Vail has been home to all kinds of firsts - plastic ski boots, North America's first gondola, snowmaking, night time grooming - and now the winter open air theater.The Logan Ice Theater, sponsored by Vicki and Kent Logan, is part of the sixth annual Triumph Winterfest's AlpenGLOW, a Vail's Art in Public Places program. By the time you read this, pictures and video from Vail's first 50 years will be projecting onto the 10-foot ice screen.Paul Wertin of Alpine Ice Sculpture created the screen in ice, as well as other ice sculptures for the Logan Ice Theater. For a guy who lives in ice, he has a warm heart."We tested it on a 20-by-40-inch screen and it worked great," Wertin said. "When it's full size it'll have a couple seams in it where the ice was put together, and that just adds to the character."It's clear ice and Wertin rigged it so the images could be projected from the back.It opened Wednesday at sunset, which works out well because this is the darkest week of the year. Don't make us get into a long explanation about the astronomy of the Winter Solstice, just look out your window and take our word for it.When the sun sets, the videos and photos will be projected onto the 10-foot tall ice screen.
For the uninitiated, "open air theater" is a middle America term for drive-in theater. We could call it "al fresco," but that's French and "al" is the periodic table symbol for aluminum, which is American for "recyclable adult beverage container."The Logan Ice Theater is like a drive-in theater, except the Logans are way classier than that, and you can't drive along the Gore Creek Promenade in Vail Village, where the Logan Ice Theater is located.Warren Miller Entertainment put together an anthology of Vail footage from his films beginning in 1962. It's called "Vail ... Timeless."And because they started at the same time, the Vail Ski & Snowboard School is also celebrating its 50th anniversary - mostly because there wasn't much market for a ski school in Vail before there was skiing.Anyway, their film is called "The Call of the Mountains - 50 Years of the Vail Ski & Snowboard School." It'll also be shown, along with other videos created by Vail Resorts that capture the history and spirit of Vail.Pink Monkey has been designing local events since 2005. They've produced the lighting for the Triumph Winterfest exhibitions since its inception in 2008."We are excited to explore the effects of the moving image when cast through ice on a large scale," said Nathan Cox from Pink Monkey Solutions.Vail's Vicki and Kent Logan and Triumph Partners put up the money through contributions to Vail's Art in Public Places program. In fact, Triumph put up enough money to keep the outdoor snow and ice sculpture exhibition going through 2015, when the World Alpine Ski Championships return to town. Steve Virostek and James Fangmeyer are the founding partners in Triumph Partners, a real estate development and management company with offices in Vail and Bethesda, Maryland.
The Logans weren't thinking about ice as an artistic medium when they signed on for this."It's just something that needed to be done and we were happy to do it," Kent said.The Logans were married in Vail in 1985, and have supported the arts."We've been involved in Vail for some time in a number of different things," Kent said. "It was an effort to expand the Winterfest, which is always a nice event. We wanted to help make it bigger and include more ice sculptors."They wanted to be involved in Vail's 50th anniversary celebration, and this was a great way to do it, Kent said.Their Vail roots run so deep that they were married at the top of Vail Mountain by Judge Buck Allen and had their reception at Alfie Packers."I've been in Vail since the 1970s and what's more quintessential Vail than watching Warren Miller films at Alfie Packers," he said. Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.