Ski town sing-a-long |

Ski town sing-a-long

Caramie Schnell
The Red Lion was packed with people out enjoying apres hours for Vail's opening weekend on Bridge Street. Shawn Eiferman, a Las Vegas singer/songwriter, performs at the bar four days a week, Wednesdays through Saturdays.
Justin McCarty | |

This season a handful of the most popular musicians on the apres ski entertainment scene have traded barstools. The past few years, it’s been mostly status quo, with the main players strumming and singing to the ski-boot-clad masses at the usual bars come 4 p.m. Not this season. Four of the biggest players in Eagle County’s apres music scene have switched slots.

“It’s more change than in the history of Vail,” agreed Rod Powell, who up to last season had performed at Pepi’s on Bridge Street for 32 years. Now you can find Powell at Buddy’s, the bar inside The Tivoli Lodge, Thursdays, Friday and Saturdays from 4 to 7 p.m.

“Phil Long left the Red Lion and is at Shakedown (Bar); Shannon Tanner left the Hyatt and went to La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs; Steve Meyer went to Whiskey Jack’s (now called Vail Underground) and I left Pepi’s and went to the Tivoli,” Powell said.

Back in the early ‘80s when Powell came on the scene, many of the older musicians playing to the after-ski crowd were singing Motown standards; Powell switched it up, serving up Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville” and adding some musical warmth to the chilly afternoons.

Alas, “change is good,” Powell said.

“All these guys have been here forever and it just kind of happened all at once,” said Powell, who began playing in 1980. “It’ll be interesting to see what happens with all these places.”

So here’s the rundown on where you can find your favorite crooner belting out “Me and Bobby McGee” this winter:


Vail Underground

Formerly Whiskey Jack’s, the Bridge Street bar now called Vail Underground, hosts Vail native Johnny Schleper on stage Sunday, Monday and Tuesdays starting at 3:40 p.m. Those apres shows are free.

People should “expect a mix of rock, blues, reggae, originals, some country and hip-hop,” Schleper said. “Also expect to see various sit-ins from some great musicians around the valley; It’s not your average après song list.”

Steye Meyer plays Wednesdays through Saturdays from 5 to 9 p.m. The cover is $5 except locals get in free with a locals card you can pick up at the bar. The band will also host regularly scheduled DJ’s Thursday through Saturday nights starting at 10 p.m.: DJ B-Bell plays Thursdays, DJ Droid performs on Fridays and DJ P-Rock performs Saturdays.

“We changed the name because Vail Underground is a little cooler than our old name and we are trying to tweak our image a little to include Steve Meyer as our après show,” said Sid Towle, the bar’s owner. “Also we have been remodeling for the last two years and we think the bar looks great now. Time for a change. We hope to keep our old customers and add some new ones.”

The bar has 13 large televisions playing various sporting events and ski movies day and night. “You will also be able to watch our musicians live on our TV’s, also,” Toole said.

The bar will serve food supplied by Big Bear Bistro from 3 to 9 p.m. daily.

King’s Club at Sonnenalp Resort

King’s Club has music every night from 8 to midnight, rotating between acoustic guitarist Donny Z, vocalist and pianist Kathy Morrow, and folk-rock musician Kevin Danzig. “Kathy Morrow on piano is very jazzy,” said Kelly Plas, front desk supervisor at The Sonnenalp. “The other two musicians are guitar players. Donny Z and Kevin Danzig play contemporary and American classics, country songs and more. It’s fun mix of different types of songs.” Call 970-476-5656 for more information.

Red Lion

This season is the start of a new era for the bar. After performing for 25 years, musician and co-owner Phil Long is stepping off the stage and Vegas musician Shawn Eiferman is climbing on. Eiferman, who plays at Cabo Wabo in Las Vegas as a trio, will play a solo acoustic show Wednesday through Saturdays from 4 to 6 p.m. and 9 to 11 p.m. Brendan McKinney plays Sunday through Tuesday, from 4 to 6 p.m. and again from 9 to 11 p.m. Call 970-476-7676 for more information.


Pepi’s hosts two new apres musicians this year: Colin McAfee and Dave Tucker, both acoustic guitarists/singers. Tucker performs Thursdays through Sundays from 4 to 6 p.m. and again from 7 to 9 p.m. and McAfee performs Mondays through Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Call 970-476-4671 to learn more.

Shakedown Bar

Longtime local apres entertainer Phil Long is now performing an apres show from 4 to 7 p.m. daily through the winter. There’s a $10 cover charge, which includes a buffet, catered by Tavern on the Gore. My Brother’s Keeper, a band featuring bar owner Scott Rednor, and Michael Jude and John Michel of The John Oates Band (Hall and Oates), will perform Thursday and Saturday at 9 p.m. The Scott Rednor Band will perform at 9 p.m. Friday evenings. The cover charge for the evening shows is $5. Call 970-479-0556 for more information.

The Tivoli Lodge

Buddy’s, the bar inside The Tivoli Lodge, welcomes Rod Powell to the stage this winter. After 32 years, Powell will play a new stage. You’ll find Powell at The Tivoli Thursdays, Friday and Saturdays from 4 to 7 p.m. “Change is good,” said Powell. Attendees can expect the same thing Powell’s always offered: “Interacting with the crowd and having fun,” he said. “The show can be mellow or it can be a big sing-a-long.” It’s all up to the crowd. “I’m pretty consistent with what I do, otherwise I wouldn’t still be here.”


