At first, it’s a little nerve-wracking. Unless you’re a seasoned cross-country skier, setting off in the dark from the Aspen Nordic Center on the slick, frozen trails of the golf course – with perhaps dozens of other shadows moving at various speeds – seems like a good setup for plenty of awkward falls. But once the light of the first bonfire and food station comes into view, and you click out of your skis to join your friends, neighbors and community members of all ages for some delicious food from local restaurants and a warm-up by the fire, the spirit and fun of this very unique event become apparent.
The Nordic Bonfire Dinner – which this year takes place during the full wolf moon on Jan. 20 – is the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club nordic team’s only dedicated fundraiser. And while proceeds from the event (the fee is $30 for adults and $15 for children) make a big impact on the club’s nordic program, it’s also just flat out one of winter’s most fun events.
Participants are invited to cross-country ski or snowshoe around the 1.5-kilometer course, indicated by luminarias. It’s all at your own pace, so take your time to pause and check out the stars, and know that it’s all easy, family-friendly skiing. Nordic equipment is available for rental for $10 at the venue if you don’t have your own, but get there early as there is a limited supply.
Three bonfire stations offer sustenance and respite along the route, with appetizers at the first station, soups and breads at the second and libations and desserts at the third. More than 40 local restaurants, liquor stores and other food and beverage vendors donate to this event to make it possible. At the third station and biggest bonfire, the Nordic Bonfire Band entertains while the adults enjoy adult beverages and kids get jacked up on hot cocoa and desserts.
And at the end of the evening, everyone goes home with full bellies, rosy cheeks and the satisfaction of having supported one of our valley’s oldest nonprofits.
Help feed the homeless on MLK Day
Here’s another way to support the community and get into the spirit of service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
On Monday, Jan. 21, the Aspen Chapel is hosting a dinner for the homeless as part of its Social Justice and Outreach program. Volunteers, including kids, are encouraged to come help prepare and cook the dinner and make table decorations, starting at 3:30 p.m. Once everything is ready, at 6 p.m., volunteers are invited to stay and enjoy the lasagna and salad dinner with less fortunate community members.
Children need to be accompanied by an adult. For more information, contact Elaine Bonds at the Aspen Chapel: (970) 925-7182 or email@example.com.
If You Go
AVSC Nordic Bonfire Dinner
Sunday, Jan. 20, 6-8:30 pm
Aspen Nordic Center/
Aspen Golf Course
$30 adults, $15 children,
$80 family of four.
Purchase online at
or add $5 at the door if
the event is not sold out.