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Mountain Games, after parties, western dancing and more: Tricia’s Weekend Picks 6/9/23

GoPro Mountain Games

The 21st installment of the GoPro Mountain Games is returning to Vail this weekend, and even after two decades the organizers are still coming up with new and exciting events and activities to keep the public coming back.

The event celebrates athletes, art, mountains and music — and, dogs of course! The Dock Dogs events are returning to Lionshead once again. Here you’ll find dogs moving high (Extreme Vertical), far (Big Air) and fast (Speed Retrieve). The Dock Dogs fun starts at 8 a.m. each day and wraps up in the late afternoon. Looking for a furry friend? Dog adoptions will also be available throughout the weekend with Eagle County Animal Services.

Whitewater events are where the roots of the GoPro Mountain Games lie when this event followed in the shoes of the Jeep Whitewater Festival over two decades ago. The waves still draw athletes from all over the world who will come to Vail to compete in kayaking, rafting, fly fishing and standup paddleboard competitions. The water is ever-changing for competitions like Kayak Freestyle, Downriver Sprint SUP and Raft Cross. Gore Creek will be the venue for most whitewater competitions with the exception of some fly fishing and kayaking competitions that will take place on other waterways.

 Another discipline that draws in an elite list of international athletes is rock climbing. You’ll see the acronym NACS a lot, and that stands for North American Cup Series and that invites climbing athletes to compete outside of the World Cup circuit. The pros will be doing bouldering competitions through Saturday, and then on Sunday youth and citizen categories are available. You can’t miss the huge climbing wall, which will be at the top of Bridge Street at Mountain Plaza.

New this year you’ll find The CoLab Creator Stage at Solaris Plaza where panel discussions, demonstrations and even a little live music will take place. The CoLab Creator Stage will host some of the biggest names in the outdoor and creator industries. From learning how to control your mind through your breathing, to sustainability tips while traveling the world, to survival tactics, these sessions are designed to inspire and educate.

Mix all this action in with some ticketed concerts at The Amp at night and free shows during the daytime at Golden Peak and Checkpoint Charlie and you’ve got yourself quite the weekend! On Friday, The Heavy Heavy will open for Orebolo and on Saturday, Circles Around the Sun will open for Local Natives. Pro tip: get your tickets in person at The Amp box office to save on extra ticket fees.

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There’s so much to do and see during this multi-day event that really captures the spirit of the mountains, go to MountainGames.com to check each day’s schedule and find the events you want to see or you can sign up to participate and be part of the action.

After Parties

Michael Stavaridis for Rockwell Group/Courtesy photo

If you’re here for the party, the after-parties will be the place to be after the concerts at The Amp. Shakedown Bar in Vail will have Taylor Scott and Friends playing late into the night. On Saturday night, jam out to the Shakedown Family Jam. Doors open at 8 and the live music will start around 9:30 p.m. ShakedownBarVail.com.

Chasing Rabbits will host after-parties each night during the GoPro Mountain Games. Highlights include DJ Lou on Friday night from 9 to midnight and Sunday’s show is a bit earlier, 7 to 10 p.m. at the Rabbit Hole. Play some arcade games while you enjoy the entertainment. ChasingRabbitsVail.com.

Down valley happenings

If you plan to stay down valley and not go to the GoPro Mountain Games, we’ve got some ideas for you.

Usually, we’d be talking about the 2nd Friday ARTwalk but those Fridays have morphed from an art walk to the 2nd Fridays Sidewalk Market in downtown Eagle. This event encourages the shops, restaurants and businesses of downtown Eagle to open up their doors, bring out a table of wares, racks of clothing, signage, you name it, to get their businesses noticed and meet and greet the people. Check out the sidewalk sales, dining specials and more.

Please note that there will be an ARTwalk Festival coming up in July. Mark your calendars for July 7 and July 8. Even without a formal ARTwalk, there will still be a gallery reception on Friday at the Vail Valley Artist Guild building at 108 West Second St. from 2–8 p.m. to celebrate the themes of Turquoise and Architecture with Beth Levine, artist and architect. In addition to Levine’s exhibit, the space will be featuring local artists and photographers, so stop by for some light refreshments.

On Sunday morning, enjoy the benefits of Yoga in the Park at Eagle Town Park from 9 to 10:15 a.m. This Sunday morning yoga series is presented by Yoga Off Broadway and the town of Eagle and is for all levels. This year’s event is ticketed and proceeds benefit the Land & Rivers Fund.

Western Dance Night at 4 Eagle Ranch

4 Eagle Ranch will host a western dance night on Friday from 6 to 10 p.m.
4 Eagle Ranch/Courtesy photo

Wanna do come boot scootin’? Western Dance night returns to 4 Eagle Ranch where there’s plenty of space to get on the dance floor and learn some new moves or perfect some old ones. Come early for the dance instruction between 6 and 7 p.m where line dancing and couples dancing will be taught. Stay late for the food, like chili and salad, and libations available for purchase. The DJ will be taking requests all night, too. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for kids between 5 and 12 years old. No reservations are required.

Make a day of it at the ranch by going zip lining, horseback riding, wine tasting or try the Jeep and ATV tours. 4 Eagle Ranch is located about 4 miles north of Interstate 70 at the Wolcott exit. For more information, visit 4EagleRanch.com.

Ceremonies, blues music, comedy, BBQ and more: Tricia’s Memorial Day Weekend Picks

Memorial Day events

Every year, the last Monday of the month of May marks Memorial Day, a federal holiday in the United States honoring those who lost their lives fighting for our freedoms serving in the country’s armed forces. The 10th Mountain Division Foundation will present its 65th annual Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday at 11 a.m. at the 10th Mountain Division Monument Tennessee Pass near Ski Cooper, south of Vail. Come early for coffee and donuts from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Lunch will be available after the ceremony at the Ski Cooper base area lodge for $15. Seating is limited at the outdoor ceremony, so attendees are asked to bring along a lawn chair and dress for the conditions as it can be cooler at that altitude.

The Freedom Park Memorial Committee and VFW Post 10721 will be conducting its 19th annual community ceremony in memory of all veterans of the armed forces and emergency response agencies who have served our country. This will be at the Freedom Park Memorial American Flagpole Plaza in Edwards at 3 p.m. on the west side of the pond.

The service will include music from Michelle Cohn Levy of B’nai Vail and the keynote speaker is Eagle County Commissioner Kathy Chandler Henry. There will also be a reading of the names of Eagle County heroes who died in line of duty.

Blues, Brews & BBQ

Barbecue and all the fixings can be found this weekend at Beaver Creek’s annual Blues, Brews & BBQ.
Beaver Creek Resort/Courtesy photo

After shutting down its slopes on April 16, it’s been pretty quiet at the Beav’ but that will all change as the kickoff event of the summer returns this holiday weekend. Blues, Brews and BBQ will bring all that and more to the plaza level of Beaver Creek Village. Here you’ll find music from great blues artists, plenty of styles of barbecue and lots of beers to wash it down.

This year, Beaver Creek is bringing in the professionals of barbecue: Myron and Michael Mixon. This father and son duo tour all over and are on many cooking shows sharing their barbecue skills. Myron is known as the winningest man in BBQ and Michael is a professionally ranked barbecue pit master. They will conduct several demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday.

Please note that there is no separate Craft Beer Festival like in years past. Instead, the brewers will be selling their brand throughout the festival. There will also be hard seltzers and hard ciders available. Many of Beaver Creek’s restaurants will be serving up barbecue and more.

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The event is free to attend and you just pay for beer and food as you wish. You can get a punch card for beer in advance on BeaverCreek.com. $35 plus fees gets you five beers and you’ll save $1 off each additional beer and it is good for all three days of the event. You can also get the 2023 commemorative SHINE mug online for $30 plus fees and that includes a free beer. Elevate your experience by going the VIP route. $150 gets you all day access to a VIP Lounge, commemorative poster and mug, exclusive special reserve beer tasting, talent meet and greet and the Mixon barbecue demo tasting.

For the schedule, information on the bands, a list of vendors and participating breweries, go to BeaverCreek.com and look up Signature Events.

Vail Comedy Festival

The Vail Comedy Festival is back for its second year and welcomes over 30 artists to venues in Lionshead and Vail Villages through Sunday. From yoga with comics to late-night shows with special headliners, get ready to laugh out loud.

Many of these comics have performed on late-night talk shows, HBO specials and other comedy outlets. In addition to headliner shows, live podcasts and open mic events and speed rounds where comedians are given five minutes to be their funniest, there will also be some free shows with Travis Nye geared towards kids. Nye is a magician and comedian who will keep the whole family smiling. Check out his shows near the RocketFizz candy store in Lionshead at Sunbird Park and he’ll be doing magic on the streets of Vail, too. To read more about the comedians coming to town and how to get tickets, go to VailComedyFestival.com.

