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Circus tricks, comedy, hockey, BBQ and more: Tricia’s weekend picks 1/17/20

Circus acts and comedy at the Vilar

This week brings thrilling acrobatics and comedy to the stage of the Vilar Performing Arts Center with Cirque Mechanics and Tom Papa.

Cirque Mechanics returns to the Vilar on Saturday at 7 p.m. with its newest production, “42FT – A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels.” The number 42 signifies the size of the ring in this one-ring circus filled with amazing acrobats, aerialists and strongmen. Chris Lashua created Cirque Mechanics in 2004 after collaborating with the Circus Center of San Francisco on the show “Birdhouse Factory.” After its success, Lashua created this company that has since produced shows like “Boomtown” and “Pedal Punk.”

The Vilar Performing Arts Center provides the perfect venue to see the aerials and acrobatic feats up close. Tickets are $68 for adults and $48 for children. The show is part of the Pay Your Age ticket program (18-30 years old) and also included in the ticket package Pick 3 Shows for $90, Pick 5 Shows for $175 or Pick 8 Shows for $240. Tickets are available now at the Vilar box office, by calling 970-845-8497 or by going online to the website: www.vilarpac.org.

On Sunday at 7 p.m., enjoy the comedy of Tom Papa. Based out of Los Angeles, Papa travels to perform stand up comedy across the nation when he’s not busy on the airwaves. Papa contributes to NPR’s “Live from Here” and “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me” and also hosts podcasts including SiriusXM’s “Come to Papa,” featuring guests like Mel Brooks, Ray Romano and Jerry Seinfeld.

“If you don’t know Tom Papa, he’s got an awesome, smart and clean sense of humor, a lot like Jim Gaffigan,” said Ruthie Hamrick, senior marketing manager for the Vilar Performing Arts Center. “I’m super excited about this show.”

Tickets are $48 and can be purchased at the box office, website or by calling the box office.

Vail Yeti Hockey

Semi-pro hockey returns to Vail with the Vail Yeti hockey team hitting the ice once again this weekend. Dobson Ice Arena plays host to the home team as well as many top teams across the nation.

Last weekend, the Yeti were matched up against the New York Fire Department hockey team and squeezed out a win on Friday during an exciting third period and lost to FDNY on Saturday. This weekend is rivalry weekend, with the Yeti taking on the Breckenridge Vipers.

In their seventh season, the Yeti has grown in popularity among loyal fans and as a destination for quality hockey teams from out of town. Regionally, the Yeti not only compete against Breckenridge but also teams from Aspen, Boulder and Denver.

“The games are usually high intensity, high hitting and high scoring affairs. At $10 for a general admission ticket, its cheap entertainment in an expensive valley,” said Bill Foster, who is the Yeti coach and also a player on the team. Coach Foster gives us some info on the roster:

Players to look out for:

Justin Elmore (leading goal scorer all 7 seasons) 

Kirk Golden (Vail local, 7 seasons professional in Europe) 

Brent Sands (professional Europe/SPHL) 

Andy Canzanello (11 years professional AHL/DEL) 

Derrick Gerhardt (Vail local, 7th season with the Yeti) 

Matt Merritt (Vail local, Gustavus Adolphus Division 3 college hockey)

Spencer Gold (starting goalie)

Newcomers: 

Dom Panetta (Ferris State Division 1 college hockey)

Casey Kleisinger (Vail local, Air Force Academy Division 1 college hockey) 

Dave Ramsay (Williams College Division 3 college hockey)

The Yeti’s success has attracted talented players from the American Hockey League, which is the direct feeder league to the NHL, professional leagues in Europe and Australia as well as top college teams.

“W“We are taking this upcoming weekend to get prepared and really dialed in. We have a challenging five-week stretch approaching with teams from Texas, New England, New Jersey, Denver and Minnesota,” said six-year veteran of the Yeti team, Brent Sands. “These teams are stacked with hockey players, not just guys that play hockey. We need to be ready and we can’t take any team lightly.” 

The puck drops at 7:45 p.m. at Dobson Arena in Vail Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 years of age and younger. For more information, visit www.vailyetihockey.com.

First Tracks at Beaver Creek

You may have heard about people getting first tracks, which can either mean you were fortunate enough to get in line before everyone else to get some unforgettable turns, or first tracks is also an offering on Vail And Beaver Creek that is reserved for members of Vail Resorts Signature Clubs or donors to a particular group like the Vail Valley Foundation. Now, you can be a part of First Tracks at Beaver Creek on select dates throughout the season.

This Sunday, meet other early risers in your group at the Centennial Express lift at 7:15 a.m. Beaver Creek will have its top ski and snowboard professionals greeting you and letting you in on their top terrain recommendations for the morning excursion.

