Food and Wine Classic? Check. Summer Words? Check. AREDAY? Check. The summer festival season in Aspen is already in full swing and we’ve barely had a minute to catch our breath this week before the Aspen Ideas Festival and Jazz Aspen Snowmass’ June Experience get underway. The options on the activity and cultural calendars are endless, so here we arm you with an agenda for this weekend to help you navigate the sea of schedules—unparalleled among any other mountain town.
Friday, June 24
The Little Nell Garden Tour
4 p.m., The Little Nell
Last year, the Little Nell debuted the first “living wall” installation in Aspen. Built by Arabella Beavers of Busy Beavers Gardening, the 24-foot by 7-foot poolside structure is back again for the summer, designed to represent each of Aspen Skiing Company’s four mountains with petunia, coleus, lobelia, and alyssum annuals. Today, Beavers kicks off her weekly complimentary garden tours throughout the grounds, best enjoyed with a crisp glass of bubbly. Call or visit the concierge desk to sign up.
Theatre Aspen Presents "Mamma Mia!"
8 p.m., The Hurst Theatre
The official opening night of the infamous Greek island paradise production set to the timeless tunes of ABBA is sold out (June 27), but you can be the first to see it at one of three preview performances this weekend.
Saturday, June 25
Aspen Saturday Market
8 a.m.—3 p.m.
The best way to spend a summer Saturday morning in Aspen? At the U-shaped farmer’s market in the heart of town, perusing plenty of locally grown produce, handmade crafts, jewelry, and souvenirs.
10 a.m.—4 p.m., Snowmass Bike Park
The epicenter for adrenaline junkes is now open for the season, offering an unmatched playground for peddlers featuring more than 50 miles of downhill biking trails. A quick ride on the Elk Camp Gondola ($42*) will take you to the park entrance, where beginners can meet up with a dedicated pro or experienced riders can find their preferred path. Experts will want to take the Elk Camp chairlift all the way to the top for a thrilling descent of 2,893 feet back down to Base Village. This weekend, don't miss the second annual Snowmass Demo Days, where you can test out the season's latest equipment, gear, and accessories, and talk one-on-one to the brains behind the leading bike brands in the business.
*2015-2016 winter season pass holders can ride the Elk Camp Gondola for free through June 30.
Wild Within: Yoga for Conservation
4 p.m.—5:30 p.m., O2 Aspen
Wind down from the day with a special yoga sesh led by O2 Aspen’s Evan Soroka benefitting The Wilderness Workshop that will focus on how mind-body connectedness can help influence change in your community. Post-class, learn more about the local nonprofit with wine and light bites from Spring Cafè. Registration is $15 and complimentary for O2 pass-holders, with a requested donation at the door.
Ethical Choices: Oscar Nominated Short Films and Discussion
7:15—9 p.m., Paepcke Auditorium
Spotlight Health returns for the third year as the opening segment of the Aspen Ideas Festival to address cutting-edge health issues of the moment. There’s a slew of sessions open to the public through the duration of the conference, but we recommend ducking into the special screening of two Oscar-nominated short films, “Body Team 12” and “Chau, Beyond the Lines,” followed by a panel discussion moderated by Helen Branswell.
Sunday, June 26
Take a Hike
9 a.m., Aspen Mountain
Check off this bucket list hike and conquer the face of Aspen Mountain. We recommend starting at the Ute Trail just east of town, which quickly climbs 700 vertical feet to a scenic rocky overlook for a rest stop before heading all the way to the top—another 2,300 vertical feet of gain.
12—3 p.m., Aspen Mountain
Once you make the summit, nothing beats a cold-beer and a free open-air concert on top of the world as a reward. The roster of local bluegrass bands rotates each week, and if you’re not up for the hike, catch the Silver Queen Gondola ($22), which starts spinning at 10:00 a.m.
JAS June Experience: Marcus Miller & Booker T. Jones
7:30 p.m., Benedict Music Tent
The sold-out Diana Ross show on Friday kicks off Jazz Aspen Snowmass’ 26th season, which welcomes Sheyl Crow on Saturday and Smokey Robinson on July 2. But we’re most excited for the Sunday double-header featuring the soulful sounds of bassist, composer, and UNESCO Artist For Peace Marcus Miller as the opener, with Grammy award–winner Booker T. Jones headlining.