having a ball

By Jim Stanford on September 27, 2013

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TreeFight hosts the inaugural TreeBall.

Snow this week — 8 inches or more in the Tetons — has induced a bit of hibernation around Jackson Hole. (Lord knows this site has been in slumber!) Many residents have been content to curl up with a book beside the fire, but not these dudes, who already made some turns on Teton Pass.

Nothing shakes off the autumn doldrums like a good party, and this weekend features back-to-back soirees. Tonight at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, David Gonzales throws his inaugural TreeBall, a benefit for efforts to save whitebark pines, followed Saturday by the Jackson Hole Ski Club’s Ski Ball.

A slew of artists have donated works for the TreeFight event. Ballgoers are invited to come in snazzy attire and swing to the sounds of the Jackson Hole Jazz Foundation Big Band, conducted by Tony Saladino. The museum’s Rising Sage Cafe will serve appetizers. Tickets are $50, available here.

TreeBall comes on the day of more dire news about climate change. The loss of whitebark pines spells grave consequences for the Yellowstone ecosystem.

On Saturday, the ski club throws its annual bash atop the gondola at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, where the slopes already are looking wintry. As of this writing, the Ski Ball is nearly sold out. But the club is holding a raffle for a deluxe trip to a Mexican beach resort, a prospect that sounds pretty good right now. Raffle entrants need not attend the ball; tickets are available here.

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skimming o’ the pond Sunday

By Jim Stanford on March 16, 2013

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For a second straight year, Snow King’s annual Pond Skimming Party falls on St. Patrick’s Day. And while the recent spring weather would have been ideal, perhaps even filling the pool, the snowstorm predicted for Sunday will only heighten the stakes for skimmers.

Festivities run from noon to 4 p.m., with music, food and sudsy beverages. Last year organizers poured green beer, and there has been talk of coloring the pool. Check out the resort’s Facebook page for photos and more details.

For those looking to celebrate their Irish heritage off the slopes, tonight Center for the Arts hosts the acclaimed Celtic band Lúnasa. Tickets start at $15.

And over in Teton Valley, Fitzgerald’s Bicycles throws its 10th annual St. Patrick’s party at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the Wildwood Room. Snake River Brewery has made a special batch of Irish stout, and The Flannel Attractions will perform.

This video is from the 2010 pond skim. To all the hardy participants, Sláinte!

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entire state hungover, following whiskey debut

By Jim Stanford on December 3, 2012

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People wait in line to purchase Wyoming Whiskey outside the opening party Saturday in Kirby. The spectacular launch of the bourbon has put the tiny town in central Wyoming’s Hot Springs County on the map for liquor connoisseurs.

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead might as well have declared today a state holiday, after nearly every resident rushed out to purchase and consume ample quantities of his brother’s Wyoming Whiskey over the weekend.

The long-awaited first release of the homegrown bourbon became a marketing sensation unlike anything the state has ever seen. Not only were hundreds of Wyoming retailers shut out, but stores, too, were raided shortly after opening.

Jackson Whole Grocer opened at 7 a.m. Saturday and sold all 150 bottles in stock within 25 minutes. Yes, people lined up to buy whiskey at 7 a.m. The store had to cancel a planned tasting because there was none left to taste.

At the distillery in Kirby, a line of roughly three times the town’s population of 92 stretched from the party tent as people waited to buy a bottle, in a scene one onlooker described as reminiscent of Prohibition.

The question lingering like cottonmouth and a dull headache, though, is whether the whiskey lived up to the hype. The Casper Star-Tribune consulted a liquor expert, who described it as “one of the best bourbons I’ve ever tasted.”

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weekend roundup: photos, skis and scariness

By Jim Stanford on October 26, 2012

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Milky Way behind Owachomo Bridge, Utah, by Jim Richardson.

Kicking off a busy weekend, the National Museum of Wildlife Art celebrates today the opening of the exhibit Greatest Photographs of the American West.

Viewers got a peek at the collection of National Geographic images during the Photography at the Summit workshop earlier this month. From cowboys to canyons, the exhibit covers the people, landscapes and wildlife of the West in exquisite color and composition. There are several images from Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, along with one of Jimmy Chin’s climbing photos.

Cover shot by Bill Allard. A book of the photos is available for $30.

The museum is hosting a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. today and interactive tour from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Longtime Geographic lensman Bill Allard will discuss his work at 6:30 p.m. today. The exhibit hangs through April 28.

Before sunrise Saturday, sportsters will be lining up outside the Heritage Arena on Snow King Avenue for the Jackson Hole Ski Club’s annual Ski Swap. Early birds will be allowed in at 7:30 a.m., followed by the general public at 8:15. Elevated Grounds will be selling coffee and the Pica’s truck will serve breakfast burritos. Bring your reusable mug. Proceeds will benefit the ski club’s youth programs.

KMTN opens the Halloween festivities with its always-scary Halloween Bash on Saturday. The party starts at 10 p.m. in the Snow King ballroom with music by ’80s cover band 86. Rock and roll all night for $15, with proceeds benefiting Children’s Learning Center. More freak fests will follow on Oct. 31.

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Wyoming Whiskey available for pre-order

By Jim Stanford on October 12, 2012

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Update 10/13: The discounted bottles have sold out (see comment).

The whiskey is made with Wyoming grains and distilled in Kirby.

For more than three years, since Wyoming Whiskey first went into an aging barrel, thirsty drinkers have asked Dave DeFazio when they can taste the bourbon. “When it’s good and ready,” has been his stock reply.

Well, it’s just about good and ready.

The state’s first distillery is installing bottling equipment and expects to have its initial shipment of 2,500 cases in stores by Dec. 1. The Liquor Store of Jackson Hole is taking advance orders and offering a 20 percent discount, with 750 ml bottles priced at $40 instead of $50. Other retailers also have waiting lists.

On Dec. 1, DeFazio and business partner Brad Mead are hosting a party at the distillery in Kirby, Wyo., about a four-hour drive from Jackson, replete with tastings, tours and a band. Mead’s brother, Gov. Matt Mead, will help christen the brand. The all-day affair begins at noon.

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