If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll time your First Tracks experience on a powder day, but even if there’s no fresh snow, the feeling of being the only one out there, even on the corduroy, is an experience all its own.

After you’ve taken a few runs with your guides and have worked up an appetite, you’ll be led down to Allie’s Cabin. This on-mountain restaurant is on the eastern hillside, just off of the Gold Dust trail and above the Haymeadow Express Gondola. The Allie’s Cabin culinary team will welcome your group with an amazing breakfast spread.  

Adult tickets are priced at $160 per person with children 12 and under priced at $80 per person. You will still need a pass or a day lift ticket to access the mountain. Advanced reservations are required, please call 970-754-5310 or visit www.beavercreek.com. If you miss First Tracks this Sunday, you can still aim to get out there at the crack of dawn on Jan. 26 or Feb. 16 and 23.

Beaver Creek Uphill and Skimo race

New for 2020, the Vail Recreation District brings their winter race series to Beaver Creek for the first time this season with an uphill and skimo competition at Arrowhead.

The Beaver Creek Uphill and Skimo is the first event in the Vail Grail Winter Race Series. The Vail Grail is a championship series consisting of three winter events: the new Beaver Creek Uphill and Skimo, an uphill at Vail Mountain and a snowshoe shuffle. Participants can sign up for one, two or all three races. Racers who complete all three races have a shot at winning the coveted Vail Grail, a permanent trophy that will bear the male and female division winners’ names for years to come. Athletes wishing to participate in all events and compete for the Vail Grail can sign up for the full series for a discounted rate of $85.

Competitors can choose the uphill or skimo (ascent and descent) option and can use any means to get up the mountain (snowshoes, skis, splitboards or winter running devices). Skis or a snowboard are required to compete in the skimo competition.

Participants will ascend approximately 1,700 vertical feet and just under two miles from the base of Arrowhead Village to the top of Arrow Bahn Express Lift. The event will conclude with breakfast and awards at Broken Arrow Restaurant at the base of Arrowhead. 

Online registration is available prior to race day at vailrec.com/register. Day-of registration and bib pick up will be available at Broken Arrow in Arrowhead Village prior to the race starting at 6 a.m. Race entry fees are $35 through Saturday and $45 on the day of the race. 

BBQ at the Westin’s Gondola Plaza

If you’re riding the Riverfront Express gondola toward the end of the day on Saturday and smell barbecue instead of the flavors of Mexican food from Maya, it’s because The Westin Riverfront is hosting a special après-ski barbecue next to the gondola on Saturday.

Held on The Westin Riverfront’s Gondola Plaza, the party will feature a delicious array of barbecue favorites including smoked pork, brisket and chicken all cooked up in a big smoker that will be outside for the event.

“We wanted to create a fun new event where both locals and Vail Valley guests can enjoy our delicious food and drinks after a great day on the mountain,” said Kevin Delonay, director of food and beverage at The Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa.

“While we are known for our delicious Mexican food, it is always nice to change things up and serve different dishes, and of course we all like to be outside to bask in our gorgeous Beaver Creek views,” Delonay said.

Wash down all the barbecue flavors with drink specials like $3 Colorado draft beers and $5 margaritas. Guests can enjoy live music by The Evolution, who play a wide variety of modern tunes, including rock & roll and Caribbean sounds. This weekend celebration will happen between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Don’t forget to Seize the Summit at Maya this ski season. Simply show that you reached 15,000 vertical feet during your day on the mountain and receive a free house margarita in Maya or a draft beer or house glass of wine in The Lift from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

There will be tables and chairs outside and seating near the fire pits, but if you do get cold, hop into Maya, where they pour more than 150 agave-based spirits and house-infused tequilas. Maya offers complimentary valet parking for restaurant patrons. For more information, please visit www.westinriverfront.

Vendetta’s is more than pizza

Have you tried the cioppino at Vendetta’s, complete with sautéed calamari, mussels, shrimp, pan-seared scallops, two crab legs and lobster claws? How about the slowly braised veal shank osso buco? Or the famous pork chop with smoked Gouda sauce?

If you are wondering if I am talking about the wrong Vendetta’s or thinking, “Tricia, don’t you mean the Snow Pig or Willie’s White Room pizza slices at Vendetta’s? They don’t serve pork chops,” then you haven’t spent time in the original Vendetta’s, which has been around since 1983.

Many people don’t realize that just underneath the pizza bar there is a large dining room that people have been coming to for decades. “I grew up here and I can’t tell you how many times we get people who have said that they’ve lived here for years and didn’t know that Vendetta’s had a full-service restaurant downstairs,” said Jennifer Riddle, general manager and events coordinator of Vendetta’s Italian Restaurant & Pizza Bar.

But, once they find out about it, they keep coming back again and again.

