Can You Spell Nacthspektakel?

Post by blogger | April 4, 2011      

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!

The crew at Bonnie's restaurant on Aspen Mountain, after a perfect uphill of about 2,000 vert.

Some of the crew at Bonnie's restaurant on Aspen Mountain before leaving for the night downhill, after a perfect uphill of about 2,000 vert, along with a classic cheese meal any Swiss would have approved (raclette; pass out the lactaid pills). Next year, don't miss this. We need to fill up the restaurant to overflowing.

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.)

Night skiing banner.

If you look around the web for Nacthspektakel, you'll find a nice series of inaugural events Dynafit has sponsored all winter. We fervently hope these continue.

It wasn't quite nacht when we started.

It wasn't quite nacht when we began the climb. That was perfect, as once at Bonnie's restaurant we took in a beautiful sunset and that special feeling of a ski resort mountain taking its nightly break.

Christie and Lisa

Christy Mahon, first woman to ski all 54 Colorado 14ers, and Lisa Dawson, first woman to help her husband ski all the Colorado 14ers. Both these gals are taken, sorry guys. But, I would recommend these events for single folks. I'll say no more.

Some folks just worship raclette. I'll not name names.

Some folks just worship raclette. I'll not name names.

Nact backcountry skiing group.

A group of mostly ski alpinists, some ski journalists, newbies to uphilling, and resort employees mixed in -- fun conversation.

Dick Jackson photo of Lou.

Dick Jackson caught this rare photo of your friendly blogger. Note the clear goggles, a lesson learned in Europe. The Petzl ultra headlamp or other flame thrower is also key.

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!


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12 Responses to “Can You Spell Nacthspektakel?”

  1. Jonathan Shefftz April 4th, 2011 9:21 am

    “Can You Spell Nacthspektakel?”
    – No, and I also can’t afford $50 for dinner.

  2. Greg Louie April 4th, 2011 9:38 am

    “Night show”? I think it’s spelled Nachtspectakel.

    Will they let you in with Plums?

  3. Brian April 4th, 2011 10:57 am

    …and Lisa Dawson, first woman to help her husband ski all the Colorado 14ers.

    LOL, thats great Lou!

  4. Lou April 4th, 2011 1:52 pm

    Greg, a couple of telemarkers even showed up! They ate all the muesli but that was ok.

  5. Scott Nelson April 4th, 2011 6:42 pm

    Was this event advertised? Didn’t know about it, but then again I trend towards the anti-social…..Looks like fun though.

  6. Lou April 4th, 2011 8:10 pm

    It wasn’t promoted very much because they were not sure they were going to do it till just before. Next year will be more obvious I’m sure.

    As for money, my fervent hope is that they do NOT require everyone to buy dinner. That’s ridiculous. The amount of people that will do this, the restaurant will do fine selling whatever to whomever wants it.

  7. Mark W April 4th, 2011 9:40 pm

    Cool event. By the way, the bright Petzl headlamp is great. I’ve got a 350 lumen rechargeable bike light that ought to be superb for nachtglisse. I’ll let you know if I try it out for such a purpose.

  8. cheap April 4th, 2011 10:07 pm

    You’re right, Lou. Any activity becomes more enjoyable when there is a social part to it.

  9. doug April 5th, 2011 7:22 am

    great picture of you, Lou!

  10. doug April 5th, 2011 7:23 am

    and great picture of Lisa, how bout posting one of you two together?

  11. Lou April 5th, 2011 7:58 am

    Doug, I didn’t have any shots that I liked… but there’ll be more coming as the spring ski touring season commences… and I’ll look back through what Jackson sent over here as it would be nice to have couple photo on the party report!

  12. Patch April 6th, 2011 10:48 am

    Great time! Thanks Aspen Expeditions! …..and a special thanks to Paulina and Durk. You guys know why…;-) Great meeting you Christy !

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