SunsetLIVE! In Avon

A nice bonus during this holiday weekend is that many people have Monday off, so treat Sunday like a Saturday night and head out to Nottingham Lake in Avon to hear some live music during SunsetLIVE!

SunsetLIVE! has been going on for a few summers, and it’s a free concert held at the Terrace, a stage perched over Nottingham Lake behind the main stage at Nottingham Park. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets and sit along the north shore beach or south lawn of the pavilion or watch it from your paddle boat or standup paddle board. Picnics are welcome as well.

The concert series, which runs on Sundays from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend, features bands from Eagle County and beyond. The Lone Chimney Band will take the stage on Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m. so you’ll have time to watch the sun go down and unwind from the day. For more information and to see the lineup of who will be playing this summer, go to Avon.org.

Craft Cocktail Class

Going camping this summer? Learn some tips and tricks to enjoying a craft cocktail from 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Company.
10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Company/Courtesy photo

Want to elevate your camping cocktail game? If so, join Melissa Friel, assistant distiller at 10th Mountain Whiskey and Spirits Company for a Craft Cocktail Class on Friday from 6-8 p.m. The theme will be centered around camping and she will cover transport and storage whether you’re backpacking and packing light or if you are a cabin camper. They will even teach how to forage for ingredients. Friel plans to show you how to make three cocktails using all seven of their flagship spirits.

  • Wild foraged rose hip mint julip
  • Dandelion infused bees knees 
  • Grilled peach bourbon smash

In addition to making the drinks, charcuterie and some snacks will be served and Friel will be grilling some brats for the class. Attendees will also get a tour of the distillery in Gypsum. The best part, you get to go home with a goodie bag that will include a camp cocktail book and supplies you will be able to use during your fun camping trips this summer. Space is limited, so go to BrownPaperTickets.com and reserve your spot today.

10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Company’s first barrel of Avy Dog Bourbon pouring this weekend

Nearly a year after retired Vail Ski Patrol dog, Henry, picked the barrel that would be used in a special collaboration with 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Company, Avy Dog Bourbon is ready to be released to the public.

Chris “Mongo” Reeder, Henry’s owner and director of Vail Ski Patrol and his friend, Mike “Kanger” Kang came up with the idea to honor Henry’s legacy in some way while drinking a glass of bourbon, but they just didn’t know how to make the bourbon. That’s when they enlisted the help of Ryan Thompson, owner of the Eagle County-based 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Company.

“A couple of times a year we get asked to do a white label program and the answer’s always been ‘no’ but when Mongo and Kanger approached me and told me about their project it was an immediate ‘yes.’ I didn’t have to think twice about it,” Thompson said.

Last May, Mongo and Kanger went to the 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Company’s distillery in Gypsum to sample various barrels. They narrowed it down to two barrels and Henry ultimately picked the barrel that would be used for the inaugural edition of Avy Dog Bourbon. His paw print is on the actual barrel, like a stamp of approval.

Henry’s paw print marks the barrel sample that is used in Avy Dog Bourbon. Henry was Vail’s first canine member of Vail Ski Patrol.
Amanda De Grazia/Courtesy photo

Henry crossed the rainbow bridge to doggie heaven last fall but his legacy lives on in this new collaboration.

“Just looking at his paw print on the barrel over there, it’s all pretty nostalgic for me and I didn’t realize until I was sitting here that it would bring back some of these memories,” Mongo said. “I certainly feel a strong connection to this. It was a fun process and is something that is aligned with the nature of how Henry lived his life and so I feel really good about carrying on his legacy in this way.”

Mongo and Kanger were at the distillery last week putting labels on the first bottles that will be offered to the public this weekend. 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Company will be selling the bourbon at its tasting room on Bridge Street in Vail and at the distillery in Gypsum. Stop by the Bridge Street location on Saturday at 3 p.m. and get a sample.

Henry is featured prominently on the label, along with a 10th Mountain Division soldier climbing the Gore Range.

“Henry was a pretty photogenic dog. He lived his whole life on top of Vail Mountain in the public eye and there are thousands of pictures in homes across the world. I think people will see the label and recognize that it is Henry and it will create a special connection,” Mongo said.

The labels for Henry’s whiskey feature a photo of him and the Gore Range, while also paying homage to the 10th Mountain Division.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Since Henry was a dedicated service dog, Mongo and Kanger plan to give a portion of the proceeds from Avy Dog Bourbon back to charities that benefit service dogs, such as K9s for Warriors, which provides highly trained service dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD and other traumas. 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Company supports veterans’ organizations as well, which solidifies this partnership even more. Learn about their philanthropic efforts at AvyDogHenry.com and 10thWhiskey.com.

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The barrel Henry picked will produce about 300 bottles of Avy Dog Bourbon and since Henry is no longer here to select subsequent barrels, Kanger and Mongo will need to be up for the task.

“Henry trusted me his whole life, so I’m sure he’d trust me with this,” Mongo said.

Chris “Mongo” Reeder, left, director of Vail Mountain Ski Patrol and Mike Kang put labels on the Avy Dog Bourbon in collaboration with 10th Mountain Whiskey and Spirits Tuesday in Gypsum. Reeder and Kang came up with the idea to partner with 10th Mountain and honor Henry, Vail’s first working avalanche dog, and to benefit service dogs locally and around the country.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Kentucky Derby parties, Cinco de Mayo specials, highway cleanup, gravel rides and more: Tricia’s Weekend Picks 5/5/23

Kentucky Derby Parties

Saturday marks the 149th Kentucky Derby. The “most exciting two minutes in sports” is surrounded by long-standing traditions that date back to the first race held in 1875. KentuckyDerby.com, the official website of the Run for the Roses, calls it a “celebration of Southern culture” and a “true icon of Americana.”  

Locally, you can dust off that seer-sucker suit, hat or fascinator and strut your style at a party. The pandemic has squelched some of the public gatherings the past few years, but the party is revving up at the Fitz at Manor Vail where the Children’s Garden of Learning preschool is hosting its fundraiser once again.

“We’ve had so many parents asking if this event was coming back and we are happy to invite everyone to join us on Saturday and encourage them to dress up,” said Nicole Teaver, director of education at Children’s Garden of Learning.

The Vail-based nonprofit relies on donations in many forms from parents, alumni and the greater Vail community. The Vail Derby Party allows those with kids or without a chance to enjoy the event in a fun setting while raising money for childcare.

“Although this event benefits our school, we want it to be a party for the whole community,” Teaver said.

The event runs from 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday and the horse race begins at 4:57 p.m. Tickets are $75 and include two drink tickets for beer or wine and heavy appetizers. There will be a bourbon tasting station set up as well. Before and after the horse race, enjoy tunes from Dave Tucker.

There are also silent auction items ranging from skis to gift cards and wine to a bracelet-making party with Squash Blossom and tickets to a Notre Dame versus Pittsburgh football game. Place your bets on the betting board for your chance to win, but more importantly, all proceeds from that game will go toward Children’s Garden of Learning.

Children’s Garden of Learning provides care for kids aged 18 months to 5 years old.

“What we’re seeing right now is a huge need for childcare. To give parents the opportunity to still work and provide these services is a big deal for us and fundraisers like this allow Children’s Garden of Learning to continue to do that,” Teaver said.  

Tickets are available on Eventbrite and you can purchase them at the door if it is not sold out, so it’s best to get your tickets in advance.  

There will also be a Kentucky Derby Party at the 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company’s Tasting Room on Bridge Street. The festivities will kick off at 2 p.m. and derby attire is highly encouraged. You can even get a free mint julip if you dress in your best derby wear. Stick around after the race and enjoy live music with Chuck Grossman and Brent Gordon.

If you plan to watch the Kentucky Derby at home and want to make your own mint julip, here’s a recipe. According to KentuckyDerby.com, over 120,000 mint julips will be served at Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby at the race venue, Churchill Downs.

Perfect Mint Julip

  • Fresh mint
  • Crushed ice (crushed ice works better than cubed ice)
  • Woodford Reserve, Bardstown, Maker’s Mark or Michter’s bourbon
  • Sugar cubes, straight sugar or simple syrup

Put four or five mint leaves in the bottom of a glass and muddle the leaves with a muddle stick, Add half an ounce of simple syrup or sugar to the leaves and muddle some more. Add two-and-a-half ounces of bourbon. Add crushed ice until the glass gets frosty then garnish with a leaf or two of mint and serve cold. If you have a pewter, silver, copper or aluminum cup, serve the mint julip in that.  

Serve your mint julip with dishes like the famous Hot Brown open-faced sandwich, bourbon meatballs or pretty much anything with Vidalia onions.  