“I see the same people every year, a couple of times a year, from all over the country and the world. They make sure they make Vendetta’s Restaurant a part of their vacation experience every time,” said general manager Shawn Meineke.

Not only do the patrons look familiar, but that staff does as well. Longtime local John “Popeye” Brennen started Vendetta’s.

“Many people don’t even know Popeye’s real name,” said Riddle, who is Popeye’s daughter. And how about the mayor of Vail, Dave Chapin (also known as “Bone” — they love nicknames at Vendetta’s), he’s a part-owner as well.

Good people and good food are what Vendetta’s is all about. Although the menu contains Italian fare, sous chef Joe Fellenz (simply known as Chef Joe) likes to get creative with the dishes. 

After traveling to Costa Rica, where Chef Joe tried a breakfast crepe with smoked Gouda on it, he tried figuring out ways to incorporate the cheese into the pork chop entree.

“I started adding whiskey, bacon and honey and the dry rub I use has about 15 ingredients. It meshes well with the sweetness and the savory side of the dish,” Fellenz said.

Add a deep-fried, roasted garlic mashed potato and a little salad on the side and you have what the wait staff and longtime patrons will tell you is the best dish on the menu.

“You can’t find pork chops like this in our valley,” Fellenz said.

Vendetta’s Restaurant recently renovated its downstairs. It still can hold the same number of people (you won’t believe how much space is downstairs: It’s great for hosting a big gathering like a rehearsal dinner or corporate event.) Look for new tables and chairs with a modern feel, new artwork on the walls and a new hue to brighten things up.

So, if you are looking for a slice of pizza, yes, Vendetta’s can handle that upstairs, but if you want to experience the fine dining side of this local landmark, head downstairs to the spacious and delicious restaurant below the bar. For more information, visit www.vendettasvail.com.

Sanitize gear with A Good Sport Co.

Celena Olden was simply trying to find quality used hockey gear for her son and also find a way to get rid of the odor of that gear when she embarked on something much greater: starting up a preowned sporting goods shop and including a disinfecting and sanitizing system as a new and unique service in the Vail Valley.

A Good Sport Co. in Eagle is filled with not only hockey gear, but also skis, snowboards, boots, camping gear, fishing gear and new merchandise. But what makes her store unique is that all the gear has been disinfected by the Sani Sport machine, which uses ozone to kill pathogens, viruses and mold that can live within our beloved gear. Olden wants to pass on this sanitizing service to the public.

“While researching this, I’ve heard of instances where people had a cut on their hand and how it got infected by the bacteria in the glove,” Olden said. “Bacteria, viruses and mold spores can colonize in athletic gear due to the moisture and heat from our bodies, despite trying to clean our gear.”

Using the same equipment owned by professional sports teams in the NFL, NHL and the MLB, and by using zero sprays and chemicals, the Sani Sport machine can kill over 98% of infection-causing pathogens.

The Sani Sport disinfecting machine uses ozone, which Olden said is 150 times stronger than bleach and works more than 3,000 times faster.  

“Ozone is a gas that is able to penetrate past surface fabrics, deep into the foam, into tiny crevices where sprays and hands can’t reach in order to combat the bacteria that has set up inside,” Olden said.

Sanitizing isn’t only limited to your boots, gloves and hockey skates. You can use it to deep-clean your running shoes, yoga mat, even items around the house like pillows, stuffed animals and your pet’s toys and foam bed.

View how this machine works and just how quickly it can sanitize your equipment by watching today’s video on www.vaildaily.com Or stop by A Good Sport Co. at 422 McIntire St. in Eagle.

Ice bumper cars, Oakley goggle week, forest bathing and more: Tricia’s weekend picks

New Ice Bumper Cars

Just when you thought there were enough activities to do in Eagle County, the Vail Recreation District has added one more: ice bumper cars.

The Vail Recreation District debuted the ice bumper cars at the Dobson Ice Arena over the holidays to rave reviews.

“It’s important for a world-class resort like Vail to constantly be innovating and bringing fresh new activities to the resort to keep guests coming back,” said Jessie Klehfoth, marketing and communications director at the Vail Recreation District. “It’s also important to offer new activities that are approachable and economical for locals to enjoy as well, to sustain a vibrant community.”

These bumper cars are fun for all ages and abilities. There is little skill involved, as long as the guest is tall enough to reach both steering handles. Typically, kids should be 5 years old or older and be at least 42 inches tall. It’s an easy and affordable option to enhance a day in Vail, and a great activity during après-ski hours in the winter. The Vail Rec District also plans to offer the ice bumper cars year-round, providing a fun activity for people who want to come in out of the sun and cool off in the summer.

