Aspen, CO Events and Info: Winterskol
Winter Events in Aspen Start with Wintersköl
Sköl is an interjection, a good strong word used by happy, sturdy Norsemen for toasting good times, good health and a good drink. In the spirit of this word, Aspen Winterskö was born in the 1950’s to celebrate Aspen’s Nordic heritage and all things winter. January 10-13, coming in hot on the heels of a fabulous holiday season, this annual celebration is a feel-good festival devoted to idolizing Aspen’s signature season of winter.
Now in it’s 62nd year, Wintersköl is the brainchild of Jack DePagter (former owner of the Holland House) who, in January 1952, grappled with the annual slowdown that happened in the weeks following the holidays. He devised a plan to create a European ski resort-style winter carnival to celebrate Aspen’s Nordic heritage and bring guests to Aspen during this January lull. The carnival was an immediate success, and blossomed into the four-day festival. There are dozens of events and options in store for Wintersköl 2013; here is a breakdown of what’s happening and what not to miss!
Wintersculpt A highlight of the weekend, ongoing from 1/10 - 1/12 is the favorite Wintersculpt competition hosted by Anderson Ranch Arts Center. Competitiors have a 48-hour window to construct and craft an 8’x8’x8’ snow sculpture on the Aspen pedestrian mall. Walk by periodically to see the progress of this fantastic display as young and old compete for prize money and the coveted Wintersculpt title! For more information and to register visit the Anderson Ranch website.
Mad Hatter’s Ball On Thursday evening 1/10, this wild Aspen event is back at the Wheeler Opera House. Wear your craziest coolest hat for a chance at winning the Best Hat Ward and 2 passes to the 2013 Aspen Laff Festival. This year’s hatter contest rocks to the sounds of live music from Dr. Sadistic & The Classical Cry Babies along with local favorite groovsters Jes Grew. The Aspen Historical Society puts on this favorite event on opening night (attend their “Aspen History 101” seminar preceding the Ball and earn a free beer!)
Apple Strudel Downhill On Friday 1/11, 10:30-noon, this free event encourages riders of all ages to zip down the Apple Strudel Trail at Aspen Highlands in a goodhearted downhill with a hearty treat at the finish. The race is free, and all competitors will enjoy traditional apple strudel and whipped cream plus a drink at the finish line at this family-friendly event.
Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club organizes two cool events during Wintersköl. On Friday 1/11 from 2-4, a Rail Jam competition takes over Wagner Park in the center of town. On Saturday 1/12, AVSC hosts the Nordic Bonfire Dinner, an event benefiting AVSC’s Nordic teams, at the Aspen Golf Course from 6-8pm. More information and registration for both events can be found on the AVSC website.
Soupsköl The 10th annual Soupsköl soup cook off serves up smiles on Friday 1/11 4-6pm. Local restaurants compete for the Soupsköl Trophy and bragging rights for the best soup in the Aspen Valley. Free samples of each soup will be offered to spectators at the event, and samplers can text-to-vote for their favorite in the interactive competition.
Skijoring With Your Dog is a fun workshop presented by the Aspen Animal Shelter about this fun Scandinavian tradition of enjoying Nordic skiing with your dog. Dogs pull the skier in this sport that combines Nordic skiing with dog sledding for a safe activity both you and your pet will love. For more information visit dogsaspen.com.
Canine Fashion Show Perhaps the favorite and definitely the furriest and funniest event of the 4-day carnival is the Canine Fashion Show presented by Aspen’s own pet friendly hotels, Molly Gibson Lodge and Hotel Aspen. The cuddly event embraces canine couture and grooming style, and dog owners go all out to show off their four legged friends in Aspen style. Dog owners dress up as well as their pets, making for very entertaining people watching. The event begins at 1pm on Saturday 1/12. Canines will compete for titles of Most Adorable, Best Theme, Best Multiple (more than one dog), funniest, and the overall beloved title of “Best in Snow”. Registration is free and can be completed on site an hour before the competition at the Cooper Avenue Mall.
Broomball Tournament Gather your friends, form a team and register to compete in this legendary recreational ice game. This pared down version of ice hockey is as fun to watch as it is to play-; spectators are welcome at the tournament at 1pm on Sunday 1/13 at the Aspen Ice Garden.
Several local organizations and businesses participate in the Wintersköl festivities with their own schedules of celebratory events. The Aspen Art Museum offers a free “I Don’t Get It” conversation with artist-in-residence Morgan Fisher, as well as Snowman Building with 2012-13 lift ticket artist David Shrigley. The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies hosts a snowshoe hike to explore the winter habitat of Aspen’s plant and animal life as well as winter weather and local geography. Live music and theater abound in Aspen all four days of Winterskol.
At the Wheeler Opera House enjoy musical performances by Dr. Sadistic & The Classical Cry Babies, Andy Hackbarth and The Bella Betts Band. Also at the Wheeler, Aspen District Theater performs the charming musical The Drowsy Chaperone. The JAS Café is in full swing with performances by Rose Max & Ramatis. And Aspen’s favorite live music club, Belly Up, rocks it with lively concerts by Cash’d Out, The Spazmatics Trampled By Turtles and Robert Randoph.
Believe it or not, this is only a sampling of all the creative events scheduled for this monumental Aspen winter weekend. A complete schedule of events is available on the Aspen Chamber Resort Association website. Sköl!
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