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is Friday. Check out local restaurants for specials on margaritas and more.
Brian Jones/Unsplash

We checked with several of the area’s Mexican restaurants to see what’s going on for Cinco de Mayo. Margs, tacos, even flautas, pozole and menudo will be on special up and down the valley. Please note that Los Amigos, El Sabor and El Segundo in Vail are closed this time of year. But, El Segundo invites you to its Eagle location for the fun, bites and drinks. El Segundo in downtown Eagle Ranch will be serving up its Herradura house margaritas for $5. Stop by for good vibes, this deal will be running all day long.

In Vail, the Four Seasons Resort and Residences is offering specials at the Remedy Bar for Cinco de Mayo. Get a taco and a Mexican beer for $23 or a taco and margarita for $30. How does a carne asada taco with grilled flank steak, corn tortillas and smoked tomato salsa sound?

In Minturn, head to The Mexican Bar & Grill for 2-for-1 house margaritas for $6.99 and draft beer for $5. They’ve been busy in the kitchen making flautas, pozole and menudo so take advantage of these specials.

Agave in Avon is hosting a Cinco de Mayo party on Friday from 1 to 5 p.m. with food and drink specials. Enjoy $2 al pastor tacos, $3 chicken, elote and mahi mahi tacos, $3 select draft beers, $4 Modelo Especial beers and $5 house margaritas. There will be live music as well. From 3 to 5 p.m. come to the meet and greet with Pedro the Donkey, Agave’s mascot. If you can’t make it to Agave, here’s the recipe that you can make at home:

Agave’s Coconut Margarita

  • 1.5-ounce coconut tequila
  • .5-ounce Cointreau
  • .5-ounce fresh lime
  • .25 agave nectar
  • 1.5-ounce sweet sour mix
  • .5 coconut water

Also in Avon, stop by Sabor Mazatlan for 2-for-1 margaritas. You get to pick the size and pick the flavor, so go big.

Fiesta Jalisco in Avon is going to be doing drink specials all day long.

As a reminder, Maya is no longer the restaurant in the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon. Stoke and Rye, also a Richard Sandoval restaurant, took over the space last June. But, if you find yourself there, they have plenty of tequilas to try. The Pasado de Moda cocktail is very popular featuring Casamigos reposado along with mezcal, agave and hellfire bitters.

Since 1989, Fiesta’s Café & Cantina in Edwards has been bringing the fiesta and this Friday will be no different. Stop by for food and drink specials and stick around for giveaways, piñata breaking for the kids all day and a DJ will start spinning tunes at 5 p.m. Save room for one of my favorites, the shrimp enchiladas on blue corn tortillas, and other great items on the menu.

Although not typically thought of as a place to grab a margarita, the Riverwalk Theater in Edwards does serve up the frozen kind for $8 on the patio, so, you don’t even have to go to the movies to enjoy this treat while supplies last.

In Eagle, once again you have El Segundo and the specials mentioned above, and you can also stop by Casa Mexico next to the Back Bowl. It’s fiesta time and Casa Mexico is offering 2-for-1 margaritas and micheladas – any kind, any size, any flavor, all day.

This is just a partial list, so stop by your favorite Mexican restaurant and see if they are doing any deals. Salud!

Community Pride Highway Cleanup

The Eagle River Watershed Council is hosting the Community Pride Highway Cleanup this Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.
Eagle River Watershed Council

Now that the snow has melted, the trash is being revealed along the roadways, so it is time for the spring ritual, the Community Pride Highway Cleanup, which happens this Saturday. The Eagle River Watershed Council has been busy organizing teams and assigning miles of roadways for an event that has been going on for over two decades. Every year, hundreds of volunteers participate in the county-wide effort.

The time commitment is only a few hours in the morning on Saturday. From 9 a.m. until noon volunteers will collect as much trash as possible. When this event first started, nearly 50 tons of trash had accumulated and was removed. Now, an average of 10-15 tons of trash is removed annually, so each year does make a difference and you’ll see that difference on Sunday, the day after the cleanup, and how nice it looks alongside the roadways.

This is a great way to give back to the community and the results are tangible, you will see a difference and you can be filled with pride knowing that just by showing up, you helped make Eagle County more beautiful than it already is.

Volunteer registration is required so go to ERWC.org for more information. They can assign you to a team and even a certain geographical area if you want. The areas include:

  • Red Cliff/Minturn/Vail
  • EagleVail/Avon/Edwards
  • Wolcott/Red Canyon/Eagle
  • Gypsum/Dotsero/Colorado River Road

Moving Mountains for Marc

The Vail Valley Charitable Fund is hosting Moving Mountains for Marc, a benefit for Dr. Marc Peck.
Vail Valley Charitable Fund/Courtesy photo

Since 1996, the Vail Valley Charitable Fund has provided locals with financial help during medical crises. The nonprofit has awarded 2,000 grants to members of the community and $9 million has been given out to help ease the burden on our friends and neighbors. This Friday, the Vail Valley Charitable Fund is hosting a fundraiser called Moving Mountains for Marc for long-time local, Dr. Marc Peck.

Dr. Peck has served Eagle County with his medical expertise for over three decades. He was first diagnosed with cancer but was able to continue to work full-time for years. His health issues caused him to decrease his practice hours to part-time, and now, with an additional diagnosis of ALS, he has been forced to stop working altogether. His wife, Judy, is no longer able to work either, and she and their five children are taking care of Marc. Proceeds from the event will allow them to provide full-time care in their home and keep Marc there for as long as possible. The medical bills and other expenses are stacking up as well, so this event will hopefully put a dent in that.

The fundraiser hosted by the Vail Valley Charitable Fund will be held at the EagleVail Pavilion on Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. A $35 suggested donation will not only support the Peck’s but also get you two drinks and heavy appetizers. Beaver Liquors, West Vail Liquor Mart, Riverwalk Wine & Spirits and Bottle ‘N Cork have all donated the beverages and Sweet Basil, Craftsman, Route 6 Café and Moe’s Original BBQ are cooking up the apps.

There will be live music from Trees Don’t Move and Moving Mountains Band. The silent auction is stacked with great items from Vail Resorts EpicPromise (think spa, dining, retail and golf), restaurants like Pazzo’s, Mountain Standard, Vendetta’s and Montauk, and there are other items up for grabs from Revolution Power Yoga, Eagle Ranch Golf Course, P Furniture & Design, Valley Girl, Kitchen Collage, Squash Blossom, Antler’s, Vintage Magnolia and 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Co.

To learn more go to VVCF.org.

Bighorn Gravel Recon Rides

The Bighorn Gravel event returns to Gypsum June 23-25 and you can a preview of the courses this Saturday during the Bighorn Gravel Recon Rides.
Linda Guerrette/Courtesy photo

Time to get off the couch and head out on the bike and the latest craze is gravel riding. Gravel bikes are a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike, with drop handlebars and wider tires to help you navigate unpaved roads. Eagle County boasts the Bighorn Gravel ride and this year’s event will be June 23-25. This Saturday gives you a chance to check out portions of the courses so you can be more familiar with them before the race.

There will be two rides on Saturday exploring portions of the 85-mile and 50-mile courses. Recon Ride #1 is the shorter ride, covering 19 miles and a 2,000-foot vertical gain. This route follows the Gravel Curious Course which also is the first 16 miles of the Ram’s Horn Escape Course.

Recon Ride #2 is the longer ride at 48 miles and climbs 4,500 vertical feet. This route follows the start of the Ram’s Horn Escape course to preview the first 31 miles or so before going back downhill into Gypsum. Both rides will start and end at the Gypsum Recreation Center. The group will depart at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

The Bighorn Gravel event was founded by Jake Wells and Mike Brumbaugh. Wells is a multi-time U.S. Cyclocross national champion and is now focusing more on gravel and endurance events. He owns FORM Attainment Studio in Edwards which focuses on functional strength training, bike fitting and endurance coaching. Brumbaugh is an accomplished cyclist, climber, skier and entrepreneur and the owner of Venture Sports.

After the rides, stay for a short tech clinic and complimentary nutrition and hydration from The Feed. The rides are open to the public and free of charge but make sure to RSVP to reserve your spot at Eventbrite. You can also learn more about the Big Horn Gravel event at BighornGravel.com.

Bidding adieu to the Beav, The Met Opera live, ski & tee, youth performances and more: Tricia’s Weekend Picks 4/14/23

Beaver Creek Closing Day

Sunday is the last day you can ski at Beaver Creek, so get out and enjoy the terrain while you can.

Beaver Creek’s operating footprint for the last week of operations will be the following lifts and their associated terrain, servicing 71 trails and over 800 acres of skiing and snowboarding:

  • Haymeadow Gondola (No. 1)
  • Rose Bowl Express (No. 4)
  • Red Buffalo Express (No. 5)
  • Centennial Express (No. 6)
  • Cinch Express (No. 8)
  • Birds of Prey Express (No. 9)  

Hungry and thirsty skiers and snowboarders looking for on-mountain dining options can visit Spruce Saddle, Talons the Ranch and the Ice Cream Parlour.