Have an event, office party or birthday celebration coming up? The Vail Recreation District can customize an outing for you complete with treats and eats from their food and beverage department and a conference room you can use as a party space. With 12 cars available, the time needed for a party will depend on how many people attend and how long of a ride each person gets. “We think 15-30 minutes per guest is just right, they get a nice long ride, but it’s not too long,” Klehfoth said.

The cost is $10 for a 15-minute ride. Schedule varies by day, so check www.vailrec.com for the weekly schedule and to reserve a time slot online.

Films and live blues at the Vilar

The Vilar Performing Arts Center shows its diverse schedule by hosting ski movies and a blues legend this weekend. On Friday, view two epic Teton Gravity Research films in one night and on Sunday, see Chris Smither play blues-based folk tunes during two shows at the recently remodeled May Gallery adjacent to the Vilar Performing Arts Center.

Teton Gravity Research is an action sports media company whose films have amazed and inspired us since it began in Jackson Hole, WY in 1996. Teton Gravity Research will show two of its 2019 releases, “Winterland” and “Fire on the Mountain,” which was a collaboration with the Grateful Dead.

Earlier this year, I interviewed professional skier Chris Benchetler about the collaboration between the Grateful Dead, Atomic Skis and the artwork of Benchetler and fellow artist Skye Walker on the Bent Chetler powder ski. 

“With the Grateful Dead, no show was ever the same and that’s how I approach the mountain, it’s never the same line, it’s all improvisation,” Benchetler said.

The short film features the music of the Grateful Dead and is narrated by Hall of Fame basketball player and television sportscaster Bill Walton. Athletes in the film include skiers Benchetler and Michelle Parker and snowboarders Jeremy Jones, Danny Davis and Kimmy Fasani.

“Nothing beats watching these amazing athletes ski and ride to the perfect soundtrack. Add in the sound system and acoustics of our theatre and the audience is in for a real treat,” said Kim Hannold, programming director at the Vilar Performing Arts Center.

Sunday’s performance features Chris Smither, who was born in Miami, FL, but raised in New Orleans, LA where he was surrounded by music and was inspired by Mississippi John Hurt and Lightnin’ Hopkins. He started releasing albums in the ‘70s and released his 18th album in 2018. He has toured with B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Nanci Griffith, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and more.

“This will be a truly up close and intimate listening experience, unlike any concert we’ve had before. It’s a chance to get to know the artist on a much more personal level, hear their stories and provides more of a lounge-style experience,” said Ruthie Hamrick, marketing manager at the Vilar Performing Arts Center. There will be two shows at 4:30 and 7 p.m. on Sunday to accommodate the audiences who take advantage of the opportunity to see this blues legend in a cozy venue.

For more information on the Teton Gravity Research films and the Chris Smither concert, visit www.vilarpac.org.

Oakley Week coming to Vail

Oakley Week is coming to Vail this weekend for the first time since the traveling event started back in 2016. The Oakley team has traveled to ski areas like Mammoth, Whistler Blackcomb and iconic locations in Europe. Oakley Week offers a goggle demo where you can try out Oakley’s latest offerings and test Oakley Prizm lenses at the Oakley Village, located at Golden Peak. The demo is first come, first served and guests just need to provide a driver’s license.

One of the most frustrating things about being on the hill is not being able to see properly out of your goggles. The Prizm goggle line is engineered to dramatically enhance detail and help improve performance by providing ultra-precise color tuning for specific environments.

The goal of Prizm Technology is to provide increased contrast and boosted color in your environment. Take advantage of this free opportunity to try the Prizm goggles and see if you notice the difference out on the mountain.

Come ride with Oakley team athletes, Sammy Carlson and Logan Pehota. They will be riding the mountain throughout the event and will lead the Oakley Prizm Run at 2 p.m. on Friday. Meet at the bottom of Golden Peak at 2 p.m. and each participant gets a drink coupon to use at the après-ski party at Larkspur. Larkspur will host après-ski parties on Friday and Saturday. There will be plenty of prizes given away throughout the weekend as well.

For the kids, there will be a s’mores and a popcorn station. Kids can showcase their creative side at the coloring station where they can draw on a goggle strap that Oakley will plan to share with their development team for product inspiration for the following year. How cool would it be if your kid’s art ended up as a part of next year’s goggle line?

For more information, go to www.vail.com and check out the events calendar.

Full moon snowshoe and forest bathing

This Friday, enjoy a full moon backcountry experience and some forest bathing. What is forest bathing? In Japan, they practice something called forest bathing, where they “bathe” in the forest atmosphere, or take in the forest through the senses. This is not exercise hiking or jogging, but rather slowing down and getting yourself into a quiet, mindful headspace to make it easier to connect to the forest, mountains and sky and in this case, a night sky with a full moon. The first full moon of 2020 is also called the wolf moon.

