Aspen Highlands Closing Day - What a Blast!
Aspen Highlands closed on Sunday, April 24 with a bang - literally. The following was originally posted at www.grindtv.com and was written by Heather Hendricks 4/27/11.
For years we've heard stories of the debauchery and degeneracy that takes place on the last day of the season at Aspen Highlands.
Tales of costumes, booze, revelry and riding circled from previous years and illustrated a scene that seemed too crazy to be true- and definitely too crazy to miss. When the opportunity arose to attend this year's festivities- thanks to the amazing crew at Aspen/Snowmass- we jumped on the chance.
The tradition of closing down Highlands in this grand fashion has been taking place for years as a chance for everyone to celebrate the finale of an incredible season. Every year the party gets bigger and people get bolder- making it one of the most memorable and mind-blowing events of the year.
Thanks to record snowfall, this year's festivities were extended into late April on Easter Sunday, which proved a sin for some and celebration for others.
After a late night in Aspen, we awoke a little groggy at the Hotel Aspen and got ready for the ultra-hyped day. We suited up in our neon gear and hopped the bus to Highlands, still unsure of what to expect.
The scene on the bus gave us the first taste of the craziness to ensue. There were a pack of people dressed as pickles, cowboys, carrots, bananas, and dozens of peeps in vintage neon one-pieces, all toting skis or snowboards, visibly amped for the day.
When we arrived at the resort, we followed the masses of costumed crazies up three lifts to the base of the infamous Highlands Bowl. Here, hundreds of people hiked their way to the top for the last fresh tracks of the season.
The 45-minute hike was a party the whole way with many shot-gunning beers at the summit as a reward for making it through the mission. Then everyone strapped on their gear and sent it through the slushy slop, enjoying the glory of each treacherous turn.
When we reached mid-mountain, our crew and many others reconvened at Cloud 9. This is a small shack that once housed the ski patrol, but recently holds place as a rustic, fine dining eatery that often requires reservations months in advanced.
Inside, the party really got started as throngs of people infiltrated tables set with fondue and champagne and began to straight up send it. Aspen's Content Crew quickly assumed the position of party aficionados and encouraged the awesomely outrageous behavior.
Seats once reserved for lunch that cost $40 a plate turned into disco dance floors. Everything from ninja turtles to hotdogs and everything in between began to shake what their mama gave them in uninhibited jubilance.
The scene was madness, amazing and at one point, somewhat disturbing.
For reasons unknown, an older man in his 70's or even early 80's thought it was necessary to drop his neon colored drawers and moon the people that had amassed outside. It was a sight to be seen, but his naked booty gyrations generated cheers from the crowd and the party kept on going.
From this point, it was all things go and utter mayhem ensued. Bottle after bottle of champagne was sprayed, glasses were broken, and when people jumped off the restaurant roof- it was time to get off the mountain.
We gathered our gear and set out for the historic last run. Clouds were dumping giant wet flakes, making it almost impossible to navigate the hazy way down to the base. It was like a do or die mission, but thankfully everyone had practiced their entire season for this- the chance to make it to the bottom.
With only a few minor spills along the way, we reached the base. High fives and fist pumps were a welcomed sight and the revelry continued on the rickety 'Sun Deck'.
Shortly there after, when the lifts had stopped and it was assured that everyone had made it down the mountain, the sound of avalanche bombs
bellowed through the sky.
Boom after boom quieted the party-ers until a final bomb exploded and the first ski patroller was spotted coming down the hill. Cheers erupted from the jubilant crowd as the entire patrol fleet skied down the mountain one final time.
This signified the official closing of Highlands and the end of the 2010-2011 winter season.
The celebration was so much crazier than we expected and definitely something that we will never miss. Even when we're old and grey- we'll be there, but don't count on us to drop any drawers...
Until next season-
Check out all of the antics in this Gallery.
Big Thanks to:
and to all the rest of the Amazing Aspenites.
Photo Credits: Jeremy Swanson - Aspen/Snowmass, Tawnya Schultz