Snow Daze: Vail kicks off the season with a bang |

Snow Daze: Vail kicks off the season with a bang

Charlie OwenVail, CO, Colorado
AE Snow Daze PU 12-9-06

This week Vail might seem more like a carnival than a world-class ski resort. Thats because Vail Snow Daze has returned for a second year, and this time around its a little bit bigger than last years inaugural event.The format for the event has been expanded to include a week-long festival-like calendar of events that includes concerts, prize giveaways and ski clinics.

This year we wanted to step it up with entertainment and thats very obvious in the acts we brought in, said James Deighan, senior vice president of Highline Sports and Entertainment, the company responsible for promoting Vail Snow Daze.There is something for everyone this year. Whether old, young, or in between, there is no shortage of things to do.Vail Snow Daze, which begins today and continues through Sunday, boasts big-name music acts, mock sporting competitions, special dining opportunities and after hours parties throughout the week. If you are in Vail either on the mountain or in the village it will be hard to miss the commotion. Special prize booths will be set up at various locations and continuous music by live DJs and performers will be pumping through speakers at all hours of the day and night trying to make locals and tourists feel like theyre part of something special.No matter where you are on the mountain youre going to hit Snow Daze, said Amy Hornyak, sponsorship account manager for Highline Sports and Entertainment.

Mix Master Mike and Third World opened for The Counting Crows at last years early season celebration. Three major concerts on three separate nights are the main events of this years Snow Daze. I think that the thought behind all of the band bookings for Vail Snow Daze this year was to create diversity within the three different acts, Deighan said.Indeed, the artists performing this year are as different as can be.On Thursday night reggae legend Ziggy Marley will take the stage. The Grammy Award-winning musician (and the eldest son of Bob Marley) should appease the appetite of the laid-back hippie crowd, while Social Distortion, who plays Friday night at Dobson Arena, will most likely appeal to the punk rock, mosh-pit loving demographic.The headlining act of Snow Daze belongs to Atlanta rapper Ludacris and Philadelphia based hip-hop band The Roots. While there has been some concern over Ludacriss billing at this years event, Deighan insists that the rap star is no more vulgar than any other act such as Snoop Dogg or Kid Rock who has come to Vail.I think hes really one of the most entertaining pop icons in the music industry today, theres not question about it, and thats why were bringing him here, Deighan said.Besides the mega stars, there will also be a slew of other musicians performing around the village during the week. DJ Peter Blick, DJ Logic, Laughing Bones and Lynx are all set to keep the party going.

Something new to the Snow Daze package this year is the 1,000 Snowflakes of Vail promotion. Stationed around the village will be booths where representatives will be giving away prizes 1,000 prizes to be exact. The swag is provided by event sponsors such as Coors Light, Mountain Dew, Volvo, Salomon, and Skiing Magazine. The idea behind the giveaways is to make people aware that something good can happen to them at any moment while they are in Vail.

The main focus of Snow Daze is to bring people to Vail. Whether it is to ski, ride, or party, the focus is to prove that Vail can not only provide some of the best terrain on earth but also keep the masses entertained when the mountain closes. There will be plenty of partying to be done this week in Vail as Coors Light hosts the Cold Front Party at a different bar each night. There will be prizes given out and drink specials, and its a great chance to branch out from your usual bar stool and check out some other watering holes.

Returning for its second year is the Dummy Gelunde World Championships. What is Dummy Gelunde you ask?Teams of three people create dummies that are strapped to skis or a snowboard and then launched one at a time through the starting gate, down a hill, towards a kicker to the finish line. The dummies are judged on creativity, quality of the jump, quality of the blowout during landing and crowd response to the run. There are rules, believe it or not. No explosives or propellants can be used in the creation of your dummy or during the run, and absolutely no live organisms are allowed in the competition. This is a crowd favorite and the theatrics are fun to watch. Teams are even allowed to have theme songs when they are announced.

Each year that Vail Snow Daze is a success is insurance that it will return with bigger and better music acts and entertainment the next. Response to the event has been overwhelming thus far with a packed house for the Counting Crows last year and ticket sales on the rise for this years concerts.Ticket sales have snowballed since the snow has started to fall and were looking forward to a big turnout, Hornyak said.Excellent ticket sales means that the future could hold some unexpected surprises for Vail. Deighan said that he has a wish list of performers he would love to see play at Snow Daze and is constantly working on signing them. On that list: The Black Crowes, The Beastie Boys and The Dave Matthews Band. The idea is to make these events bigger and more inviting not just to locals, but on a regional and national level, Deighan said.Who knows, maybe in a couple of years we will have Vail Snow Months instead of Snow Daze.Arts & Entertainment writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 748-2939 or

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