First, a little socializing. When you get to the Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon, which has a beautiful campus just off of Buck Creek Road, you’ll be welcomed by hot drinks like cocoa, cider and tea (alcohol will not be provided but you are welcome to bring your own). After a half an hour of meeting your fellow snowshoers and guide, you will head about one mile up the Buck Creek Trail next to the Walking Mountains campus.

Once you get to an open meadow, gather around the fire that will be lit and ready for you to soak in the sights and sounds of the night. Forest therapy guide Kayla Weber will lead the group through a 30-minute forest bathing experience.

To connect with our mountain environment in a whole new way in a guided forest bathing experience sign up at www.walkingmountains.org. Space is limited, but if you miss this tour, there will be another one on February 8 and March 8.

Post-holiday recycling event

Walking Mountains, Vail Honeywagon, the town of Avon and the Climate Action Collaborative are working hard to clean up Eagle County’s dirty recycling habits in 2020. To help you jump on this bandwagon, there will be a post-holiday recycling event happening on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The type of materials they will be collecting on Saturday include many of the things that people need to get rid of after the holidays but these items cannot go in the recycling bin. These items include textiles, Styrofoam, plastic packaging, electronics, old Christmas lights, even Hasbro toys and games.

There is a charge for electronics, batteries and paper shredding but everything else is free. There will also be an LED light bulb swap during the event. Bring two non-LED light bulbs and swap them for energy-efficient LEDs.

“This is our third year offering this event and it’s really important that we offer this outlet for recycling these items responsibly because when people put these things in the curbside bin it contaminates our recycling stream and has the potential to negate all of the efforts we put into recycling correctly,” Shawn Bruckman, compost operations manager at Vail Honeywagon.

This recycling event will be held at the Old Town Hall parking lot at 1 Lake Street in Avon. For large loads, give them a call: 970-476-3511. A portion of the proceeds of this event will benefit Climate Action Collaborative.

Are you ready for the 40 day challenge?

Does all this talk about moving forward in the new decade intimidate you? Leap into the new year by joining the supportive team at Revolution Power Yoga for the 40 Days of Personal Revolution program, which begins on Jan. 7.

Over the course of 40 days, you will practice daily yoga, meditation, mindful eating and self-reflection. There are also group discussions, weekly themes and journaling.

It may sound like quite the commitment, especially if you’ve never done yoga, but the team at Revolution Power Yoga at Traer Creek near Avon is ready to help empower you.

“The reason why this program works is that you get to discover things about yourself that you didn’t already know and you’ll have people who will support you,” said Revolution Power Yoga owner Julie Kiddoo. “It’s really empowering, I can’t recommend it enough.”

After 40 days of committing to this program, the possibilities open up. That’s what happened to Chuck Toms, 50, of Eagle-Vail, who participated in the program in January of 2019 and is now a yoga instructor after never having done a yoga class.

“I just wanted to do yoga to increase my flexibility and improve my golf game and I wanted the accountability of the 40 days to commit to,” Toms said. “At first, my preconception was that there would be all these younger people here that could do it and that I wasn’t going to fit in. The first moment I stepped through the door, there was a sense of community and that’s what I needed.”

The biggest takeaway for Toms wasn’t the physical transformation but the mental transformation. “I learned self-care, self-compassion and self-discovery,” Toms said.

“If everybody did this program there’d be so much healing and peace in the world and peace within us,” Kiddoo said. 

It’s time to get out of your own way and discover a clearer vision for yourself for 2020. For more information about the 40 Days of Personal Revolution, visit www.revolutionpoweryoga.com.

Stargazing, snowshoe races, rock and roll and more: Tricia’s weekend picks 1/03/20

Rock and roll at the Vilar

Composer, lyricist and producer Neil Berg returns to the Vilar Performing Arts Center stage with lots of rock and roll on Friday. “Neil Berg’s 50 Years of Rock and Roll” will take you down a musical memory lane with music from the progenitors of rock and roll in the 1940s, through the glory years of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s and up until the early ’80s.

Berg is the creator and co-producer of the number one Broadway touring concert in America, “Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway,” as well as “Neil Berg’s Pianomen,” “Neil Berg’s The Beatles,” and “Neil Berg’s Songs of the ’60s & ’70s.”

“It’s the perfect way to round out the holiday series at the Vilar Performing Arts Center with a good old rock and roll celebration,” said Kim Hannold, programming director at the Vilar Performing Arts Center. “It’s fun for all ages, whether you’re new to the music or a savvy rock and roll fan, you’re in for a fantastic evening spanning 50 years of songs.”

Enjoy listening to tributes to such important and iconic rock stars and genres like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Beach Boys, Motown, Aretha Franklin, The Who, Simon and Garfunkel, Carole King, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Aerosmith, Linda Ronstadt, Bruce Springsteen, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Journey and more.