Even though we are sad to say goodbye to a wonderful winter, we have summer events to look forward to, including the kickoff to the summer, Blues Brews and BBQ on Memorial Day Weekend (May 26-28), the Independence Day Celebration on July 4 and Oktoberfest on Labor Day Weekend (Sept. 1-3). New this year is BC Unplugged, a free concert that takes place on Thursdays from June 22 through Sept. 14. Highlights include Ambrosia, North Mississippi All-stars and Broken Arrow-The Music of Neil Young.

2nd Friday ARTwalk

Keep an eye out for two special benches on Broadway for your chance to win a prize.
EagleARTS/Courtesy photo

Come on out to historic downtown Eagle and check out the 2nd Friday ARTwalk. From 5 to 8 p.m. stroll Broadway and beyond and stop into various galleries, restaurants and businesses and support local artists:

  • ARTSPaCE workshop+gallery: Exhibiting latest works by over 15 local artisans and hosting live music duo Pat Winger and Larry Dutmer of Valle Musico
  • ROAM: Abstract artwork exhibition by Margaret Thomas
  • Mountain Lifestyle Properties: Artwork and Photography exhibit by Elke Wells along with a Jewelry pop up by Kathy Cummings, KSC Designs
  • Everyday Outfitters: Jewelry artist Lauren Grissom, Free and Fleeting
  • Vail Valley Art Guild: Special members exhibition — “Yellow” and “Figurative”

Keep an eye out for two special benches on Broadway that were painted as part of EagleARTS’ new pilot program, Broadway Painted Benches. You could even earn a locally-made prize. Just take a photo with one of the Broadway Painted Benches, tag @eagleartscolorado #artwalkeagle and share on Facebook and Instagram and you’ll be entered into the latest drawing.

It’s a great time to be down in Eagle, so make a date night out of it, do a girls’ night or just show up solo! For more information, go to EagleArts.org.  

Ski & Tee

Ski or snowboard in the morning and golf in the afternoon. Gypsum Creek Golf Course is open and Eagle Ranch Golf Course opens on Saturday.
Ken Hoeve/Courtesy photo

Every once in a while, the seasons collide, allowing you to ski and golf in the same day. If you want to “ski & tee” you can do so in Eagle County because the slopes are still open and two public golf courses have been able to open even after all the snow we had this winter. Gypsum Creek Golf Course in Gypsum opened on April 7 and Eagle Ranch Golf Course in Eagle opens on Saturday.

Until the warmer temperatures started showing up in the Vail Valley, many were wondering when the golf season would ever start. But, especially down valley, it doesn’t take long to melt the snow on the fairways, tee boxes and greens.

At Gypsum Creek Golf Course, all 18 holes are ready for play. Blake Scott, director of golf at Gypsum Creek Golf Course, said they are busy, so book now to get your desired tee time. You can download the Gypsum Creek Golf Course app to book or visit the website, GypsumCreekGolf.com. You can also call the pro shop at 970-524-6200 x1 and get set up. Carts need to stay on the path until further notice and the driving range is closed now but should be open sometime next week. Call ahead to find out the status.

The Creekside Grille is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. for food and the bar stays open a little later.

Eagle Ranch is happy to announce that their maintenance crew has been hard at work to get all 18 holes open as well as the driving range this Saturday. Its course will also be cart path only until further notice (except for those with physical limitations). The Eagle Ranch Grille will be open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and refreshments. The beverage cart will not be available at the beginning of the season, so allow some time to grab some goodies before you tee off or pick something up at the turn.

Check out EagleRanchGolf.com for tee times and greens fees or give the pro shop a call at 970-328-2882.

Musical offerings

Nik Parr and the Selfless Lovers take the stage at Shakedown Bar Vail on Friday night.
Courtesy photo

Nik Parr and the Selfless Lovers

In addition to the wide array of après ski music and bands playing around town, there will be a show at Shakedown Bar Vail that features a band from Austin, Texas. Nik Parr and the Selfless Lovers is making a stop in Vail Village as they promote their new album, “Promised Land” and the debut single, “So Far Gone.”

Nik Par and the Selfless Lovers’ music has been described as piano-driven soul and rock n’ roll.

“The live show has a kind of Bruce Springsteen E Street Band meets James Brown energy. I lead the band and rock out on the piano, shred the saxophone, sing and also write the songs,” said frontman Nik Parr in an email. 

Take a look at the band’s social media channels and you’ll be making plans to see them at Shakedown Bar Vail on Friday. It’s so high energy and Parr not only lights the keys on fire while playing the piano, he also hammers away on the saxophone, and he sometimes plays both at the same time.

On the band’s Instagram page, Parr concluded that he’d picked the right instrument.

“I’m really glad I picked saxophone when they asked us what we wanted to play in middle school band…My grandma told me saxophone was cool and that all the cool guys played it when she went to school and grandma was right,” Parr said in a Selfless Lovers Instagram post.

From college towns to wine festivals, the Nik Parr and the Selfless Lovers band is gaining fans nationwide. The show is on Friday night with doors opening at 9 p.m. and the music will start at 10 p.m. All I can say is be there, you won’t be disappointed after seeing and hearing this band. For more information, go to ShakedownBarVail.com and TheSelflessLovers.com.

“The Met: Live in HD” at Chasing Rabbits

Another musical offering this weekend is the Metropolitan Opera’s “The Met: Live in HD,” at Chasing Rabbits. Composer Richard Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier” will be shown at movie theaters across the country and Chasing Rabbits will fire up the screen and speakers to give patrons a chance to listen and view this world-class performance happening live in New York City on Saturday.

Founded in 1883, the Metropolitan Opera launched “The Met: Live in HD” in December 2006. This was a bold way to share music via a series of performance transmissions shown live in high definition in movie theaters around the world. Today, these performances reach more than 2,000 venues in 73 countries across six continents. 

Stauss, a German composer is known for his tone poems and operas. “Der RosenKavelier” which translates to the “knight of the rose,” is set in Vienna, Austria, and the plot line follows the Marschallin, who is in love with a younger man, Octavian, but she realizes that their age difference will eventually lead to their separation. It also follows the antics of the Marschallin’s nephew and his attempt to become engaged to Sophie von Faninal, the daughter of a wealthy merchant. This is a comic opera that blends wit and satire with sweet moments and farce and humor with philosophy within its three acts.  

Since this live event kicks off at noon New York City time, you’ll have to get to Chasing Rabbits early for the 10 a.m. – 2:45 p.m. showing. The first act is 80 minutes, followed by a half-hour intermission, the second act is 65 minutes followed by another half-hour intermission and the third act is 65 minutes. For more information, go to ChasingRabbitsVail.com.

Youth Performances

Vail Youth Ballet Company Spring Showcase

The dancers of the Vail Youth Ballet Company will perform at the annual Spring Showcase on Saturday at Vail Mountain School Theater.
Courtesy photo

Presented by Vail Friends of Dance and in conjunction with the Vail Valley Dance Academy, the annual Spring Showcase features the talented dancers of the Vail Youth Ballet Company in a beautiful, high-energy show at Vail Mountain School Theater at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

The dancers have been working hard to come up with the moves, music, costumes and design for each piece. The performances are personal, often representing the dancers’ experiences with dance, high-school and life and they are expressing themselves through dance. The spring showcase gives the dancers who are seniors in high school a way to close the chapter on this formative stage. Seniors this year include: Reese Dean, Riley Coe, Lily Marion and Jillian Lee.

The dancers have also worked with guest choreographers Sarah Tillman, Jared Mesa and Morgan Kulas. Vail Valley Dance Academy owner, Ashley Calligan has also set two pieces for the company to perform including a ballet to Vivaldi. After three months of hard work, it’s all going to come together under the lights on Saturday.

Be inspired by the moves on stage and bring all the aspiring dancers in your family as well and enjoy not only ballet, but hip hop, jazz, contemporary dance and more. General admission tickets are $15 and come early to check out the bake sale. For more information, go to FriendsOfTheDance.org.

Skating Club of Vail annual ice show

The Skating Club of Vail and Learn to Skate present “Skating Through Time: Music that Inspired Generations” on Saturday at Dobson Arena.
Courtesy photo

The Skating Club of Vail is proud to present its annual ice show: “Skating Through Time: Music that Inspired Generations.” For six weeks, the performers have dialed in their moves to match the sounds of the smooth tones of the 1920s to the eclectic beats of the modern era. This show will explore the melodies that moved us and inspired generations. The co-directors have choreographed numbers set to Billboard’s Top 100, as well as music from the big and little screen. Look for some iconic dance moves and memorable fashions at the performance.  

