For many of us, ski season is more than just fresh corduroy and how many days you had on the slopes. It’s about camaraderie, beer with friends after a day on the hill, and of course, music.
Music events bring us together at the end of the day and sometimes well into the night, while listening to our favorite songs while skiing can really get us into the zone.
But with new artists constantly emerging and events happening weekly throughout the Northeast, keeping up can be as difficult as ripping down the hill with your ski racer friend whose line is as straight as his (or her) ski poles.
That’s why New England Ski Journal has compiled a list of some music events happening in New England ski country as well as samples of what others are listening to out on the hill.
Music for the hill
First of all, there is no right or wrong song, artist or genre that you should or shouldn’t be listening to on the way to or at the hill. Everyone has their own style, and that’s the way it should be.
Jamie Storrs, senior director of communications for Peak Resorts, starts his day with a pre-sunrise skin up while listening to one of a variety of podcasts. But once he’s ready to ski, his music choice depends on the conditions.
“If it’s a powder day, I tend to default to ‘Rubin & Cherise’ by The Grateful Dead or ‘Half Moon Rising’ by Yonder Mountain String Band,” says Storrs. “If it’s a groomer morning, then I tend to go for ‘Classic’ by The Knocks, or Chvrches ‘Empty Threat’ (Big Wild Remix).”
Ian Ferguson, who runs a New England-focused adventure magazine called Wild Northeast, gets straight to business with a mix of funky, driving beats, flowy hip-hop and reggae. If you catch Ferguson on the hill with his ear buds in, chances are he’ll be listening to Vulfpeck, Toots and the Maytals, The Roots, Black Star or Phantogram, to name a few.
For Andrew Drummond, owner of Ski the Whites and a New Hampshire-based athlete, the alternative rock indie band Rainbow Kitten Surprise is the obvious answer. Anything by Crooked Colours, and the tune “Mind on Fire” — the Franz Matthews remix — also gets Drummond psyched while searching for the perfect line.
Mike Wallace, co-founder of Parlor Skis, likes to focus pretty heavily on the jam bands, in true mountain-town fashion.
“My playlist tends to be heavy on the jam bands,” Wallace notes. “Right now that means Railroad Earth, followed by a steady stream of The Dead, with a smattering of Pat Green and Waylon Jennings for a little rural flavor. But I’m also mixing in some Wu-Tang and Tupac just to keep things interesting.”
New England ski country events
There is no shortage of music events in New England ski country. Walk into any resort bar on a weekend and chances are there will be some sort of live music taking place. Here are a few things to look out for this season.
Killington | During Thanksgiving weekend, Killington will again be hosting the World Cup, drawing the best women’s technical alpine skiers in the world. There will be a variety of events happening throughout the weekend, including movie screenings and concerts. Among the artists performing are Grace Potter, Twiddle, DJ Logic and Recycled Percussion.
Loon | If you’re looking to spend New Year’s Eve at a ski resort, Loon Mountain will be a great choice. The resort will be hosting a party in the Paul Bunyan Room that will feature a DJ, midnight champagne toast and snacks.
Sunday River | This year, Sunday River will be celebrating its 60th birthday with a variety of events and festivities during Winterfest, set for Dec. 13-15. In addition to night skiing, a tap takeover, a torchlight parade and fireworks, the Foggy Goggle will be featuring live entertainment on Saturday night.
Attitash | On April 4, Ptarmigans Pub at Attitash will be hosting Motor Booty Affair, the unofficial “ultimate disco party band.” The band (and many of their fans) dress up in their finest 1970s afros and attire while performing classics from Earth, Wind and Fire, The Bee Gees, Barry White and more. Don’t be surprised to see your fair share of bell-bottoms on the slopes when Motor Booty Affair is in town.
Sugarloaf | Each year, Sugarloaf celebrates the end of a great season with Reggae Fest, which is often filled with spring corn, sunshine, local beers, and, of course, reggae. In 2020, the event will take place from April 9-1. It’s one of (if not the) biggest parties in the East.
Stratton | Wondergrass presents Sugar and Strings might be one of Stratton’s biggest events each year, drawing renowned bluegrass and folk bands to help celebrate spring. Taking place April 10-11 this season, guests will enjoy performances by Cabinet, The Infamous Stringdusters, Molly Tuttl, and more.
Mount Snow | While Sugarloaf might have one of the biggest ski-related reggae festivals in the East, it’s not the only one. On March 20-22, Mount Snow will host its own Reggae Fest, also featuring an outdoor party at the base area on Saturday.