“One thing I love about each Neil Berg show is that he’s great at telling the oftentimes unknown stories and history behind the music,” said Ruthie Hamrick, marketing manager at the Vilar Performing Arts Center. “After each production of his I not only got to listen to some of my favorite songs, but I also feel like I learned something.”

The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $68. Visit www.vilarpac.org for more information or call the box office at 970-845-8497. 

Vail Astronomy Nights

Turn your eyes to the sky during Vail Astronomy Nights this Friday. Learn about constellations and view stars that are millions or even billions of years old during this complimentary event.

Long-time local, Brian Hall of Blue Creek Productions has teamed up with the town of Vail and the Arrabelle to bring in an astronomy expert, a huge telescope and an educational tent. Astronomer Bryan Rich White will guide those curious about the night sky and help explain the science behind stars in a fun and interactive way. Stop by the base of the Eagle Bahn Gondola in Lionshead Village between 6 and 8 p.m. and learn about which constellations are prominent in the sky right now.

Museum-grade, state-of-the-art telescopes will be available for observing the crescent moon, planets like Jupiter and constellations. Looking straight up you can see the constellation Pegasus which contains the large asterism called the “Great Square.” Just to the northeast of Pegasus is Andromeda. This constellation contains our galactic neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy. From a dark site, this galaxy can be seen with the naked eye, which is amazing since it is 2.5 million light-years away. And we can’t forget about the very recognizable Orion constellation.  It can be easily identified by its three “belt stars.” 

Take advantage of very little light pollution in the mountains and gaze into the sky with wonder and awe. For more information visit www.bluecreek.com.

Kids activities in Beaver Creek

With many kids not returning to school until next week, the holiday spirit is still shining throughout the Vail Valley. Beaver Creek Extraordinaire presents Cheer, which is a celebration of the holiday season with a variety of family-friendly activities in the village.

After the slopes close on Friday, head to the plaza level and ice rink to enjoy Sounds of the Season, featuring live music by Por La Paz on the Fountain Stage. Based in Denver, this trio has traveled the globe and will bring world beats to Beaver Creek with performances between 4 and 7 p.m.

On Saturday, Beaver Creek hosts the weekly FunFest, where kids can earn tokens to redeem prizes after running from one game tent to the next. Kids can also work off some energy as they run around and do various activities.

The complimentary event begins at 4 p.m. and last call to exchange tokens for prizes is at 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.beavercreek.com.

10th Mountain Legacy Parade

If you haven’t experienced the 10th Mountain Legacy Parade yet, head to the base of Gondola One on Friday night to pay tribute to Vail’s heritage. Vail Mountain and the town of Vail created the 10th Mountain Legacy Parade last season and they’ve been a hit ever since.

At dusk on select Fridays throughout the winter, guests are invited to watch skiers dressed in traditional 10th Mountain Division ski trooper uniforms as they weave down the hill in a torchlight ski down to the base of Gondola One. The slopes near the base will be illuminated with a 10th Mountain Division logo and a film about this famed military group will be shown at Mountain Plaza along with fireworks.

Following the torchlight ski down, a parade of military veterans, also in traditional uniforms, will march from Gondola One down Bridge Street, across the Covered Bridge and will finish at the 10th Mountain statue along Gore Creek.

From there, guests are welcomed to the recently renovated Colorado Snowsports Museum, which will stay open after the parade for guests to visit and learn about Colorado’s ski history through the new 10th Mountain Division exhibit, the most comprehensive of its kind in the world.

The 10th Mountain Division is the winter warfare unit created by the United States Army during World War II that trained just south of Vail at Camp Hale. Comprised of mountaineers and expert skiers, the soldiers of the 10th fought in the northern Italian Alps. After the war, these outdoor enthusiasts became involved with the ski industry, which was quickly growing in America.

Before the parade, stop by the Colorado Snowsports Museum at 4 p.m. for Tales of the 10th. This week’s speaker will be local professional skier and filmmaker, Chris Anthony, who will be talking about the legends and stories of the women of Camp Hale. A $5 to $10 donation is suggested per person. For more information, please visit www.vail.com and www.snowsportsmuseum.org.

Snowshoe race at Beaver Creek

Snowshoeing has been long used to help maintain fitness levels during the colder months of the year. One way to motivate yourself to get in shape and burn off some of those holiday calories is by participating in the annual snowshoe races around the area.

This Sunday marks the kick-off of the Beaver Creek Running Series: Snowshoe Edition. Distances include a 10k and a 5k course and draws everyone from the first-time snowshoer to the veteran runner.

Awards will be given to the top three male and female athletes overall and the top male and female athletes in each age bracket for the 5K and 10k races. All athletes will be entered into the raffle at the post-party where all race participants will also receive a post-race meal. Registration is at 8:30-9:30 a.m. next to Beaver Creek Sports in Beaver Creek Village and the race will start promptly at 10 a.m.