Taking to the ice will be over 60 talented skaters from both the Skating Club of Vail and the local Learn to Skate classes. These skaters are from Vail to Gypsum and range in age from 2-17 and have worked hard to bring you an amazing and entertaining show on Saturday.  

There will be two shows on Saturday at Dobson Arena, one at 1:30 p.m. and the other at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit VailIceShow.TicketLeap.com.


TEDxVail returns with its student event, TEDxVailYouth on Sunday at Battle Mountain High School. This year’s theme is perspective and topics range from space dogs and other science animals, keeping creativity alive, critical kindness, identity in cartoons, equine therapy and more.  

Since 2010, TEDxVail has been a resource for the Vail Valley community for sharing ideas and sparking conversations and change. TED stands for technology, entertainment and design and is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ideas worth spreading.

The topics will be delivered by youth TEDxVail-trained speakers from Vail Mountain School, Battle Mountain High School, Eagle Valley High School and Red Canyon High School. The students are also in charge of event organizing, partnerships, set design, marketing, hosting — everything down to the food served and what’s in the SWAG bag — so they experience what it takes to put on an event of this magnitude.

The event runs from 1 to 4 p.m. and the first speaker starts at 1 p.m. In between speakers, you can mingle in cool social spaces and strike up thought-provoking conversations, be creative with crafts, play games and dip into some yummy snacks. Go to TedXVail.com for tickets, speaker information and more details. Adults, you are welcome to come, too, and see what’s on the minds of today’s teens.

Egg hunts, Taste of Vail, live music at The Amp, charity hockey game and more: Tricia’s Weekend Picks 4/7/23

Easter Happenings

Church Services

It’s a busy time of year with Passover and Easter events. If you are a visitor to our valley this weekend and want to join locals in area services, check out the following websites. Many chapels house several different congregations. View the websites for schedules and more. This is just a partial list:

An Easter tradition that’s been going on for over 30 years is the Vail Mountain Easter Sunrise Service bright and early on Sunday morning. This takes place in a very special location: Eagle’s Nest at the top of Vail Mountain. Through partnerships between Vail Resorts and its mountain employees and the town of Vail, this event welcomes everyone to witness the joy of seeing the sun come up over the Gore Range from that vantage point.

The Eagle Bahn Gondola (No. 19) will fire up at 6 a.m. for complimentary rides for foot passengers only (no skis). The guests will then go up to the Marketplace Restaurant at the top level of the gondola building where Pastor Ethan Moore of Trinity Church and Father Brooks Keith of the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration will welcome everyone to a non-denominational service that will go from 6:30-7:30 a.m. There will also be a worship band, which is comprised of musicians from several different valley churches. Everyone is welcome to attend this service and you’d be surprised how many people get up extra early to experience this.

The forecast for Sunday morning looks clear and the views are amazing. The service ends with the crowd going out to the Simonton Deck overlooking Mount of the Holy Cross for a “Passing of the Peace.”

The Town of Vail is allowing free parking in the Lionshead parking structure if you leave by 10 a.m., just show a copy of the service program and your regular parking structure ticket to the gate attendant when you leave.

Easter Egg Hunts

Vail Village

  • 10-11:30 a.m.
  • The Vail Recreation District is once again hosting its annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday. Meet at the Covered Bridge in Vail Village and get ready to hunt for clues and visit with the Easter Bunny.
  • VailRec.com


  • The Avon Egg Hunt gets underway at 10 a.m. and goes until noon at Harry A. Nottingham Park on Saturday.
  • Kids 9 years old and under are invited to search for 10,000 eggs and prizes. In addition to egg hunting there will be a visit from the Easter Bunny, a jelly bean guessing game, coloring contest, a petting zoo and inflatable bouncy features.
  • Avon.org/EggHunt


  • Gypsum’s Spring Eggstravaganza returns to the Gypsum Library and Park on Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon.
  • The Egg Hunt which will be broken down into different age groups (0-3, 4-6, 7-10), a visit with the Easter Bunny, arts and crafts along with bouncy houses, a spring bonnet and hat contest and a pancake breakfast put on by the Gypsum Fire Department.
  • TownOfGypsum.com

Creekside Grill

  • Head to the Creekside Grill at Gypsum Creek Golf Course on Sunday for an Easter Brunch and Egg Hunt.
  • The event goes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with brunch starting at 9 a.m. and the Egg Hunt begins at 11 a.m. There will also be a small petting zoo and plenty of sweet treats.
  • An adult ticket costs $24.95 and kids are $15, children 6 and under free.
  • If you have a large group, please make a reservation.

Chasing Rabbits

  • Chasing Rabbits, the Vail night club that just opened earlier this season, is hosting its inaugural Easter Egg hunt on Sunday afternoon.
  • Families are invited to this free event which will start at 4:15 p.m. Eggs will be filled with special prizes and gift cards throughout the arcade.
  • The Easter Bunny will be in Solaris Plaza and will be available for photos and will hand out prizes throughout the afternoon.

There are many restaurants serving up brunch on Easter Sunday, look for a roundup of area restaurants in a separate article coming out soon on VailDaily.com and in Sunday’s paper.

Taste of Vail

The Taste of Vail hosts seminars, food and wine tastings, winemaker dinners and more.
Daily file photo

You still have a few days to check out the Taste of Vail. The event kicked off Wednesday with the Debut of Rose event at the Lodge at Vail, then on Thursday, the Niman Ranch Iberian Duroc Pork Challenge and Tasting took place in the streets of Vail. The Taste of Vail allows you to try delicious bites from area restaurants and sip wines from all over the world while meeting representatives from the wineries. There are educational seminars and dinners as well. Here are just a few of the Taste of Vail events this year.


1,000 Miles of Pinot: Walt Wines – $80

  • The Sebastian – 10–10:45 a.m.
  • Walt is a family-owned, multi-generational winery specializing in pinot noir and chardonnay sourced from vineyards along the Pacific Coast, spanning 1,000 miles from the Willamette Valley in Oregon to the Santa Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County, California. 

Mountain Top Tasting – $195

  • Eagle’s Nest – Noon-2:30 p.m.
  • Ski-in, ski-out or take the Eagle Bahn Gondola (No. 19) to the venue. Dress for 10,350 feet above sea level, it may be colder at that altitude and wear your sunscreen. Enjoy the vistas while trying different wines and spirits and delicious dishes by area and guest chefs.

Three Ways to Rosé – $80

  • The Sebastian – 3-4 p.m.
  • Learn more about how rosé is made by learning about the Direct Press, Saignee (Free Run), and Assemblage/Blending techniques with Shovel Blanc wines.

Sturia Caviar and Wine – $120

  • Grand View Room – 4-5 p.m.
  • Sturia Caviar is the leading French caviar producer. At this seminar, you can try four different types paired with Left Coast Estate, Margerum Wine Company and Pinea Wines.


La Croix Yoga – $10

  • Sonnenalp Hotel – 10-11 a.m.
  • Enjoy a yoga class with Kait from Vail Valley Wellness. Class is open to anyone, regardless of flexibility level. Bring your own yoga mat.

Riedel Comparative Wine Glass Workshop – $80

  • Grand View Room – 10:30- 11:30 a.m.
  • Experience how wine tastes in different glasses. Riedel glassware will be serving up Groth Vineyards & Winery and Silverado Vineyard wines in the appropriate glassware and inappropriate glassware so you can taste the difference the vessel makes. This is mind-blowing and the best part is, you get to keep the glassware kit.

A Taste of Colorado Wine – $80

  • The Sebastian – 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
  • You may not realize it, but Colorado has over 160 wineries ranging from traditional grapes to innovative styles. Take part in this seminar and learn about these wine labels so you can “shop local.”

Bordeaux Blends: The Varietals in California – $80

  • The Sebastian – 2–3 p.m.
  • How much do you know about Bordeaux? This seminar will give a history lesson about the Bordeaux blends and the five Noble Grapes that made their way to California: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Alpha Omega, Canard Vineyard, Halter Ranch and Aperture Cellars will be a part of your homework.

Grand Tasting – $225

  • The Hythe Vail – 5-8 p.m.
  • Sample bites from area restaurants and sips from wineries around the world. At this event, chefs go all out to impress and wineries oftentimes bring out “the good stuff,” so, consider this event “saving the best for last.”

This is just a partial list of events and seminars. For tickets and a full schedule, go to TasteOfVail.com but take part in this amazing event that is known as a springtime tradition.  

Après at The Amp

Polo & Pan of France are a part of the lineup at Après at the Amp, featuring two nights of music at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.
Vail Valley Foundation/Courtesy photo

Normally, the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater is identified as an outdoor concert venue used during the summertime, but this winter The Amp is getting ready for its earliest opening ever with two big shows scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

Crews have been making electrical and water line adjustments, using plows and other snow removal equipment and shovels to clear off the snow from the steps and in between the seats to get The Amp ready for guests. The concession stand and grill are being stocked with food and drinks and tickets are selling fast for these high-energy electronic acts.