Tavern on the Square at Arrabelle

The Tavern offers apres music everyday from 3 to 6 p.m. and evening entertainment from 8 to 11 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Musicians include Peter Fontanese, Donny Z, James Ryan Pieper, Ron Hardy, Nick Steingart and Dawn Poff. With the exception of Poff, who is a gifted pianist/singer, all of the musicians are guitarists/singers. Ron Hardy, Peter Fontanese, and Donny Z are all members of the popular trio 30 Fingers and also perform at The Sonnenalp Resort every Wednesday night at 8 p.m. The men all love the music of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s and include a lot of the music from that era in their shows, individually as well as collectively, Fontanese said.

“James Ryan Pieper and Nick Steingart are younger singers who do a great job with classic rock as well as more modern artists,” Fontanese said. “Nick Steingart’s band Skin the Rabbit is gaining in popularity throughout the Vail/Eagle Valley and beyond, and will be featured at Tavern on the Square a couple of times during the winter. James Ryan Pieper is also quite a prolific writer and his original material is equally as interesting as the other music that he covers.” Call 970-754-7700 for more information.

Avalanche Pub, Vail Marriott

Vail Marriott has live music at the Avalanche Pub Tuesday through Saturdays from 4 to 10 p.m. Featured musicians include Roy Bloomfield, Dave “Skip Dog” Anderson and Texas Brandon, aka Brandon Gardner, all of whom are singers and acoustic guitar players. “We’ve had Roy and Dave playing here for years and Brandon started this year,” said Nick Koths, the assistant restaurant manager. Call 970-476-4444 for more information.


Longtime apres musician Jonny Mogambo performs at Garfinkel’s Monday and Tuesdays from 3;30 to 6:30 p.m. Garfinkel’s celebrates its’ 20th anniversary this season and Mogambo plans to bring “back the old school vibe,” including “spinning the shot wheel and partying like we always have après-ski style with my solo acoustic rock show being the catalyst for the party,” he said. “I actually played there the second year they were open when they started doing après ski for the first time. It was what brought me to Vail. I was living in Boulder and Garfinkel’s called me to come play three days a week for après ski.” Mogambo used to drive to Vail, play a few days and couch surf at friend’s houses and then go play other ski towns, he said. “After a year, Garfinkel’s hired me to play five days a week so I moved up here and the rest is history. So celebrating their 20th year is somewhat of a celebration all around for me.”

Call 970-476-3789 to learn more.


Maya at the Westin Riverfront Resort

Through Dec. 15, BLT, a jazz keyboard and percussion ensemble made up of Brian Loftus (drums) and Tony Gulizia (bass, piano and vocals) will perform rock and jazz music from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Westin Riverfront Resort in Avon on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Local band The Turntable Review will perform from 6:45 to 9:45 p.m. Saturday nights and Justin Allison will perform from 6:45 to 9 p.m. on Sunday evenings.

During peak season this winter, starting Dec. 16, you can see Roy Bloomfield at the resort on Mondays from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m.; on Tuesdays through Thursdays, the Turntable Review plays 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Justin Allison plays from 6:45 to 8:45 p.m. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, BLT performs from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Turntable Review will follow them from 6:45 to 9:45 p.m. on Saturdays and on Sundays, Justin Allison will play from 6:45 to 9 p.m.


Grouse Mountain Grill

Jazz musician Tony Gulizia, best known as “Tony G,” performs at Grouse Mountain Grill on Wednesday through Sunday from 7 to 11 p.m. beginning Nov. 27.

Gulizia plays “the very best of jazz, old and new, bop to swing with some groovy stuff in between,” he said. Gulizia, a staple in the local music scene, has been performing at Grouse Mountain Grill since 1995. “We gave him his first job in 1995 when he first came to the area looking for a gig, the rest is history,” said Nancy Dowell, owner of Grouse Mountain Grill. “He adds more than just music to our program, he adds his amazing personality and interaction with our guests. He enhances the guest experience in more ways than just with his vocal and music talent. It’s a fun place to work with him here.”

Call 970-949-0600 for more information.

The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch

The Ritz-Carlton will have daily apres music from noon to 4 p.m. daily. Robert Ingman, the main performer, will play Tuesdays through Saturdays. Call 970-748-6200 for more information.

Splendido at the Chateau

Splendido showcases piano music nightly from 7 to 11 p.m. Classical pianist Peter Vavra will play Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and popular pianist Kathy Morrow will play Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Call 970-845-8808 for more information.

The Park Hyatt

Throughout the season, the Park Hyatt’s apres ski show takes place either at McCoy’s or in the hotel’s lobby bar, according to musician Jonny Mogambo who will perform from 3:30 to 6 p.m. most Wednesday’s through Sunday’s.

“They have remodeled the whole front of the restaurant at McCoy’s and there is a great new view when you sit inside now,” Mogambo said. “So with doing music with me, their new entertainer, and the new restaurant and the World Ski Championship coming next season, they are revamping things and bringing something new and fresh to the après ski scene in Beaver Creek.”

Call 970-949-1234.


Vista at Arrowhead

Local favorite Micky Poage performs Monday through Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. With his Yamaha grand piano, Poage continues to do what he does best by being a class-act apres entertainer. “I get people who come for dinner, people who come for dinner and Mickey and people who come for just Micky,” said Janine Glennon, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Michael. “He’s been Vail’s piano man for 35 years.” Call 970-926-2111 for more information.

We’ll be running this apres entertainment listing throughout the season. Have an apres event you’d like to see included here? Email

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