The race will start and finish at Creekside Park. Sign up for this race or commit to the whole series by going to www.beavercreek.com. There will also be races on Feb. 2 and March 8.

The holiday season isn’t over until Eagle sets it on fire

EAGLE — In Eagle and Gypsum, the holiday season isn’t over until residents send it up in flames.

That will happen on Monday.

Monday’s 12th night Christmas tree bonfire at Eagle Town Park will be lit at 6 p.m. It’s a downvalley tradition that dates back to the 1950s. It’s a simple small-town affair that finds neighbors warming themselves by the fire and sipping hot beverages. Kids and adults strap on skates and step out on the town park rink for a nighttime spin.

Monday marks the 12th day of Christmas, as heralded by the popular carol. Back in its Jan. 8, 1953 edition, the Eagle Valley Enterprise reported: “The ancient custom of burning the Yule trees on the 12th night following Christmas was observed in Eagle Tuesday night when around 100 adults and children gathered at the skating pond in southwest town to witness the burning of a huge pile of Christmas trees and enjoy skating on the town’s pond.”

Not much has changed, except that the bonfire location is no longer in southwest Eagle — not because it has moved but because the town has grown up around it

Dr. L.W. Simmons was credited with coming up with the 12th Night plan.

“Simmons stated that he hoped the custom would be carried on next year and that plans would be made far enough in advance that more persons could participate,” noted the Enterprise back in 1953.

Through the years, Eagle Lions Club members have been in charge of supplying hot chocolate for the bonfire and the Greater Eagle Fire Department has been called in to do the actual tree burning.

12th Night in history

While Eagle has made the holiday its own, 12th Night has a broader history. The holiday is also known as Epiphany — the religious observance that celebrates the arrival of the three wise men to worship the baby Jesus. According to the telling, the trio didn’t arrive at the manger scene — despite what nativity scenes the world over depict — until a few days later.

Although Epiphany has solemn roots, through the ages 12th Night developed some jovial activities. King Alfred, a ninth-century English monarch, was a true believer of the holiday season. He decreed the Christmas season would include Dec. 25 and the 12 days following it, thus beginning the 12 days of Christmas.

In Elizabethan England, 12th Night was similar to April Fools’ Day. Children played tricks on passers-by and bakeries sold special 12th Night cakes decorated with stars, castles, kings, dragons, palaces and churches. People would drink cider and call out “wes hal,” meaning good health. This toast evolved into the word “wassail.”

William Shakespeare wrote a comedy —“12th Night” — about the holiday, reflecting its joyous mood. Legend says the play was first performed on Jan. 6, 1601, at Whitehall Palace when Queen Elizabeth entertained a distinguished Italian guest, the Duke of Bracciano.

Syrian legend says wild animals stay in dens and caves on Epiphany Eve and at midnight trees kneel in adoration of Jesus. This legend also says wishes are fulfilled on 12th Night.

Latin cultures regard Epiphany as both a solemn religious festival and the beginning of the pre-Lent season. Mexico’s greatest pilgrimage is the Epiphany march to the shrine of the miraculous Lord of Chalma in the valley of southwest of Mexico City.

While 12th Night revelry has declined in popularity, the holiday is still celebrated in parts of England. The trip of the magi is re-enacted each year at the Chapel Royal at St. James Palaces in London. The traditional gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh are ceremonially presented at the church alter.

In the present Christian tradition, Epiphany has a threefold meaning. It celebrates the appearance of the wise men, Jesus’ baptism and his first miracle of the changing water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana. The three events, according to the Bible, occurred on the same date in different years.

Bloody marys filled with everything but the kitchen sink

January 1 is known worldwide as New Years Day, but according to National Day Calendar (www.nationaldaycalendar.com), it’s also known as National Bloody Mary Day.

For decades, the bloody mary cocktail has been the go-to remedy for a hangover. Speaking of remedies, we stopped by Remedy Bar at the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail to ask beverage director, Steven Teaver about some of his tips on making a great bloody mary.

“It can be a kitchen sink type of thing, you can add any spices, vegetables, you can change the base spirit from vodka to tequila to whiskey to whatever you’d like,” Teaver said.

Teaver sticks to a more neutral spirit like vodka, Breckenridge Vodka to be exact. “You want something that has been distilled properly and doesn’t have a lot of long-chain alcohols that take your liver a while to break down. You want a quality spirit for sure,” Teaver said.

Flavored and infused vodkas can be used as the base spirit as well and Teaver suggests you try making your own – with bacon. It’s a process called fat washing where you take bacon fat and place it into a two-inch deep baking tray or cake pan. Pour the vodka in there, cover it and let it sit at room temperature for several hours. Put it in the freezer, the fat will congeal and you strain that off. “I think bacon-flavored vodka works well with the savory aspect of the bloody mary,” Teaver said.