The Vail Valley Foundation, the nonprofit that operates the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, is working with the Town of Vail and Vail Resorts and the venue’s partnership with AEG Presents to bring six acts to town as part of Vail’s 60th Anniversary celebration. The Amp can host about 2,800 people per night, with the covered pavilion area seats accommodating 1,265 guests. So, bring plenty of your friends!

The headliner on Friday night is Polo & Pan. This French duo has a style that incorporates a mixture of house-electronic music influenced by tropical sounds and music from all over the world. 

Opening up for Polo & Pan are Lewis OfMan and Haasy. Lewis OfMan, also from France, vows to bring the party. The multi-instrumentalist has one intent: to get the party started and get people moving. You’ll stay warm dancing to Lewis OfMan.

Kicking off the evening on Friday will be former Aspen local Haasy, who is making his debut at The Amp stage and has opened for Chris Lake, Zedd and Kaskade.

Save some energy for night number two at The Amp. Making its Vail debut will be Big Gigantic featuring Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken from the Front Range. These two are veterans of the electronic dance world. Big G’s popular instrumental electronic hip-hop and jazz sound will keep the dance party going at The Amp.

DJ Pee .Wee, also known as Anderson .Paak, will be playing an all-vinyl set right before Big Gigantic goes on stage. This American has lots of titles: singer, songwriter, record producer, rapper and drummer. He has worked with Dr. Dre, Bruno Mars, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and many others. He will playing an all-vinyl set as DJ Pee .Wee and will take listeners on a musical journey from the 1970s up to the 2000s. Expect to hear some soul, classic, house, hip hop, disco, 1980s pop, rock and even some R&B.

Alana English is another Colorado artist from the Denver area. She’s been chiming in on The Amp’s Instagram page about how excited she is to make her debut at The Amp. She’s a skier, too, so maybe you’ll catch her out on the slopes prior to her show. On her Instagram, she said she’s bringing “full snow bunny vibes.” Get ready to start out dancing when she takes the stage at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

If you still need tickets, check out the website or purchase your tickets straight from the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater box office, which is open at 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Saturday.

Après at The Amp is a good excuse to stay in Vail and ski and ride during the day and enjoy the live music at night. Check out the great specials – anywhere from 5% to 25% off lodging at participating hotels. For a full list, go to GRFAVail.com/Apres-At-The-Amp-Lodging-Specials/.

Terrain Closures

Beaver Creek main mountain will be open until Apr. 16. Arrowhead and Bachelor Gulch close this weekend.
Tricia Swenson/Vail Daily

Even though Beaver Creek closes on Apr. 16 and Vail closes on Apr. 23, there are certain areas of both resorts that will close before the whole mountain shuts down for the season.

The Vail Mountain operations team is still assessing conditions and weather. There is a long stretch of warm and sunny weather in the forecast which will play a role in how the mountain continues to operate. All the complimentary mountain tours will come to an end this weekend as well.

Arrowhead and Bachelor Gulch lifts and terrain will close on Sunday. For the last week of operations at Beaver Creek (Apr. 10-16) the following lifts and their associated terrain will be open: Haymeadow Gondola (No. 1), Rose Bowl Express (No. 4), Red Buffalo Express (No. 5), Centennial Express (No. 6), Cinch Express (No. 8) and Birds of Prey Express (No. 9), servicing 71 trails and over 800 acres of skiing and snowboarding. Spruce Saddle, Talons, the Ice Cream Parlour and the Ranch will be open for dining on mountain.

The best places to check for open terrain are Vail.com, BeaverCreek.com and the EpicMix app. 

Vail Yeti Hockey vs. Colorado Warriors 

The Vail Yeti Hockey will host a charity game against the Colorado Warriors this Saturday at Dobson Arena.
Daily file photo

The regular season may be over, but the Vail Yeti Hockey team has one more game this Saturday at Dobson Arena. The game will pit the boys in green against the Colorado Warriors. The Colorado Warriors provide opportunities for veterans with service-connected disabilities to compete on the ice and experience the joy of playing hockey. The group also supports one another through the camaraderie and fellowship shared by those who have served in the military.

The event will also serve as a fundraiser for the Vail Mountaineer Youth Hockey Club which aims to provide youth hockey opportunities for all ability levels in the Eagle County area for both boys and girls.

Watch some hockey, raise some money and have a great time. The event will run from 7 until about 10 p.m. and tickets are $5-$10. Go to VailYetiHockey.com to learn more.

Taste of Vail returns for four delicious days of world-class tastings and pairings

It’s time for the Taste of Vail, the annual rite of spring that has been happening on the slopes and in the streets of Vail for over three decades. This foodie and wine event has been recognized by Forbes, Travel+Leisure and USA Today as one of the top food and wine festivals in the country. Maybe it’s because they invite dozens of winemakers and owners to pour their wines and mix and mingle with event-goers. Maybe it’s because they invite guest chefs to show their culinary talents alongside our Vail Valley all-star chefs. Or maybe it’s because the Rocky Mountains provide the perfect backdrop while you’re imbibing and noshing.

The Debut of Rosé took place on Wednesday but there are still plenty of events to enjoy between now and when the multi-day event wraps up on Saturday night. After skiing and snowboarding all day on Thursday, come down to Vail Village and come hungry – and thirsty. The Niman Ranch Iberian Duroc Pork Challenge and Après Tasting is happening from 3 to 6 p.m.  

Josh Marshall, executive chef of the Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail will be defending his Best Pork Shoulder and Best in Show titles at this year’s competition. At the event, ticket holders will be able to taste over 22 local and guest chefs’ pork creations along with samples from over 55 wineries, distilleries and beer companies. 

The Taste of Vail is all about trying something new and learning more about food and wine, so in the vein of “Life Beyond Chardonnay, Cabernet and Merlot” the Taste of Vail’s participating wineries during the Niman Ranch Iberian Duroc Pork Challenge and Après Tasting will be showcasing wines that you may not think about such as riesling, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, shiraz, and zinfandel. 

New this year, the Taste of Vail will host four world-class guest chefs at its signature events, three from Mexico and one from Denver. This is a new collaboration that will also send some Vail Valley chefs to Festival Gourmet in Puerto Vallarta Nov. 9-19, 2023. 

“After seeing first-hand the quality and passion from these amazing chefs, we wanted to find a way to showcase their talent at the Taste of Vail,” said Angela Mueller, executive director of Taste of Vail, in a press release. “The collaboration between chefs gives participants and attendees alike a fresh take on culinary offerings and brings an exciting new element to the event. We are thrilled to welcome Chef Leal, Chef Leyva, Chef Meraz and Chef Benavidez to Taste of Vail this year.”

You may have heard of Chef Orlando BenavidezHe now runs Bits and Pieces in Denver, but he was with the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek and he’s worked under Denver chefs Kevin Taylor and Richard Sandoval.

Chef Héctor Leyva is with Hector’s Kitchen, Punta Mita, Mexico. Chef Leyva brings flavors from different regions to Mexican cuisine, including fresh fish and locally sourced produce from the Pacific coast.

Chef Mauricio Lealof ICÚ, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico adds an innovative touch to traditional Mexican cuisine. In 2021 and 2022, ICÚ was included in the Mexican Culinary Guide and rated among the top 250 Restaurants of Mexico.

Chef Fabiola Merazis the executive chef and co-owner of MUXA Cocina del Alma and Los Tonales Restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She is also the founder of the Ellas se Juntan Initiative, created to help achieve greater recognition for Puerto Vallarta’s female chefs, mixologists and sommeliers.

The Niman Ranch Mountaintop Tasting takes place on Friday from noon to 2:30 p.m. at the top of Eagle’s Nest.
Daily file photo

In addition to signature events like the Niman Ranch Mountaintop Tasting at the top of Eagle’s Nest on Friday from noon to 2:30 p.m. and the Grand Tasting at The Hythe on Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m., there are several seminars and other offerings where you can learn about wine, spirits and other culinary matters.

Wine Spectator and Whisky Advocate have teamed up to bring you the Battle of the Bartenders Cocktail MixOff on Thursday at Vendetta’s (downstairs) from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Whiskey will be the liquor of choice and the creativity will be literally flowing as the valley’s top bartenders execute their twist on Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, high balls, sours and more. There will be a Critics Choice winner and a People’s Choice winner, so be sure to cast your vote. 

Find out why caviar and wine go so well together at the Sturia and Wine seminar on Friday from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Grand View Room at the top of the Lionshead parking structure. Here you’ll try four types of Sturia Caviar perfectly paired with wines from Left Coast Estate, Margerum Wine Company and Pinea Wines. 

