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Aspen Winterskol

Aspen Kicks Off 2019 with Wintersköl

Wintersköl, Aspen's annual "toast to winter," dates back to a quiet January in 1951 when local Aspenites decided to celebrate Aspen's unique Nordic lifestyle with an eclectic weekend of festivities. Book a room at the Molly Gibson Lodge now for the weekend and get the best rate guarantee for this and other winter events in Aspen!

Sköl is an interjection, a good strong word used by happy, sturdy Norsemen for toasting good times, good health and a good drink. In the spirit of this word, Aspen Wintersköl was born in the 1950’s to celebrate Aspen’s Nordic heritage and all things winter. January 10-13, coming in hot on the heels of a fabulous holiday season, this annual celebration is a feel-good festival devoted to idolizing Aspen’s signature season of winter.

Now in its 68th year, Wintersköl is the brainchild of Jack DePagter (former owner of the Holland House) who, in January 1952, grappled with the annual slowdown that happened in the weeks following the holidays. He devised a plan to create a European ski resort-style winter carnival to celebrate Aspen’s Nordic heritage and bring guests to Aspen during this January lull. The carnival was an immediate success and blossomed into the now four-day festival. There are dozens of events and options in store for Wintersköl 2019; here is a breakdown of what’s happening and what not to miss!

Anderson Ranch Arts Center Wintersculpt

A highlight of the weekend, ongoing from 1/10 - 1/12, is Wintersculpt snow sculpture competition, hosted by Anderson Ranch Arts Center. Competitors have a 48-hour window to construct and craft snow sculpture from an 8’ square cube of snow on the Aspen pedestrian mall. Walk by periodically to see the progress of these fantastic displays as young and old compete for prize money and the coveted Wintersculpt title! For more information and to register visit the Anderson Ranch website.

Apple Strudel Downhill

On Friday, 1/11, from 10:30am to noon, this free event encourages riders of all ages to zip down the Apple Strudel Trail at Aspen Highlands in a goodhearted downhill with a hearty treat at the finish.

Sundown at the Sundeck

Head on up the Silver Queen Gondola on Friday at dusk for Sundown at the Sundeck! This family friendly event features a bonfire and s’mores, a live DJ, and plenty of fun for the kids. The first ride up is at 5pm and the last ride down is at 9pm. Food and drinks will be available à la carte until 8:30pm. $10 gondola passes may be purchased in advance or day-of at the Aspen Mountain ticket office, open until 8pm that evening.

Canine Fashion Show

Perhaps the favorite, but definitely the furriest, event of the 4-day carnival is the Canine Fashion Show presented by Aspen’s own pet friendly hotels, Molly Gibson Lodge and Hotel Aspen. The cuddly event embraces canine couture and grooming, as dog owners go all out to show off their four-legged friends in all their Aspen style. Dog owners dress up as well as their pets, making for some very entertaining people watching. The event begins at 1pm on Saturday 1/12. Registration is free and can be completed on-site an hour before the competition on the Cooper Avenue Mall.

AVSC Rail Jam

Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club will host a Rail Jam in Wagner Park on Saturday 1/12 from 5-7pm. Registration will take place from 4-5pm. More information and registration can be found on the AVSC website.

The Wintersköl Snowcoming Bonfire

Join the Aspen Chamber Resort Association and the Aspen Fire Department for a celebratory bonfire in Wagner Park on Saturday at 7pm featuring DJ Naka G, the U.S. Air Force Academy Drum & Bugle Corps, free food and plenty of fun! A torchlight decent and fireworks display will follow on Aspen Mountain at 8pm. Free and open to the public!

More Events

Several local organizations and businesses participate in the Wintersköl festivities with their own schedules of celebratory events. The Aspen Art Museum will celebrate the opening of Margaret Kilgallen: That’s Where the Beauty is and Nina Katchadourian: Twitchers and Cheaters on Friday at 5:30pm. Or bring the kids to a free Family Workshop at the Aspen Art Museum on Saturday morning. The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies will also host Naturalist Nights on Thursday featuring Close-up Stores from The Trinidad Rainforest presented by Ray Mendez.

Live music and theater abound in Aspen all four days of Winterskol.At the Wheeler Opera House enjoy Aspen History 101 with the Aspen Historical Society, a screening of the film ‘Aspen Extreme’, the Popovich Comedy Pet Theatre, or a performance by musician Liz Vice. The JAS Café will be in full swing with two performances by Sammy Miller & The Congregation. And Aspen’s favorite live music club, Belly Up, rocks it with lively concerts by Opiuo, The Motet, Black Pistol Fire, and Desert Dwellers.

Believe it or not, this is only a sampling of all the creative events scheduled for this monumental winter weekend in Aspen! A complete schedule of events is available on the Aspen Chamber Resort Association website.

For information about Aspen and the best deals on hotel rooms, look no further than the Molly Gibson Lodge. Check out our lodging specials and book a room today in our authentic Aspen ski lodge.