By Neill Pieper
Ski in and out will have a whole new meaning this February at Steamboat Ski Resort. Envision yourself carving wide turns through leafless aspen trees and across Champagne powder slopes straight into Steamboat Springs. Kick off your skis, take a few steps through the base area and looming before your eyes are your next two favorite things: bluegrass music and craft libations.
For three days this winter, Steamboat Resort hosts the WinterWonderGrass festival, just steps from the slopes. The annual party celebrates bluegrass music, craft beer, spirits, food and a plethora of outdoor offerings.
Pop-up jam-sessions on the slopes and workshops at the base area make for an immersive experience at this year’s reinvigorated festival.
The fest, now in its fifth year, will make its debut in Steamboat Springs Feb. 24-26. While the festival has been mountain-town based in Vail in previous years, the WinterWonderGrass team wanted a more “on-mountain” feel. Founder Scotty Stoughton said, “The move to Steamboat allows us to realize our original vision of a truly integrated music and mountain experience with on-mountain events and a festival site next to the ski hill.”
Colorado-born bands Leftover Salmon and Elephant Revival will be joined by the Infamous Stringdusters and Railroad Earth as headliners. Blues performers The California Honeydrops, bluegrass legend Sam Bush, and the North Carolina sextet known as the Steep Canyon Rangers are exciting additions to a cast of 25 bands set to play.
But the weekend offers more than just music and skiing. The festival is host to 20 breweries, a hard-cider booth and craft spirits from Breckenridge Distillery. While the libations themselves will lend a hand against cold weather, beer tents will be heated and host live music in between main sets. Lucky VIPs will be treated to a special beer release from event sponsor Great Divide.
One thing is for certain: Coloradans and visitors alike love the crossover between outdoor activities, craft beer and Colorado’s other great scene – live music. Those lines will intersect in Steamboat Springs this winter. So, if you are lucky enough to get a ticket, make your way up to the northwest part of the state and check out what looks to be an unparalleled winter wonderland get-down.
When he’s not in a brewery or on the mountain, Neill Pieper works on marketing and digital media for Thirst Colorado.