Aspen/Snowmass are no strangers to crowd-drawing events throughout the calendar. But summer offers a special kind of magic in these Colorado mountain towns, with a stacked gamut of outdoor concerts, parades, attractions, and sporting events. Here, a few recommended selections that feature Rocky Mountain vistas, local brews, and live music: all essentials for creating an amazing summer in Aspen Snowmass.
1. Aspen’s Old-Fashioned 4th of July Celebration
Aspen does Independence Day up right with its charming Old-Fashioned 4th of July Celebration , kicking off with a colorful procession featuring Aspen’s businesses, nonprofits, summer camps, and organizations starting at 11 am. Parade floats range from handmade crafts to vintage cars and trucks and even a cavalcade of Western horses. Parade participation is free, but registration is mandatory. Depending on weather and fire levels, Aspen puts on a spectacular fireworks display over Aspen Mountain at 9:20 pm.
2. Colorado Wanderlust Festival
Over the 4th of July weekend, from July 2–5, 2015, the Colorado Wanderlust Festival takes over Snowmass Village. Wanderlust brings together exceptional yoga and meditation instructors, musicians, speakers, artists, and chefs from around the world to one of Colorado’s most beautiful resorts. Outdoor yoga and meditation classes range from traditional practices to modern fusion yoga, like SUP Yoga and AiReal Yoga. Guided morning hikes, on-mountain yoga around Snowmass Mountain, and downhill mountain biking on Snowmass Bike Park are also popular activities during Wanderlust. In the evening, free outdoor concerts take over the Fanny Hill area. Musical performances in 2015 include Lee Fields & The Expressions, High & Mighty Brass Band! and Moby DJ, The SteelDrivers and Nikki Lane.
3. Bluegrass Sundays atop Aspen Mountain
Every Sunday from June 21–September 6, Aspen Mountain’s Sundeck hosts top bluegrass musicians from around Colorado. If you don't want to pay for a gondola ride to the mountain's summit, opt to hike up the mountain via Ute Trail or Ajax Trail . As you listen to the knee-slapping music, enjoy a cold Colorado beer and take in the stunning vista of the Elk Mountains from the Sundeck’s exceptional vantage point. Another bonus? The open-air concerts, which run from 12-3 pm, are free.
4. Snowmass' Free Thursday Concert Series
Thursdays from June 25–August 13, Snowmass Village provides the perfect setting for enjoying music and Rocky Mountain sunsets. Since 1994, Snowmass Village and Jazz Aspen Snowmass have been coming together to bring the public free outdoor concerts featuring everything from reggae to classical jazz. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and pack a picnic, as food is allowed in the fenced in area (no booze, but adult beverages will be available for purchase). Dogs and their owners have a designated area on the hillside above Woodrun V.
5. Audi Power of Four Trail Race
From July 18–19, 2015, professional and amateur trail running athletes and teams make their way to Aspen to test their mettle on a 50K ultra race that covers all four mountains, which ascends 9,600 feet and descends 9,300 feet. The weekend also features a 22K trail run and a Vertical K race. The races begin at the base of Aspen and finish at Snowmass.
6. Audi Power of Four Mountain Bike Race
On August 1, the Audi Power of Four Mountain Bike Race attracts local, national, and international bikers to challenge themselves on a 33-mile singletrack trail race along all four Aspen Snowmass mountains. Featuring about 9,000 feet of vertical gain and loss, the Audi Power of Four Mountain Bike Race has quickly become a renowned challenge in the world of mountain biking in its five-year history. New for 2015, participants can sign up for 17-mile race that covers the first two mountains of the route, Snowmass and Buttermilk, which includes the famed Government Trail .
7. Saturday Classical Music atop Aspen Mountain
Every Saturday at 1 pm throughout July and August, savor free classical musical performed by students of the famous Aspen Music Festival & School at the top of Aspen Mountain. The performance area sits in a 11,000-foot alpine meadow overlooking Mount Hayden. Bring a picnic (or build one at the Sundeck) and a lawn chair and take in the unforgettable sights and sounds.
8. Red Bull Rise
The inaugural 12-hour endurance running race, Red Bull Rise , is set to attract professional runners from around the world to compete in solo, duo, and team events. The race will be held on August 2 on Aspen Mountain and features of 3,000 vertical gain over three miles. At the end of the 12 hours, the runners with the most laps will win. Be sure to hang out at the base of Aspen Mountain during the race to see this impressive feat of athleticism in person.
9. Chautauqua Aspen
On August 29 and 30, the Aspen Historical Society will host Chautaqua Aspen , full of discussions, panels, and presentations focusing on how the mountains have shaped and attracted a community of athletic and hardy people. From the Ute Indians to silver miners to today's professional athletes that call Aspen home, the town's surrounding peaks have tempted and inspired people to climb higher and explore further for centuries. The event will be held in a Chautauqua format, outdoors on the grounds of the historic Wheeler/Stoddard building.
10. Mudderella Colorado
On August 22, Mudderella — a women-only event that features 12-15 obstacles over a 5-7 mile course — descends on Snowmass. Registration is currently $109 and jumps to $140 day-of. If you're intrigued by the idea of running, crawling, scrambling, balancing, and shuffling your way to a guaranteed good (and muddy) time, this is one not to miss.
11. MountainSummit: Mountainfilm in Aspen
A collaboration between the renowned Mountainfilm in Telluride program and Aspen’s Wheeler Opera House, the Mountainfilm in Aspen , from August 27-30, showcases a host of mountain-centric documentaries and films, as well as discussions from thought leaders, artists, activists, athletes, and adventurers. Keep an eye out for tickets, which go on sale in mid-July.