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9 Coloradical Mountain Festivals You Need to Attend This Summer

20160808Telluride Ryan Bonneau Jazz Fest

There’s this strange misconception that mountain towns shut down once the snow melts, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead of chasing Ullr and the powder gods, many resorts embrace Colorado’s 300+ days of sun a year with music, food and fun all summer long. So put on your party pants because there’s no off-season in ski country.

For the Beer Lovers

OktoberWest at Steamboat, Chili and Beer at Crested Butte or Alpine & Ales Mountain Oktoberfest at Winter Park

Break out your lederhosen and dirndls because mountain towns do Oktoberfest right. Steamboat’s beer and beef cook-off are the perfect pairing to kick-off the fall season. If you enjoy taste testing, you can help judge Crested Butte’s local flavors or watch the chainsaw carving contest at Winter Park.

Oktoberwest at Steamboat Resort – September 14-15

Chili and Beer at Crested Butte – September 8

Alpine & Ales Mountain Oktoberfest at Winter Park – September 8

For the Music Buffs

Jazz Aspen Snowmass (JAS) & Orpheus Music & Arts Festival at Sunlight

JAS is a bit of a deceiving name since it features so many more genres than just jazz. Major headliners (like Zach Brown and Jack Johnson) along with local musicians take the stage in what evolved from a three-day festival in Aspen to a full-blown, multi-day venture around town. Their Labor Day extravaganza is still the best way to end summer on a high note. Also happening Labor Day Weekend, the Orpheus Music & Arts Festival will feature a single stage of independent bands and artists, along with opportunities to explore downtown Glenwood Springs and hike Sunlight Mountain Resort.

Jazz Aspen Snowmass – August 31-September 2

Orpheus Music & Arts Festival at Sunlight Mountain Resort – August 31-September 1

20170926 WinterPark CarlFrey FallScenic (16)

For the Photographers

Color Sunday at Powderhorn (September 30)

Color Sunday is a Grand Mesa favorite. Powderhorn will host a full day of scenic lift rides, live music, biking, and the beautiful fall colors on the Grand Mesa. Photographers can capture the stunning autumn leaves and enjoy a family-friendly day in the mountains.

For the Cultured Ones

Telluride Film Festival (September 1-4)

The Telluride Film Festival is a prestigious event with an air of mystery. They notoriously keep their film schedule a secret, which makes it all the much more exciting to know you’re getting a sneak preview of major award nominees.

For the Cowgirls

Rocky Mountain Bull Bash at Steamboat Springs or the Snowmass Rodeo

There’s nothing more authentically Western than a good old-fashioned rodeo. Break out your spurs and boots and watch some of the top bull riders put on a show in Steamboat or take part in the longest running rodeo in Colorado in Snowmass. You’ll see barrel racing, team roping, and mutton bustin’. Yee haw!

Rocky Mountain Bull Bash at Steamboat Springs – September 2

Snowmass Rodeo – Every Wednesday night through August 22

SteamboatResort LarryPierce Rodeo (1)

Lauren Monitz is a travel/food writer and social media influencer specializing in offbeat adventures. From becoming a certified viking in Iceland to blackwater rafting in New Zealand and ski biking at home in Colorado, she is on a perpetual mission to seek out the most insane local attractions she can find. She has bylines across the web from Thrillist and the Huffington Post to Eater and the Food Network. You can follow her (mis)adventures on