What’s Going On in Aspen and Snowmass This Winter and Spring

With so much to see and do, from holiday festivities to film premieres to lung-busting races, there's never a dull moment in the Roaring Fork Valley.

December 21, 2021 Published in the Winter/Spring 2021-22 issue of Aspen Sojourner

Snowmass Luminescence: Dec 17–Feb 27


Snowmass Luminescence
After the lifts stop spinning on Snowmass Mountain, the light show begins, as in a stroll through The Tunnel: an LED-lit maze of interactive walkways and arches, including Submergence, a digital light and sound installation by Squidsoup, an international arts collective. Sunset until 9 p.m., Dec 17–Feb 27., 970-923-1227

Select Dates

Full-Moon Dinners
Skin or hike up Tiehack at Buttermilk by the light of the full moon, then enjoy free hot chocolate around an outdoor fire and à la carte dinner specials and a cash bar inside the Cliffhouse restaurant at the summit. Don’t forget your headlamp and extra layers for the ski or hike back down. Dates TBD at press time., 970-923-1227

Belly Up Aspen
With its 450-person capacity and kicking sound system, this intimate club is one of the best live-music venues around. Notable acts this winter announced as of press time include Diplo (Dec 31), Mersiv (Jan 12), Galactic (Feb 7), Umphrey’s McGee (Mar 18–20), St. Paul & the Broken Bones (Apr 29), and the Marcus King Band (May 7)., 970-544-9800

Ullr Nights
On select nights throughout the ski season, Elk Camp restaurant serves an à la carte dinner (5–9 p.m.) followed by s’mores and hot cocoa by the bonfire. Ride the Snowmass gondola to family-friendly snow play, including the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster and lift-served tubing., 970-923-1227


Nick and Maggie DeWolf Public Lectures
Hosted by the Aspen Center for Physics, these community-oriented lectures by leading physicists tackle a diverse set of topics to bring out your inner Emmet Lathrop “Doc” Brown, including sources of gravitational waves (Jan 5), quantum field theory (Feb 9), galaxy formation and ancient star clusters (Mar 16), and  (“Great Scott!”) the dynamics of social interactions (Mar 30). From 4:30 p.m., a Physics Café co-hosted with the Aspen Science Center precedes each lecture. 5:30 p.m., Wheeler Opera House.,


Game of Stones
Try your hand at curling in this head-to-head elimination competition for teams of two. Thu & Fri, 3–5 p.m., through Mar 31. Snowmass Base Village.,

History Lessons with Larry
On the third Thursday of each month (Jan 20, Feb 17, Mar 17), longtime local and mining expert Larry Frederick enthusiastically shares stories of Aspen’s numerous mines, geology, firefighting, and early innovation. 3 p.m., Aspen Historical Society Archive Building, free., 970-925-3721

Music on the Mall
Musicians from the Roaring Fork Valley entertain in Snowmass on the outdoor Tower Stage. Bonus: Free s’mores! 2:30–4:30 p.m. in December, 3–5 p.m. through April 14.


Aspen Mountain History Ski Tour
Looking for a personal way to celebrate Aspen’s 75th season? A volunteer historian from the Aspen Historical Society will lead two free hourlong ski tours to historic sites on Aspen Mountain. 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., through April 15; meet at the guest services cabin below the Sundeck and Gentleman’s Ridge Chair terminus., 970-925-3721

Bud Light Mountain Games
Competitors (aged 21+) take on a variety of whimsical and physical challenges, including slaloming through the snow on fat bikes, Ski-Mo paintball, ax throwing (at a target, not another competitor), snow golf, and pint glass shuffleboard: sliding a beer to an opponent at the opposite end of a 10-foot-long bartop, who has to empty the pint glass with each successive pass. Schedule TBD at press time.,

Friday Morning Uphill Breakfast Club
Snowmass Mountain’s summit restaurant, the Cliffhouse, serves as a pit stop for uphill skiers needing a recharge, serving a full breakfast (fried rice with a farm egg or French toast and bacon), an oatmeal and yogurt bar, or a quick warmup with coffee, tea, or hot choco. 8:45–10 a.m., Jan 7–Apr 1., 970-923-1227


History on Stage: Aspen’s Ski Pioneers
Scholars and actors from the Aspen Historical Society stage autobiographical skits resurrecting the pioneers who shaped local ski history at the Collective in Snowmass Village. 6 p.m., doors open at 5:30 p.m. Jan 9 (Billy Fiske performed by Mike Monroney), Feb 20 (Fred Iselin performed by Alexander Hunter), Mar 13 (Gretl Uhl performed by Nina Gabianelli)., 970-925-3721


19 | Seeing Silence with Pete McBride
Colorado photographer, filmmaker, and adventurer Pete McBride will speak and present slides from his latest book, Seeing Silence: The Beauty of the World’s Most Quiet Places, a visual tour of some of the world’s most serene landscapes, from high-altitude vistas of the Atacama to the African savanna and from the Arctic Peninsula to the deltas of the Ganges and the Nile. $12. 6 p.m., Wheeler Opera House., 970-925-5756

