Hispanic events gain popularity | VailDaily.com

Hispanic events gain popularity

Kimberly Nicoletti

As the Latino population grows in the Rockies, so do related events. Last Saturday, two Hispanic events took place at ski resorts.

Keystone Resort hosted its first Rock the Slopes en Espanol, an event featuring the Mex Games and DJs spinning at the Parrot Eyes and Green Light nightclubs. Copper Mountain held its 23rd annual Ski Fiesta Fundraiser, a ski race, pub crawl and dance event that benefits the Hispanic Chamber Education Foundation.

Coordinators designed both events to introduce the Latino population to skiing.

“We hope to grow the ski industry by bringing the Hispanic population up to ski,” said Justin Pass, account executive with Entravision Communications, which teamed up with Keystone for Rock the Slopes.

Copper’s Ski Fiesta also involved introducing skiing to Latinos.

“Frankly, we don’t have a hard-core skiing group,” said Ski Fiesta co-chair Glenn Ortiz. “This may be one of two times they ski or stay the weekend. It gives people an opportunity to enjoy a nice weekend of skiing and being in the mountains – being introduced to other opportunities and getting out of their element allows kids to broaden their horizons.”

Unfortunately, both events vied for a similar audience on the same day. Radio Romantica, which supported Rock the Slopes en Espanol this year, withdrew its support from Ski Fiesta. “It’s kind of a weird situation,” Ortiz said. “I don’t know why they’d pick that weekend for competition. If we could have united, it would have been better for all.”

Pass said Keystone asked him to move the date, causing it to coincidentally fall on the same day as Ski Fiesta. Next year, they will try to avoid overlapping, he said.

Despite competition, both events drew about 250 to 300 people. About 75 to 80 percent of the participants at Ski Fiesta were Latino and most came from the Front Range, Ortiz said.

Ski Fiesta raised more than $100,000 to help Colorado Hispanic students pursue higher education, Ortiz said.

Pass thought the weekend’s snowy weather hurt the Mex Games attendance at Rock the Slopes, where about 100 people showed up.

DJ Jesus Vega, from 92.1 Radio Romantica, said people stopped by his booth at the base of River Run throughout the day on their way to ski or snowboard. “This is the first event like this at Keystone,” Vega said. “There are more people at the Denver events, but we’ll all get together later at the nightclubs when people come down from the mountain.”

About 200 to 250 people, mostly Hispanic, came to dance to the salsa, cumbia, meringue and Spanish rock of DJs Kahlil and Roberto Beto Gaytan, Pass said. At 11 p.m., people marched down River Run, following the mariachi band from one club to the next.

“The nightclubs just went off,” Pass said.

He estimated that about half of the people came up from Denver, while the other half were Keystone employees and Summit County locals.

Aurora resident Dominique Tello drove up for the day to enjoy the party at River Run and go dancing that night. She said the event was heavily advertised on the radio, television and Internet. “It sounded like it was going to be fun, so I came to dance, play and have a good time,” Tello said.

“It was a successful first-time event,” Pass said, “and we’re looking forward to the next event. Keystone was really instrumental in providing an ethnic outlet.”

Summit County Correspondent Kim Marquis contributed to this story.

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