This blog comes to Colorado Ski Country from Kristen Lummis, creator of BraveSkiMom.com.
When I think of family reunions, I think of BBQs, lawn games, volleyball and lots of laughter. I think of groups of friends and relatives playing together, chatting together and enjoying some uninterrupted time together.
Then I think of all the work.
In late July, my sons and I took the Elk Camp Gondola up to Elk Camp at Snowmass. We boarded at about 4:00 p.m., discs in hand to play one of two on mountain disc golf courses.
When we got to the top, I realized I’d just found my next family reunion.
Getting off the gondola the first thing I saw were groups of adults and children playing lawn games in the sun. Volleyball was underway, folks were dangling off the climbing wall and the bar-be-que was fired up and ready to grill. Comfy chairs on the patio were filled with families, enjoying an afternoon beverage, listening to a band, and talking and laughing together.
No one was doing any work.
The occasion? Valhalla Nights at Snowmass.
Goodbye Ullr. Hello Valhalla.
If you visited Snowmass on a Friday this past winter, you may have journeyed up the gondola on a Friday night for Ullr Nights, a dining, drinking, tubing, skating and sliding extravaganza (with a fire show). This summer, Snowmass has extended the fun again with Valhalla Nights, a five hour window of fun under the late day Friday sun.
In the summer, Ullr, being the Norse God of snow, is nowhere to be seen, but the twilight sun descending upon the mountains provides plenty of drama and light…and the perfect way to kick off a mountain weekend.
For $10 per adult or $5 per child (up to age 12) or season ticket holders, families and friends can take the gondola up to Elk Camp between 4:00 and 9:00 p.m. to enjoy drinks, dinner, live music and all the lawn games you can handle. Within just a short walk is a well-stocked fishing pond and two disc golf courses.
Best of all, for the adventurous among you, the gondola-served downhill bike trails at Bike Snowmass are also open late, with the last upload at 8:30.
While lots of the activities are geared toward smaller children and younger families, my teenagers were pleasantly (and competitively) occupied playing ping pong and foosball before we started hiking down the mountain.
Hiking down, we bypassed the winding and wooded 2 mile trail, in favor of throwing (and loosing) heavy plastic discs on the mountain’s downhill course. While the holes were fairly straightforward, progressing more or less under the gondola and adjacent to the downhill biking trails, the grass was tall and treacherous.
I was happy that I’d followed teenage boys down the mountain, yet I would have been just as happy, sitting in the sun, cocktail in hand, listening to music and enjoying a warm summer night, at a family reunion, where no one is related but everyone is among friends.
When You Go…
Valhalla Nights happens three more times this summer, August 16, 23 and 30. A casual, relaxed way to spend an evening, you’ll be happy just hanging out on the deck, playing games and listening to music. I am told however, that the downhill biking, as the air cools and the light falls, is magical.
And, even if you don’t bike on Friday night, try to fit in an “ABCs” of Downhill Biking Clinic. After a morning of instruction, my family and I were ready to take on another Valhalla: Snowmass’ premier downhill freeride trail designed and built by Gravity Logic. Don’t miss it.