Next, add tomato juice, V-8 or a pre-made mix. Teaver likes to add fresh carrot juice or tomato water to really thin it out. “Take some tomatoes, preferably an heirloom, you can use baby heirlooms in the winter, puree the tomatoes in a blender and then run it through a very fine mesh sieve. It’s going to pull the solids out and then you have tomato water,” Teaver said.

“Fish sauce is great, too, if you’re a little adventurous and a little bit goes a long way.”

Spice it up with Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, Angostura bitters, horseradish, lemon, lime and season to taste with powdered garlic, Old Bay seasoning, fennel seed or caraway. What about adding espresso? View today’s video on www.vaildaily.com to learn more about how Teaver adds a jolt of caffeine and what else you can do to customize your bloody mary for National Bloody Mary Day.

POC introduces helmets that can communicate

This is part seven of a seven-part series on the latest and greatest finds at the Outdoor Retailer and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show held in Denver earlier this year. This trade show represents suppliers of consumer outdoor sports with constituents in the retailer, rep and resort communities.

The next time you are in the chair lift line, look around and see how many people are wearing helmets. Chances are, you’ll see a majority of skiers and snowboarders donning the brain bucket. Helmets are a common part of the winter sports equipment equation for all ages. POC Sports aims to develop products to possibly save lives and reduce the consequences of accidents for winter sports enthusiasts.

POC debuted its new OBEX Backcountry SPIN helmet for the 2019-2020 season at the Outdoor Retailer and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show held in Denver earlier this year. It contains a Near Field Communication (NFC) medical ID chip that can give rescuers the medical information they need at the scene of an injury in an instant, thereby assisting them in making the best judgments for treatment immediately after an accident.

When you get the helmet you also need to download the app that goes with the NFC chip. Medical information such as if you are on blood thinners or have epilepsy or allergies is stored in the app.

“Ski patrol or mountain rescue teams will have this app and be able to click “scan” on their phone, tap it on the helmet and it brings up all of your medical information,” said Kelley Fitzpatrick, territory manager in Colorado for POC.

The helmet also has POC’s patent-pending silicone pad technology system, SPIN (Shearing Pad INside). This allows the helmet to move relative to your head. “It’s kind of like the skin on the outside of your skull or the cerebral spinal fluid between your brain and your skull. It allows for shearing motion and by doing that it reduces the energy transfer to your brain after an impact,” Fitzpatrick said.

The new OBEX Backcountry SPIN helmet gained rave reviews from ski and snowboard shops at the Outdoor Retailer and SIA Snow Show and received the Best in Show award from “Freeskier” magazine and the Show Stopper award from “Skiing” magazine. To learn more about this technology from POC, visit www.pocsports.com.

Salomon S Pro ski boots a hit for consumers and boot fitters

Editor’s note: This is part six of a seven-part series on the latest and greatest finds at the Outdoor Retailer and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show, which took place in Denver earlier this year. This trade show represents suppliers of consumer outdoor sports with constituents in the retailer, rep and resort communities.

Ski boots are the most important part of the ski equipment equation, and the big buzz at the Outdoor Retailer and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) Snow Snow in Denver among retailers earlier this year was the new Salomon S Pro ski boots.

Operating out of the French Alps, Salomon has been helping people get out on the slopes on the right equipment since 1947. The company is driven by innovation and craftsmanship, and Salomon is excited to release this new S Pro line of ski boots. More than 5,000 foot scans were involved in the development of this boot. “The goal here was to create the best-fitting initial out-of-the-box fit in the entire industry,” said Chris McKearin, country commercial manager at USA Salomon.

This has boot-fitters at ski shops extremely happy. You can still customize the boots by adding a footbed, heel lifts and punching out tight-fitting spots, but having a good foundation to start with is good for the boot fitter and the consumer. “It makes things a lot easier in the shop and it gives the consumer a much better first impression when they put the boot on.

“Many retailers who’ve stopped by today to see and try on the S Pro boot have said how comfortable it is; yet there’s still good compression around the heel and ankle,” McKearin said.

Salomon also made this boot easier to get into. “Making the boots easier to get on and off is always a hot topic in skiing. We redesigned the instep geometry with a softer insert over the instep. You just pull up on the tongue of the boot and slide the foot in and you’re ready to go,” McKearin said.

The Salomon S Pro boot is also lighter than ever before. “It’s about a half of a pound lighter per foot. It’s the most customizable boot we’ve ever made and the seamless liner and custom shell so if you do need to make adjustments it’s more efficient and accurate than ever before,” McKearin said. If you want to learn more, visit the website at www.salomon.com.