Off the Hill with Tricia Swenson: America’s Winter Opening kicks off Thursday | VailDaily.com

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Off the Hill with Tricia Swenson: America’s Winter Opening kicks off Thursday

The Birds of Prey World Cup ski races may have been cancelled, but there are still reasons to celebrate at Beaver Creek. Kick off winter with the second annual America’s Winter Opening this weekend.

The first weekend after Thanksgiving is synonymous with the Birds of Prey races as Beaver Creek is a regular stop on the Audi FIS World Cup race circuit. This year, the lack of snow forced officials to cancel the only stop on American soil for the men’s teams, but the party will go on with live concerts, beer tastings and fireworks.

Birds of Prey Way will host carnival-style games on the plaza for the kids. The adults can attend the Beers of Prey tasting at the Vilar Performing Arts Center. For $35, you can enjoy unlimited sampling of 40 different beers, including a commemorative tasting glass and 10 featured food pairings.

Savory or sweet, you’ll be covered at the tasting. Try Odell’s Mountain Standard with sharp cheddar cheese or Oskar Blues Old Chub with chocolate-caramel kisses.

Live concerts indoors and out will feature Strange Americans, Bonfire Dub & Friends, Winter Wondergrass All-Stars, Town Cavalry & the Williams Brothers Band.

The Raptor Education Foundation will be displaying their beautiful birds of prey, including a golden eagle that is 35 years old. The Birds of Prey event gets its name from those birds in our area, such as the osprey, screech owl and peregrine.

Kettle Curling will also be played on the Black Family Ice Rink. You can try your skills by signing up at the ice rink and join a team or form your own team of four. It will be set up according to kettle curling rules and there will be prizes, so why not give sliding stones a shot?

For the full lineup of events, check out http://www.americaswinteropening.com.