Other offerings include Colorado wines, winemaker dinners, a hog butchering 201 class, Kettle One Vodka and Penta Tequila tastings and more. For a full list of seminars, information on signature events and to get tickets, go to TasteOfVail.com.

Meet Your Sommelier: Zachary Lewison of Swiss Chalet

Editor’s Note: The Vail Daily is showcasing chefs and sommeliers participating in this year’s Taste of Vail which returns to the slopes and streets of Vail Apr. 5 – 8. Zachary Lewison is the sommelier and beverage manager at Swiss Chalet at the Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail and is also a board member of the Taste of Vail.

Q: What is your name, where is your home restaurant and what is your official title?

A: My name is Zachary Lewison and I am the sommelier and beverage manager at Swiss Chalet.

Q: How long have you been at the Swiss Chalet?

A: I began working at the Swiss Chalet restaurant in 2015 and moved up the restaurant ladder from waiter to supervisor to assistant manager to sommelier and beverage manager.

Q: How long have you been participating in Taste of Vail?

A: This will be my second year as a board member for Taste of Vail, I attended as a guest in 2019.

Q: When did you first realize that you wanted to become a sommelier?

A: Working at the Swiss Chalet as a server ignited a curiosity within me about wine. That curiosity turned to passion and a thirst to learn more. I was grateful to have the Sonnenalp’s support and extensive wine program to learn from.

Q: Who has inspired you throughout your enological journey?

A: Master sommelier Damon Ornowski has always guided me and helped me fine-tune my tasting skills. He has always made the wine industry feel more approachable and encouraged me to grow.

Q: Why is it fun to participate in food and wine events like Taste of Vail?

A: The Taste of Vail allows restaurants and wineries to truly showcase their best offerings. Being able to come together in person and celebrate our products and passions creates an energy that is vivacious.

Q: What Taste of Vail seminars are not to be missed by wine lovers?

A: My favorites are the Sturia Caviar and Wine seminar (Fri., Apr. 7, 4-5 p.m.) and A Taste of Colorado Wine seminar (Sat., Apr. 8, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.).

Zachary Lewison has been on the board of Taste of Vail for two years and has been attending the Taste of Vail since 2019.
Taste of Vail/Courtesy photo

Q: What advice do you have for more of the novice wine drinkers who are thinking of coming to the Taste of Vail?

A: Be open to trying the many different styles of wine. I think there is a time and place for all wines and who knows, you might find you like a wine that you least expected to enjoy. 

Q: Why is it important to have winemakers at events like Taste of Vail?

A: Having the winemakers present separates the Taste of Vail from other wine events as it gives the winemaker a chance to educate their tasters. It also puts a face to the bottle. Storytelling is so important to connect with your audience. Today, customers want to know more than what the wine will taste like. They are looking for a true connection.

Q: The Debut of Rosé event is on Wednesday (3 – 6 p.m.). What are your favorite dishes with rosé?

A: I would try and pair the rosé wines with a dish that is light and playful, something like an arugula and radicchio salad with grapes, hazelnuts, melons and a light vinaigrette or an overnight-brined chicken served with a creamy herb risotto.

Q: The Niman Ranch Iberian Duroc Pork Challenge and Après Tasting is on Thursday (3 – 6 p.m.). What wines pair well with pork?  

A: Pork can be a great blank pallet that the chefs will use to put their creative touches on. For a spicy pork dish, I would try to find a wine such as Riesling or Gewurztraminer that has a little sugar to help balance the food. For a more earthy pork dish, I would try to find a nice pinot noir to accompany the dish. And, you can always find that sparkling wines will go with just about everything!

The Niman Ranch Iberian Duroc Pork Challenge and Après Tasting is on Thursday from 3 – 6 p.m.
Taste of Vail/Courtesy photo

Q: What’s your favorite varietal?

A: My favorite varietal would have to be pinot noir. I love all the different expressions of the grape from Russian River to Burgundy, New Zealand and anywhere else. 

Q: What’s your go-to wine and food pairing when you go out to eat or at home?

A: My wife is the chef at home, so it is my responsibility to provide the wine for dinner. My favorite pairing would have to be her roasted cauliflower and chickpea dish with a Russian River pinot noir that has aged about 5 to 7 years in bottle.

The Niman Ranch Mountaintop Tasting is at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola (No. 19) on Fri., Apr. 7 from noon until 2:30 p.m.
Daily file photo

Q: What is your favorite wine region to visit and taste wines from?

A: I spent a year in Sonoma and loved the diversity of the region! Sonoma has such a wide range of climates that allow for so many different grapes and styles to be produced. Also, I would highly recommend visiting Palisade, Colorado for a quick and easy trip to a region that is really getting serious about winemaking. It’s exciting to see the evolution of wines from Colorado as they start to further understand what grapes are doing best for our region.

Q: Is there anything else about you we should share?

A: Be sure to have fun and drink responsibly! We are still at around 8,000 feet above sea level, so stay hydrated, eat some great food and you will have a great time at the events!

Olympians, ultimate après ski parties, fab fashions, Peter Rabbit and more: Tricia’s Weekend Picks 03/31/23

Celebrate Mikaela

On Sunday, come to Solaris Plaza for an event that will celebrate the accomplishments of U.S. Alpine Ski Team member Mikaela Shiffrin after a record-breaking season. The 28-year-old Edwards resident recently broke the all-time record for World Cup wins which was held by Sweden’s Ingamar Stenmark. It was a record that held for 34 years until Shiffrin surpassed in on March 11 in Are, Sweden. To top it off, Shiffrin won another world cup, putting her total World Cup wins at 88.  

Shiffrin is fresh off a whirlwind media tour which included stops at NBC’s “Today Show” and “The Tonight Show” and ABC’s “Good Morning America.” She’s been carrying one of the trophies, a crystal globe to all sorts of talk show appearances and sits humbly as the anchors call her the “G.O.A. T.” (Greatest Of All Time). Shiffrin has even admitted to actually thinking about goats, baby goats in particular and the scene or barn animals instead of the acronym it stands for.

After looking at Shiffrin’s career achievements, its staggering how much she has accomplished. She’s the only skier to have won in all six disciplines: Downhill, Super G, Giant Slalom, Slalom, Parallel and Combined. She is the first American to win five World Cup overall titles.Sne broke the women’s record for most career giant slalom wins at 21 wins, and she is just getting started and appears to have a long career ahead.

Ingamar Stemark was happy for Shiffrin when she broke his record and complimented her during a video on Twitter.

“She is such a great skier and what impresses me the most about her is that she can be so good in all disciplines, which I never could” “I also think that she will be the first to reach 100 victories, so I wish her all the best and good luck,” Ingamar Stenmark on Twitter.

Colorado Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera will join Shiffrin as well as local leaders from throughout the Vail Valley. The whole community is coming together to celebrate this champion including the town of Vail, Eagle County, Beaver Creek Resort Company, Vail Mountain, the Towns of Gypsum, Eagle, Avon, Minturn, Eagle-Vail Metro District and Edwards Metro District, CFC Collective, the Vail Valley Foundation, the Colorado Snowsports Museum and Hall of Fame, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, Vail Valley Partnership and the Vail Chamber and Business Association.

Not many details have been revealed about Sunday’s event besides the time and place. The program will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. at Solaris Plaza, the same place where all the Vail/Beaver Creek Alpine World Ski Championships awards ceremonies were held, where she won gold in slalom. But, expect to see the who’s who of the ski racing industry past and present as the ski racing community gathers to celebrate this world wide sporting feat.

There will be a short autograph session, so bring your posters or helmet and a Sharpie in case you are lucky enough to have this legend sign it. For more information and to sign up for emails giving details about the event, go to Mikaela87.com.  

Project Funway

The 12th annual Project Funway charity event features creativity for a cause.
Juan Pena/Courtesy photo

One of the most creative fundraisers in the Vail Valley is Project Funway, which returns to Dobson Arena again this Saturday. The arena, which usually houses everything from Vail Yeti hockey games to ice bumper cars, is completely transformed into a fashion show venue and party place.

The 12th annual event is bringing back the models, the stage, the drum line, the hair and makeup, the celebrity judges and the fabric-less fashions all to benefit the Education Foundation of Eagle County (EFEC).

Celebrity judges include Elaine Kelton, Gina Browning and Joe Illick, Amanda Precourt and Blake Plumley. Celebrity judge Mondo Guerra will be back again, he was runner up on “Project Runway” and won “Project Runway All Stars” during season one.

The production is top notch and the creativity is off the charts. There are three categories: Adult (19 and up) Teen (13-18) and Youth (12 and under). The creativity runs high as students and adults come up with some amazing designs made out of anything but fabric. No look is ever the same and the materials used range from trail maps and candy to hockey sticks and stuffed animals.

