Karl Denson

Karl Denson

I realize that this is our annual shopping guide, and, ostensibly, I should be using this space for more shopping-related information, but I would be remiss if I were to say nothing about the goings-on out in Snowmass this weekend. Change has been a long time coming to Base Village, but it’s finally here, mostly, and it’s a cause for much excitement, so Snowmass is throwing a shindig.

The Base Village Grand Opening celebration starts this afternoon with après specials at a number of bars and restaurants, free s’mores in Base Village and at the Westin Snowmass, ice sculptures, live music, kids crafts, photos with Santa and free cookies at participating retailers.

Tomorrow is the big day, though, starting at 3 p.m. with a Bud Light Hi-Fi Concert Series show in Base Village featuring Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. That’s the part I’m particularly excited about.

If you’re unfamiliar with Denson, one of the hardest-working musicians in the industry, he’s a gifted saxophonist and flutist whose brand of upbeat acid jazz is extremely funky. A founding member of the influential Greyboy Allstars, Denson also played in Lenny Kravitz’s band and tours with a little ensemble called the Rolling Stones. As you might imagine, Mick and Keith don’t hire just anybody. Denson’s got chops.

He’s recorded with a bunch of other artists and jammed with countless others, but Denson is perhaps most famous for being a member of the band Sexual Chocolate. Don’t remember them? They were the group that backed up Jackson Heights’ own Mr. Randy Watson (Eddie Murphy) as he sang “The Greatest Love of All” in the movie “Coming to America.”

No, seriously: Karl Denson was in Sexual Chocolate. Go look up the video. He’s the short guy on the right with the saxophone in his hands.

After the two-hour show wraps up, around 5 p.m., there will be a climbing competition on Colorado’s tallest indoor climbing wall at the new Limelight Snowmass hotel and a skating exhibition on the new ice rink featuring Olympic skater Paul Wylie as emcee and choreographer. The official ribbon-cutting ceremony takes place at 5:15 p.m., DJ Naka G will be spinning tunes at the new Collective in Base Village from 5:45-7:45 p.m., and there will be fireworks at 6:15 p.m.

That’s right: fireworks on Dec. 15. That’s how you know this is a big deal.

Tomorrow also marks the debut of Snowmass’s new pop-up Winter Market at The Collective, featuring locally made art, crafts, jewelry, desserts, smoothies and more. The market will be open from 12-6 p.m. daily through Jan. 31 (and until 8 p.m. tomorrow) and offers a great way to shop locally and find the perfect gifts for the people on your nice list.

Hey, what do you know? This turned out to be an article about shopping after all.

Todd Hartley is the special sections editor for Aspen Daily News. He can be reached at todd@aspendailynews.com.

Special Sections Editor