.

I haven’t quite embraced my inner-outdoorswoman yet.

The closest I’d come to an igloo was a makeshift snow fort formed from snow drifts in the front yard of my childhood home. Not quite as neat as an igloo, although the summertime forts my brother and I built in the woods behind our house were pretty sweet. He went for height, requiring a ladder to enter. My fort was more like a squatter’s shanty made from a fallen-down tree, some leftover tarp, a ball of twine and a bunch of bark. I’ve always had a wild imagination so it was like my own little mansion.

Without running water, a gourmet kitchen and Olympic-sized pool.

Like a kid-crafted fort, an igloo doesn’t require too many bells and whistles. Most importantly, the ice blocks need to freeze so the thing doesn’t cave. With a little stability and a lot of love and tenderness, the igloo can be home sweet home. Hopefully there’s indoor plumbing, or at least a latrine or a groover (rafter-speak for a portable toilet) nearby.

Being new to the whole igloo scene ” outside of what I picked up by watching Chilly Willy ” I did a little research.

And I had no idea igloos were so cool.

According to Wikipedia, igloos were mostly built by Inuit villagers and people of Canada’s Central Arctic and Greenland’s Thule area ” not just cute cartoon penguins hungry for fish. Even when the weather drops as cold as 49 degrees below zero, the temperature inside an igloo can rise to 61, depending on how much body heat is generated. I was on a cruise to the Bahamas with my friend Megan when the party people by the pool decided to see how many people we could fit in the hot tub. With 23 guys and gals ” including a bachelor party of firefighters ” stuffed in a cruise ship hot tub I imagine the temperature reached upwards of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Security was not happy with us. Either was my boyfriend at the time.

Hence those three little words at the end.

Not only was I surprised to learn how hot it can get in an igloo, but I also had no clue how large some snowhouses could be. The larger igloos featured five rooms and cool tunnels connecting them, with as many as 20 people sharing the icy address. Now that’s a spread.

Pass out some leis, throw on a few Jimmy Buffett tracks and you’ve got a full-on iglooau.

Two words: Frozen heaven.

April E. Clark hopes the iglooau becomes an Aspen tradition. She can be reached at aclark@postindependent.com.


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