20 | Mission Mt. Mangart
Warren Miller athlete Chris Anthony presents his award-winning documentary film, telling the story of an international ski race America’s elite 10th Mountain Division ski troopers staged on the flanks of an 8,789-foot peak in the Julian Alps at the close of World War II, starring Mikaela Shiffrin. $20. 7 p.m., Wheeler Opera House., 970-920-5770

20–31 | 12 Days of Aspen
Aspen’s already busy slate of winter events amplifies over the holidays with activities like a visit from Santa and his reindeer on the Cooper Avenue Mall and other special surprises., 970-925-1940

21 | Solstice Celebration
The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies celebrates the longest night of the year at Hallam Lake with a community bonfire, hot cocoa (bring your own reusable mug!), crafts, and life music. 4–7 p.m., advance registration required., 970-925-5756

31 | NYE Fireworks
Aspen also welcomes in the new year with fireworks over Aspen Mountain (at 8 p.m.) plus a bonfire and DJ at Wagner Park (6–9 p.m.) and skating at Aspen Ice Garden (6–8 p.m., reservations required)., 970-925-1940


11 | Aspen Mountain 75th Anniversary
To celebrate its 75th, Aspen Skiing Company will host a community gathering at the original Lift One site at the base of Shadow Mountain, where the first chairlift was dedicated on Jan 11, 1947. Leading up to that event on Jan 9–11, Pop-Up Magazine (a San Francisco–based troupe of writers, radio producers, filmmakers, and musicians) will stage three evenings of community-inspired storytelling, art, music, and performance at Aspen’s historic Wheeler Opera House.

Aspen’s annual tribute to the snowy season will look different this year but will still include the usual bevy of on-mountain activities, concerts, and a torchlight parade down Aspen Mountain, followed by a community bonfire and fireworks., 970-925-1940

21–23 | X Games Aspen
The Red Bull–fueled action revolves around the ski and snowboard SuperPipe (and 100 invited athletes of the caliber of Chloe Kim), and the fun revolves around XFest goings-on, which, alas this season due to pandemic restrictions, will not include ticketed blockbuster concerts.


12 | Nordic Bonfire Dinner
One way to test-drive your Valentine’s date before committing to the big day: cross-country ski from station to station, fueling up on food and drink from local restaurants, at this annual fundraiser for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club’s Nordic team. 4–6 p.m., Aspen Cross Country Center., 970-205-5107

19–23 | Aspen Laugh Festival
Aspen fetes the funny bone as the Wheeler hosts some of the country’s hottest comedians, from established stars to up-and-comers. Various venues., 970-920-5770


5 | Audi Power of Four ski Mountaineering
This annual suffer-fest sees teams of two race up and down all four local ski areas—that’s 24 miles and 10,000 vertical feet of climbing. The Power of Two goes up and down Aspen Highlands and Aspen Mountain., 970-923-1227

12 | America’s Uphill
Long before skinning uphill became a thing, racers have been trekking the 3,267 feet up Aspen Mountain on skis, snowshoes, or shoes with traction devices for this annual endurance fest. New this year: entry fees include a full post-race breakfast at the Sundeck. 7 a.m., 970-429-2093


2–3 | The North Face Grand Traverse
Cheer on the exhausted-looking skiers you’ll see making their way down Aspen Mountain, race bibs and backpacks signifying them as competitors in this annual race from Crested Butte. After all, each team of two has just climbed and skied some 40 miles, starting at midnight.

3 | Bacon Appreciation and Buttermilk Closing Day
Need we say more? This daylong celebration features a full schedule of swine, including bacon waffles, bacon doughnuts, and bacon samplers around the mountain, plus an uphill race with best-costume prizes, portable hot tubs outside Bumps, live music in the afternoon, a bacon-and-beer happy hour at Bumps, and kids’ activities., 970-923-1227

4–9 | NASTAR National Championships
NASTAR, the world’s largest recreational ski and snowboard racing program, returns to the Spider Sabich arena on Snowmass Mountain for a week of slalom and GS racing for athletes of almost-all ages (3 to 93)., 970-923-1227

5–10 | Aspen Shortsfest
One of North America’s premier short-film festivals, Shortsfest screens some 80 animation, documentary, and live-action films in its Oscar-qualifying international competition, followed by filmmaker Q&As after each program and other events. Wheeler Opera House and Crystal Theatre in Carbondale., 970-925-6882

10 | Aspen Highlands Closing Day
There’s no party quite like it all year, as locals—and, now, scores of visitors—let way loose to close down their favorite mountain for the season.,

17 | Aspen Mountain and Snowmass Closing Day
Bid farewell to the season with final runs down your favorite trails. The celebration at Snowmass includes a pond skim and parties at the Alpin Room and Elk Camp, followed by a group ski from Elk Camp to the base for swimsuit-clad skiers and riders., 970-923-1227

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