Like its sister town of Aspen, Snowmass Village’s summer season is going to look a lot different this year.
Beloved village traditions — such as the Thursday concert series on Fanny Hill and the Snowmass Rodeo — will not happen this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other events like the Ragnar Trail race, the Yoga on the Mountain festival and the circus also are canceled, Snowmass Tourism director Rose Abello confirmed Tuesday.
Jazz Aspen Snowmass last week called off its highly anticipated Labor Day Experience, which is traditionally set in the village, this year.
Abello said her team is working tirelessly to devise alternative “activations” and happenings that can create a fun vibe without drawing crowds.
“The easy thing for us to do would be to just say that we’re not doing any of these events. That’s the easy solution. But we’re going to go down fighting,” Abello said. “We are trying to figure out how do we re-jigger some of these events to see if there’s any way, shape or form that they can happen in a way that is fully compliant with any public health order and yet delivers something that is compelling to locals and victors alike.”
So while the concert series “as we know it” will not live on this summer, Abello said, Snowmass is trying to figure out how to still offer music on Thursday nights in a way that is safe and respects public health protocols.
For the organizers of other Snowmass staples, like the 47-year-old rodeo, changing course to offer a compromised product proved unfeasible.
Darce Vold, executive director of the Snowmass Western Heritage Association that produces the rodeo, said Tuesday that the group had initially planned to alter the weekly event to comply with public health restrictions.
The association, however, ultimately decided that producing a family oriented event that attracts 1,000-1,800 patrons (many of whom are children) without detracting from the overall experience is impossible.
Looking to the hundreds of families and children running around the rodeo grounds, Vold said, “It was just difficult to try and piece it all together where those people could come and enjoy themselves like they have in the past.
“And we really didn’t want to lower our standard because it’s taken a long time for us to get here.”
Although opening to a mere fraction of its normal audience size also did not make sense financially, Vold said “it’s more than the money” and reiterated the importance of preserving the reputation of the Snowmass Rodeo.
“It’s a very difficult time, and it was a hard decision, but it had to come to this,” he said. The Snowmass Western Heritage Association board made the final call at a Monday night meeting.
At a different Snowmass-area ranch, the folks at Anderson Ranch have transformed nearly 60 of the arts nonprofit’s more than 150 workshops into virtual offerings.
One of the ranch’s most popular summer events, the “Featured Artists and Conversations” series, as well as its annual Recognition Dinner, the nonprofit’s biggest fundraiser of the year, will be online.
But in some semblance of normalcy, the ranch’s five-acre campus will be able to host some limited, in-person “art-making experiences,” Anderson Ranch director of marketing and communications Katherine Roberts said Tuesday.
“It won’t be the traditional offering,” Roberts said, “but there will be art-making on campus this summer.”