If one didn’t know better, one might be tempted to think that Buttermilk has a bit of a Napoleonic complex. What else could account for Aspen’s smallest ski area hogging winter’s biggest spotlight, the X Games, with its giant superpipe, colossal big airs and gargantuan hype?
With that being the case, as Napoleon would, Buttermilk seems to be serious about expanding its empire and conquering the end-of-season crown, as well. That would be the logical explanation for what’s going on out there this weekend, as the lifts prepare to shut down for the season on Sunday afternoon and the supposedly timid ’Milk acts the big man again.
To start with, there’s the all-new, three-day music festival The Après, which couldn’t be exploding onto the scene with a much bigger bang. In mountain towns in general, and in Aspen in particular, there are few larger names on the jam-band circuit than the two headliners Aspen Skiing Company and Belly Up will be bringing to the slopeside X Games concert stage.
Umphrey’s McGee will close out tonight’s lineup at 8 p.m., and The String Cheese Incident will be the headliner tomorrow and Sunday, with two-set shows starting at 6 p.m. each night. And if you’re wondering just how big of a draw both bands are, consider that Umphrey’s McGee’s shows at the Belly Up last night and the night before and String Cheese Incident’s show there tonight all sold out weeks ago – at face-value prices ranging from $99-$295 per ticket! (For more on The Après, check out our Music Beat column in today’s Time Out.)
This morning marks the season’s final rendition of the Friday Morning Uphill Breakfast Club, which may be making its way up the slopes of Buttermilk (and West Buttermilk and Tiehack) to breakfast at the Cliffhouse even as you are reading these words. Given the event’s regular-season popularity, a decent forecast and an end-of-season flavor, it could end up being one of the biggest uphill events Aspen’s mountains have ever hosted.
Buttermilk’s real day to sizzle, though, is Sunday, which will see the return of Bacon Appreciation Day. As history has shown, everything tastes better with bacon, so expect Buttermilk to be high on the hog all day with bacon waffles at the Cliffhouse starting at 9:00 a.m., bacon doughnuts from ColoraDough at 10:30 a.m., bacon samples around the mountain from 11 a.m. until they run out and more bacon in the base area from 2-4 p.m. Bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon. Bacon.
To get skiers ready to do all that engorging, Buttermilk will be hosting another uphill event, the Fueled by Bacon Sizzle Up, Sunday morning at 8 a.m. at the mountain’s base. A sprint (for some) to the Cliffhouse, with prizes for first, best costume and Center Cut (the person right in the middle, finish-wise), the event will have bacon at the start and finish lines, with bacon waffles at the Cliffhouse.
Bacon. Oh, there will also be kids activities, live music and an outdoor-bar happy hour at the base in the afternoon – with bacon-and-cheddar kettle corn and bacon brie, of course. For the full mouth-watering menu – er, schedule – visit aspensnowmass.com.
Finally, to keep all those baconeers entertained while they wine and swine, the base of the mountain will also be the site of the annual Smith Optics Grudge Match, in which 30 competitors will spin the trick wheel and have to perform the assigned trick on a specially constructed plaza-style terrain park. The victor in the battle will commandeer a cool $1,000 cash and a pair of Smith goggles.
So grab a fistful of bacon and a good viewing seat on the deck outside of Bumps, surrender and swear your allegiance to the Buttermilk Empire.