Gangs of friends on the hill. Drinks and meal after. One of the things I’ve always loved about skiing is the social aspect. Best memories of rat pack days in Aspen include apre glisse dinners at long gone La Cocina restaurant, where everything on the menu tasted the same — and you loved everything from the number 2 to the number 9 so long as the server distracted you. North American backcountry skiing has the social, but normally nothing like apre resort-ski happy hour. We like that — it’s the low-key aspect of ski touring compared to resort frenzy that keeps us returning to the wild. But once in a while you feel the need to party like you were at La Co’ in 1999. So let the festival begin — only burn off some calories first!
Dynafit understands the need to party, and how we North American ski alpinists sometimes get lonely after days of human isolation in our vast and underpopulated backcountry. Solution? Organize a series of uphill “snow scene socials” that yield a squirt of endorphins from a hike — subsequent reward being snacks, drinks and dinner at a mountain restaurant that’s just the right amount of vertical feet up the resort pistes for a moderate workout before consuming mass quantities. Along with that, it doesn’t hurt Dynafit’s PR to help get events like this going, hence their pioneering leadership in the field of North American uphill party expertise. Check it out. (As for the name “Nacthspektakel,” I’ve never heard it in Europe but whatever, it means “night spectacle” in German and refers to how the jumbo jet landing light equipped mob of semi-stoned backcountry skiers look as they descend the mountain.)
Thanks to Aspen Expeditions guide service for helping organize the event and keeping us all safe. Also, the Petzl extreme beam Ultra headlamps they loaned out were key. If you haven’t done it yet, try night skiing with a super bright headlamp — fun is a weak word for the experience. Aspen Skiing Company was key as well. They’re hip to uphilling, look for much more in terms of rando races and cool uphill resort routes over coming seasons. Oh, and perhaps the most important part of the whole experience? Lots of you guys in the backcountry skiing world probably know Dick Jackson, owner of Aspen Expeditions, dad, climber, and all around nice guy. You might also know Dick was in a brutal paragliding accident about six months ago and been in and out of hospital since. It looks like Dick is finally out of the woods with his healing, and while he wasn’t quite able to do the uphill on skis, he was present and accounted for at the start and the finish and seemed to really enjoy being with his people. We’ve all been pulling for Dick, praying for him, encouraging him on Facebook etc., thus really really nice to see you up there Mr. Jackson!
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.