In a place like Aspen where each of the four seasons is as spectacular as the last, each with their own unique attributes, celebrating the turn of those seasons is a must. But there is a turning of one particular season that surpasses them all... ski season. So when the final bullwheel of the final lift spins its final turn, celebration is in order. And with four unique mountains that comprise Aspen Snowmass, four unique celebrations are also in order.


From locals to enjoying their first full season in Aspen to hardened long-time residents to visitors simply wanting to partake in the festivities, the four closing day celebrations offer something for everyone.Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands both shut down for the season on April 8th. Buttermilk, however, gets things going a little earlier.Chronologically speaking, the closing day party at Buttermilk gets underway first.

Red Bull Homerun

Buttermilk | Saturday, April 7

The concept is easy: Sprint for your skis or your snowboard, throw yourself down the marked course and finish at this year's biggest apres ski party. Study the map until you know it like the back of your hand! The after party for Red Bull Homerun will be the best party Buttermilk has ever seen. Swing by Bumps for epic music by DJ Naka G and DJ DC, great guys & girls, awesome drinks and the best atmosphere on the planet. Everyone who wears a race bib gets into Bumps. If you're not in the race, you'll want to be to be there early to get in, it's not called the best after-ski of the year because it's empty...

Bacon Appreciation Day & Fueled By Bacon Sizzle Uphill

Buttermilk | Sunday, April 8

A few years ago, Bacon Appreciation Day was introduced to the closing day festivities at Buttermilk and it’s still going strong. And with Bacon being a breakfast food, and the early bird generally getting the tastiest worm, people start to stream into the Tiehack and Main Buttermilk parking lots just before 8am on this final Sunday of the season.

One reason for the early arrivals is the annual uphill race that kicks off at 8am. Buttermilk is a favorite for uphillers all season long with the shortest and least steep uphill route of all four mountains. Additionally, the route is open all day long, even when the lifts are running, and it spends most of the day drenched in sunlight. Not to mention, the delicious food waiting at the top at the Cliffhouse restaurant is a strong motivator. So dedicating a portion of the closing day celebration at Buttermilk to uphill skiing feels very appropriate.


The “Fueled By Bacon Sizzle Up” race will see a few serious racers, but it’s mainly designed to be fun and prizes are awarded to not only the fastest individual but to the fastest family, best costume, and the “Center Cut” — whomever finishes dead middle.


In addition to the race — that ends with a yummy bacon waffle breakfast for racers and spectators alike and starts serving at 9am at the Cliffhouse — various types of bacon samples will be served all around the mountain starting at 11am until it runs out including bacon wrapped scallops at the top of the Summit Express chair, Applewood smoked bacon at the top of the West Buttermilk chair, Canadian bacon at the No Problem Cabin and BLT sliders provided by Home Team BBQ at the bottom of the Summit, just to name a few.


To finish off the fun at Buttermilk, face painting, games, s’mores, live music, hot tubs and drink specials as wells as eats such as bacon cheddar kettle corn and bacon Brie will be going on from 1 to 5pm down at the base.

Aspen Highlands Closing

Aspen Highlands | April 8

The Aspen Highlands closing day party has traditionally been one of the rowdiest. Champagne spraying at Cloud Nine, rockin’ DJs at Highlands Ale House and of course the final bowl hike celebrated at the top of the bowl have all been a part of the action.

While the beloved Schneetag is usually part of the madness, the 10th annual Schneetag event is moving to Snowmass the following weekend, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of fun to be had at Highlands, in fact, one could argue this helps spread the fun around.

It’s a right of passage in Aspen to hike the famed Highland Bowl. 700 vertical feet of boot pack brings you to an elevation of 12,382 feet and some of the most spectacular vistas around. And every closing day, a celebration of the bowl and the closing of the season takes place with costumes, adult beverages and group skis from the tippy top down to the Deep Temerity lift. Taking the bowl to either Cloud Nine to spray a little champagne or straight to the bottom for dancing and pizza at Highlands Ale House will create the perfect Aspen Highlands closing day celebration.