Depending on the ticket level you purchase, there is VIP seating, buffet, bar and the silent auction. The auction items are already available to view on the website. Restaurant and lodging, golf outings, Golden Bear jewelry, clothing, a wine country trip to Palisade, Colorado and many more items are up for grabs. If you can’t make it to the event, the silent auction is a great way to still support the cause.

The mission of the Education Foundation of Eagle County (EFEC) is to support public education and the intellectual and emotional needs of students, especially focusing on in-school programs for enrichment, mental health support and efforts to attract and retain top teacher talent. Believe it or not, Colorado ranks 50th in teacher wage competitiveness, 45th in the percentage of taxable income spent on education and 41st in per-pupil spending. View EFEC’s annual report at EFEC.org.

The event starts at 5:30 p.m. and goes until 9:30 p.m. It’s a ton of fun and a treat for the whole family to see all the creativity. So many locals participate that you’re sure to know a model, a designer or both. For ticket and event information go to ProjectFunway.org.

Ski for MS

Can Do MS will host Ski for MS with Olympian Jonny Moseley leading the group of costume-clad folks on Saturday on Vail Mountain.
Courtesy photo

Saturday is April Fool’s Day, which typically guarantees you’ll see a lot of costumes on the slopes, but one group of costume-clad skiers and riders will be wearing funny threads for a cause. Can Do MS presents the Ski for MS event and Olympian Jonny Moseley will be leading the charge. No off-axis tricks are required to enjoy the ski for MS, just the spirit of skiing and riding for those families and individuals who have multiple sclerosis.

Moseley is known for winning the gold medal in the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan. He also wowed judges in the U.S. Freeskiing Open and X Games. Known for his original trick called the Dinner Roll, he is also known for throwing an off-axis 720 in the moguls competition in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Utah.

Can-Do MS delivers health and wellness education programs at no cost to help families living with MS thrive in the spirit of Jimmie Heuga. The locally based Can Do MS organization was formerly known as The Jimmy Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis. Heuga was an Olympic bronze medalist in alpine skiing. He and teammate Billy Kidd made America proud when Kidd finished second and Heuga finished third on the podium in Innsbruck, Austria at the 1964 Olympic Games.

Heuga was diagnosed with MS early in his career, but his athletic background fueled the drive to change the way people with MS were treated. Rather than live a sedentary life and avoid exercise, Heuga revolutionized treatment with a whole-body approach. He wanted to focus on the things that those with MS can do versus the things they can’t do.

Come out and support the cause by skiing and riding as many vertical feet as you can on Saturday. The Vertical Challenge begins at 10 a.m. and every vertical foot counts until 3 p.m. Track your vertical feet on the Epic Mix app, another app of your choice or count your runs and use a map of the mountain to calculate your vertical feet. Total those numbers up for a chance to win prizes for the most vertical at the après ski party which will be held from 3 to 5:30 at the Express Lift Café at the base of Vail Mountain next to Gondola One (No. 1).

Check out the website for complete schedule including free skiing with Mogul Mayhem with Moseley and a Ski Down in honor of Huega. A $50 donation gets you access to the Vertical Challenge, on-mountain activities and entry to the fun après ski party with free beer and appetizers. For more information, go to CanDo-MS.org.

Ultimate Après Avon Beer Festival

The Ultimate Après Avon Beer Festival returns to Avon on Saturday with beer, wine, spirits and seltzer tastings and live music.
Bence Boros for Unsplash/Courtesy photo

The Ultimate Après Avon Beer Festival is a new event that is sure to become and end of ski season classic that will return each spring. Wind down the season by enjoying beer tastings from Colorado breweries, live music, a VIP area and food from local vendors. There will also be some cool items like clothing and housewares to check out. In addition to beer tastings, there will be wine, hard seltzer, canned cocktail, cider and spirit tastings.

The event will kick off at 1 p.m. with live music from opening band, Band Kamp, which will be playing all your favorite hits from rock bands of the 1970s. From A to Z, literally, Band Kamp will play songs ranging from Aerosmith to ZZ Top from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Stick around for Blink 90210, which will take you on a musical journey of 1990s rock with songs from Sublime, Weezer, Green Day, 4 Non Blondes, Beastie Boys, Tiffany, Gin Blossoms and Blink 182, which gives a nod to the band’s name. This high energy group will play from 3:45 to 5:45 p.m. before the event wraps up at 6 p.m.

Ski and ride early and then head down to the fun. Everything will be set up on Lake Street, where you can gaze up at the views of the slopes of Beaver Creek, where we will soon be bidding farewell to the ski and snowboard season and anticipate the summer activities and events. For tickets and more information visit AvonBeerFest.com.

“Peter Rabbit” by the Colorado Symphony

Introduce young listeners to the sounds and instruments of the Colorado Symphony as they tell the story of Peter Rabbit at the Vilar Performing Arts Center.
Vilar Performing Arts Center/Courtesy photo

Bring the little ones to hear the sounds of the Colorado Symphony performing an interactive concert, “Petite Musique” that will introduce the youngest listeners to the instruments of the orchestra while also telling the story of popular children’s character, Peter Rabbit at the Vilar Performing Arts Center.

This is part of the Vilar Performing Arts Center’s youth outreach program, STARS: Support The Arts Reaching Students. This event is suggested for preschoolers through second grade and it will be presented in English and in Spanish. A 16-piece orchestra will be on stage, but the event is very interactive, so, along with the storytelling, there will be some singing and dancing involved.

The concert is at 4 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are affordable at $10 for adults and children 12 and under are free. For more information, go to VilarPAC.org.

Meet Your Chef: Taste of Vail Edition

Editor’s note: Jason Harrison, chef and owner of Red Maple Catering, has been participating on and off in the Taste of Vail events since he opened up the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail in 2010. Red Maple Catering will be participating in the Niman Ranch Mountaintop Tasting at the top of Vail Mountain on April 7 from noon to 2:30 p.m. Red Maple Catering will be serving up braised pork belly at 10,350 feet above sea level. The Taste of Vail returns to the streets and slopes of Vail April 5-8.

What is your name, your home restaurant and what is your title?

My name is Jason Harrison and I am the chef and owner Red Maple Catering.

When did you first realize that you wanted to become a chef?

I have been cooking since I was 15 years old. Cooking to me is the greatest creative outlet there is. It is how I am able to express my creative side and show my passion for ingredients at the same time.

Why is it fun to participate in foodie events like Taste of Vail?

We do this to be part of the food community and continue to grow the town’s identity as a first-class food destination. To me, Taste of Vail has always been about showing off the culinary talent that our town has and partnering with great suppliers for top-notch products. It’s also super fun to take part in, so a win on every level. 

Jason Harrison, chef and owner of Red Maple Catering, will be participating in the Mountaintop Tasting at the Taste of Vail on Friday, April 7.
Taste of Vail/Courtesy photo

What Taste of Vail events will you be participating in and what dish are you making?

We are entered in the Niman Ranch Mountaintop Tasting on Friday and we are serving a braised pork belly.

How many years have you participated in the Taste of Vail? 

I have been participating in the Taste of Vail on and off since 2010 when I opened the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail. 

What’s it like to be out there at the events with so many of the other chefs? Is it fun to see what everyone else is making? 

It is great to see what everyone else is doing and see all the chefs. Everyone is so creative and puts their best forward at the Taste of Vail. 

How important is it to be out and in front of the public at the Taste of Vail? 

It is huge for a little company like ours to be a part of such a great event and to have the exposure with all of the other restaurants and hotels. This is a major opportunity for us. 

Who has inspired you throughout your culinary journey?

I have been lucky to work with great leaders all through my career, almost too many to name!

Red Maple Catering’s Jason Harrison said he doesn’t mind bringing up all the ingredients and fixings to prepare his dish for the masses at the Mountaintop Picnic. Harrison says Red Maple Catering primarily caters for events outdoors and in remote locations.
Red Maple Catering/Courtesy photo

What’s your favorite spice?


Favorite protein?

Pork, actually!

Favorite fruits and veggies?

Haha! If I have to eat anything other than protein, I’ll say mango!

Name your carb: pasta, potatoes, rice, polenta, etc.?

Rice has been my go-to lately.

What’s your favorite comfort food?

Grilled cheese reminds me of childhood, and it has to come with a great tomato soup.

What are the challenges of taking your “kitchen” out to the top of Vail Mountain for the Mountain Top Picnic at the Taste of Vail and trying to make your dish and plate it up for the masses?

Actually, this is literally what our catering company does for all of our events, we specialize in fine dining in the great outdoors: the side of a mountain in a valley with no running water or power, the end of a long hike by a lake, a stop on the side of a river during a day of rafting … we’ve done all that and more!