Every mountain town has age-old traditions celebrated by its locals, but it’s safe to say that no one celebrates quite like Aspen. While the illustrious ski town is known for it’s world-class skiing and equally phenomenal après scene, Aspen locals emphatically celebrate their appreciation for their winter wonderland year-round. From January 11th-14th, the Aspen community will be celebrating Wintersköl: Aspen’s annual “toast to winter.”
The festival dates back to January 1951 as a celebration of Aspen’s unique Nordic lifestyle. While the events have evolved to fit contemporary interests throughout the past 67 years, Wintersköl remains devout to honoring an eclectic mix of events that embody the unrivaled spirit of Aspen. All four Aspen mountains come together to celebrate what could be considered a mountain town themed Mardi Gras.
This year, the four-day weekend of festivities includes, but is not limited to, the Soupsköl soup cook-off, Snowcoming bonfire, an adult broomball competition, live music, a canine fashion show, a screening of “Aspen Extreme” and a retro film series, a torch light decent down Aspen mountain, “The Great Debate” at the Aspen Art Museum, Wintersculpt snow-sculpting completion downtown, the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix Olympic qualifiers at Snowmass, a Fat Cycle fat bike race, and, of course, a firework extravaganza.
Aside from the predictably glamorous canine fashion show (picture a wiener dog in a miniature dirndl costume or a Great Dane in a Bogner onesie), the Winter King and Queen ceremony is a particularly special event. On Thursday, January 11th the Aspen Chamber Resort Association (ACRA) will crown two individuals from the Aspen valley community who exemplify a Wintersköl spirit of community involvement and goodwill, have made a significant contribution to the community, and have embraced life in the mountain town and its variety of activities. The ceremony will take place from 12pm-1:30pm at the St. Regis Aspen.
While some of the weekend festivities will require tickets, most are free and open to the public.
With the new year, Aspen has dedicated the 2018 Wintersköl festival to being “Better Together.” According to the ACRA, Wintersköl in its 67th year will “give thanks and show respect to Aspen for being an ideal combination of a destination for some and a home to many.” For those who have been lucky enough to visit Aspen, you know what the ACRA means by this. For those who haven’t, this coming weekend is your chance to become familiar with why Aspen is so extraordinary.
For the full schedule of this year’s Wintersköl events, click here.