Make sure you get lots of sleep the next week because the following weekend is going to be party central at Aspen Mountain and Snowmass.

Aspen Mountain Closing Day

Aspen Mountain | April 15

Sunday, April 15th marks the final day of lift access for Aspen Mountain. Locals will be out in force to ski together through the slush with stops at the legendary Boyd’s Bump for an informal big air contest off the natural feature, Buckhorn’s Cabin for the annual Aspen 82 season finale party, an 80's Prom themed party at the Sundeck and of course, Ajax Tavern until last call.

We're throwing it all the way back to the 80's to celebrate Aspen Mountain Closing Day at the Sundeck. Pull that old prom dress out of the closet and start brushing up on your favorite 80's lyrics. We'll be crowning a prom King and Queen so show up dressed to impress! Popular Colorado 80's cover band, The Goonies will be playing at the Sundeck from 12-3pm.

This year, Ajax Tavern is hosting La Ultimate Fiesta from 11:30am until 5:30pm complete with a band flown in all the way from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico — Mala Rumba from 2pm - 5:30pm. Drink specials including $4 draft beer, $8 wine by the glass and an $8 specialty cocktail will be served and food will be available a la carte from stations serving Ajax's famous double cheeseburger, pork carnitas, and shrimp tacos.

Elk Camp Surf & Snow Beach Party

Snowmass | April 14

More festivities at Snowmass complete the final closing weekend. Aspen Snowmass has a two-day line-up slated. On Saturday, April 14, the second annual Surf & Snow Beach Party gets underway at Elk Camp at 11:30am. With hot tubs, dueling DJs, and bikes that blend margaritas allowing guests to work off they imbibe, the party will feel tropical indeed. To add to the warm weather vibe, be sure to wear your bathing suit under your outerwear or costume, because when the party wraps at 3:45am everyone skis down to the bottom in only their beach attire.

Schneetag

Snowmass | April 15

Sunday the 15th is the final day of operation for Snowmass and as such, lots of great events for spectators and participants alike will be going off under the sun. First, Schneetag , in all it’s glory gets underway at noon. Schneetag is a contest where teams of four create a craft they pilot down a slope and attempt to float across a 20-by-50 foot pond.

Schneetag is the German word for "snow day." But as we like to say, it translates to "daredevils willing to propel themselves down a hill, over a jump and across a pond on a craft they built themselves.” The teams must dress up and complete a skit prior to flying across the pond. Individual skiers and snowboarders will also be able to take a try at the pond skim. More fun and shenanigans have never been had or seen. It’s truly an Aspen institution.

SMITH Optics Grudge Match

Snowmass | April 15

Following the completion of Schneetag at 2pm, the Smith Optics Grudge Match kicks off. The Grudge Match is a snowboard only rail jam. The contest series has been around for many years and travels to various resorts around the country. Snowmass closing day is a perfect place to revive it here in Aspen. Competitors will spin the “trick wheel” to determine what trick will be performed by all 32 contestants.

A panel of celebrity judges will pick their favorites to determine a top 8 for the final jam. The winner will take home $1000 and a pair of Smith Optics I/O goggles. Both Schneetag and the Grudge Match take place at Spider Sabich Picnic Palace so putting up a lawn chair and enjoying the music and drink specials will make for a celebratory afternoon.

No matter what closing day celebration you attend, or if you make it to all four, ski seasons are always meant to be celebrated. So grab a friend, or twenty, or make some new ones while you grab the last laps of the 2017/2018 season.


Published April 2018

About the Author

Nicole Birkhold
Nicole Birkhold

NICOLE BIRKHOLD

With nothing but a pair of skis and a journalism degree from Michigan State University, Nicole headed west looking for mountains, snow, and someone to pay her to put words to paper. She found the writing gig in Freeskier Magazine for ten years, but needed to be closer to the mountains to she packed it up and came to Aspen where she still crafts words but with more time on the snow.