Labor Day signifies the waning of summer and the welcoming of fall. Although winter seems to raring her head with six-inches of hail in parts of Colorado recently, there’s still time to enjoy a little summer fun at some of the best Colorado mountain resorts. Whether it’s attending a music fest, washing down an afternoon’s worth of competition chili with local craft beer, taking a ride in a vintage aircraft or just getting out and enjoying a scenic hike or bike ride, here are a few end-of-summer events throughout Colorado’s ski country.
The Jazz Aspen Snowmass Festival, features three days of world-class concerts on multiple stages, eclectic food, beverage vendors, and more. This year’s acts include Jason Mraz, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Keith Urban, Train, Little Big Town, Journey, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Colorado’s own Paper Bird.
Oyster lovers, both via surf and TURF, listen up. Adventurous eaters will convene at the foot of Aspen Mountain for the second annual Rocky Mountain Oyster Festival and Barbecue, hosted by The Little Nell. This is treat that might take a little time to warm up to as Rocky Mountain oysters are a clever name for bull testicles. This all-you-can-eat/drink event will feature conventional oysters on the half shell, Rockefeller oysters and other creative oyster hors d’oeuvres like the famed Rocky Mountain Oyster.
Kenny Rogers is in the news these days more for his extreme plastic surgery than for his musical talent, but how can you not still love to hear him croon his classics like “Lady” and the “Gambler”? At the Copper Country Fest going on during Labor Day weekend, the lineup also includes Savannah Jack, The Long Players, Michael McDonald and Texaco Country Showdown. The fest is free and located at Copper Mountain, 20 miles east of Vail.
Are you a speed demon on two wheels? You’re in luck. On Sunday, September 8, Crested Butte Mountain Resort will host the annual Gravity Slave Downhill Mountain Bike Race, now a pure downhill format with a $2,000 cash purse for the winners of the Open Pro Class.
After you’ve worked up a serious appetite, head over to Mt. Crested Butte’s annual Chili and Beer Festival taking place September 7 and 8, 2013. Breweries from throughout the southwest will be on hand with their finest brews to take the heat off the chili prepared by Crested Butte locals. In addition to beer & chili tasting, attendees will be able to enjoy live music while taking in the beautiful backdrop of Mt. Crested Butte.
As an added bonus, during the entire month of September, save 20% on any lodging in Crested Butte. Stay in Crested Butte and enjoy the brilliant changing of the aspen groves and cottonwood trees into golden yellows, radiant oranges and dazzling reds.
Durango Mountain Resort
Although Durango Mountain Resort isn’t having a Labor Day event, it is offering some pretty sweet deals including some pretty cool outdoor adventures offered until September 29, like a new ropes obstacle course, new water runners, mountain biking, hiking, scenic chairlift rides, an alpine slide, climbing wall, bungee trampolines and more.
Summer Last Hurrah packages starting at $38 per person, per night, which includes two nights lodging and Total Adventure tickets for the entire family.
Labor Day weekend in Steamboat is buzzing with activities. On Friday, August 30, Colorado native musician Zach Heckendorf takes the stage at Gondola Square with his rich, hip-hop influenced acoustic-driven sound. On Saturday, August 31, the Steamboat Stage will host Skyfall, the latest installment in the James Bond film series featuring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and Javier Bardem.
On Saturday, August 31 and Sunday, September 1, the Wild West Air Fest will bring a vintage and warbird static aircraft display, classic cars, radio controlled airplane shows and much more. If we went, we’d definitely be purchasing a ticket for a flight in one of the World War II Navy bombers.
Don your boots and hats because the Professional Bull Riding circuit comes to Steamboat on Sept. 1 with the Rocky Mountain Bull Bash. This thrilling event pushes cowboys’ skills to their limit as they take on top-ranked bulls to compete for a big cash prize.
Whiskey and wings? Now you’re talking our lingo. On Saturday, September 7, The Village at Winter Park is hosting the Whiskey & Wings Festival, featuring some of the best whiskey and wings in Colorado. Local restaurants will be presenting their finest chicken wings in a variety of styles and flavors, with a contest for best chicken wings. While washing down those finger-lickin’ wings with whiskey tastings, you can enjoy live music from local bands.
More Colorado Adventure Ideas
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Photos courtesy of respective resorts and whiskey photo courtesy of Stranahan’s.