Vail Snow Daze 2011 – Sunshine, Spread Eagles and Sweet, Sweet Music.

          Vail was brimming with excitement this weekend as they kicked off this year’s series of Snow Daze free concerts in the village with Guster, performing at Solaris on Thursday night.  Despite the temperatures, the guys threw everything they had at any and all who had braved the cold and put on a rockin’ high energy performance, showcasing their new found ability as a four-piece with the addition of multi-instrumentalist Joe Pisapia.  Can you really go wrong with a Bud-Light sponsored weekend of free music?
           Friday proved to be a beautiful bluebird day as the resort prepared itself for the weekly influx of all of us city-folk and the continuation of the Daze. Even Jakob Dylan, front man of the Wallflowers, could be seen hitting the famous slopes of Vail. Dylan has dropped two solo albums into the ears and hearts of the masses since 2008 and has recently been on a short tour of the Midwest with members of the L.A. based band Everest, with whom he sat down Friday night. The evening was a tantalizing combo of fermented hops, acoustic guitars, and lots of dancing, how else can you keep warm at 7 degrees?  A personal mix of his own solo material coupled with some late 90’s Wallflower originals, Dylan kept his fans going through the frosted evening and kept the high standards set by Guster the night before.
About those hops…all is good in moderation, don’t they say something like that?  Two or three ibuprofen and a breakfast sandwich later and we were working our way towards the mountain and back towards normal.  Vail resorts set up a full-on demo extravaganza at the base of the Vista Bahn Express, showcasing everything from Muscle Milk to Matador Beef Jerky.  Drink promos and ski demos were available to all who chose to indulge and Cadillac brought out their latest to try and wrangle in a few hopeful customers.  I’ll take an Escalade, ESV some Stonyfield yogurt and a couple burritos please.
Sub-par skiing and crowded slopes persuaded us to leave the skis on the deck and get to work on a couple bloodys. Simple mental preparation for the weekend’s main event – Yukon Kornelius, scheduled to kill it at Ford Park Saturday night. The rockin’ supergroup’s core is formed of Adam Gardner (Guster) on lead guitar and vocals; Stefan Lessard (Dave Matthews Band) on bass; Ed Robertson (Bare Naked Ladies) on vocals and guitar; and Eric Fawcett (Spymob) on drums.  “Core” is a key word here because the band literally is a revolving door of friends and accomplished musicians from across the board, and with rumors that Dave Matthews himself and Stephen Tyler were ‘in the village’, there were a more than a few pairs of crossed fingers as they took the stage.  Alas…crossed they remained.  We did, however, get to see the addition of Dee Snider from Twisted Sister and Rashawn Ross from DMB, along with a few other friends, and the sweet, sweet sounds of electric guitars and a soulful sax carried us through the night.
Waking up on Sunday to another bluebird yet 8 degree day made me thankful for grabbing that extra fleece before leaving Denver. Whether it was the cold or the night’s festivities that had many people laid up in the shelter of their homes, there were no complaints on this end.  Great skiing, for a snow-less month, and great friends; an early après out on the deck at Garf’s and we were just about ready for the curtain call.  After packing up food, gear, and the rest of our lives we had one more stop before hitting the pavement and cruising back down the hill; the Polish Ambassador was closing out the weekend with an early afternoon set for anyone who wanted to stick around.  The Oakland-based DJ/Producer came at the sea of sagging snowboard pants and flat brims with an array of original beats and baselines, synths and lazers invading our ears.
Vail’s free shows will continue throughout the winter with Bud Light and Volvo presenting the Street Beat concert series, you can check out the schedule here. Until next time, keep on bouncing your way towards the dance floor, giddyup.
Written By : Jake Warner