Skimming across this weekend’s to-do list
with Cynthia McCoy, This Side of Berthoud
It’s Spring Splash time for the Winter Park Resort and that means there are more than a few exciting things going on this weekend in the Fraser Valley. And believe it or not, all the music performances are free!
This year’s Saturday concert at the ski area base includes local bluegrass band Hunker Down, followed by the Rick Lewis Project, and rounds out with Michael Franti and Spearhead! Music tunes in around noon.
Just a walking distance north of there (WPR base), local-based Grateful Dead tribute band Built to Last kicks off a long-strange trip down memory lane and annual reunion show at Adolf’s Event Center Saturday night (5 p.m.). Members include past local firefighters who played in band Backdraft, and several talented professionals who have worked with the East Grand School District.
The Acoustic Eels (Dave Percival on drums, Bruce Glazer on guitar, and Walter Holland on sax and flute, and featuring international bass player Andy Irvine) electrify the crowds at the Crooked Creek Saloon in Fraser Saturday and Sunday night (for the After-Splash Bash), starting at 8 p.m.
Then, save some energy girls and boys. You’ve got to lean back so you can keep your tips up for Sunday.
Winter Park Resort presents its famous annual pond skim Spring Splash event around noon on Larry Sale trail, where about 100 contestants and thrill-seekers from around the area negotiate an obstacle course (on skis or snowboard) down to a pond-skim challenge. Some do it for the cash and prizes available, most do it because it’s fun, and have made it an annual tradition. (One of the long-running top male racers has joked he’s retired for a bit to give other guys a chance).
This is a much-anticipated event each year, and started about half a century ago at WPR. I know people who plan out their costume all year. It’s a celebration of a good snow year / season, includes other various activities, and inspires even those in the audience and on the hill to wear festive outfits.
Meanwhile, on the “Jane side,” locals buzz in and out of the Corona Lot at Mary Jane ski area 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Friends and neighbors (and new friends) take breaks from the hill to have lunch and compare ski/board tallies. Many take it pretty seriously, and camp overnight Saturday to ensure their spot for what is essentially last day of the season (this will not be Mary Jane’s last dance though; she is staying open a week later this year).
An all-day musical collaboration of local musicians provides the live entertainment. Previous performances have included Andy Straus and Hunker Down, Andy and Kay Irvine, Gary Key, Adam Lynam, Electric Breakfast, Jed Henry and the Bailouts, Adam Lynam, Scott Torello, Matt “Hippy” Petty, Robbie Gonzales, Mike Turner and Red Dirt Hill, Chris “Pops” Popovich, Jessica Love Jones, Weston Smith, Jobi Riccio, and more.
Dedicated organizers set up a temporary stage (thanks to donations like Indian Peaks Rental) and play all kinds of musical selections. There are new ensembles almost every hour, and it’s a good place to see sit-ins with other musicians and spontaneous jams. There’s usually a tip jar on the flatbed stage to kick in for the production, which usually goes on snow or shine.
It can snow, blow, hail, rain and shine this weekend, as Mother Nature has showed us in many years past. I advise making special preparation regarding clothing, (especially shoe wear), to wear sunscreen, stay hydrated, and to party responsibly. It’s springtime in the Colorado Rockies; it can and will do just about anything weather-wise, and the parking lots can be mud pits.
Also, with parking mostly packed the way it is usually, riding the bus is a blessed option.
Freelance journalist Cynthia McCoy
Local journalist Cynthia McCoy inspires to cover any and all art forms in Grand County (culinary, performance, media, and musical). She grew up in Hot Sulphur Springs and worked for Grand County Publishing (Sky-Hi News, Winter Park Manifest, Middle Park Times, and daily tribunes) for almost a decade. Her current passions flow freely into This Side of Berthoud, a division of Slopeside Productions. There is a calendar updated daily on its FaceBook page, and the company is currently putting together a third compilation CD.