Music In The Mountains, Question For You Redux, Snow Coming, Aosta Trattoria Interlude, XC Starter Kit, Mystery Tow, Dispatch From Wolf Creek, Rental Apartment Advice, Inspiration For Recovery, Utah Resort COVID Summary.

Imagine our surprise when we were searching YouTube for tunes from one of our favorite bands when we found, wait for it, the “Gondola Sessions.”

We love the Colorado band Elephant Revival; they have creative, evocative tunes played with expert musicality. So when we saw them playing ensemble in a gondola going up a mountain in winter, we were stopped cold. What the heck is going on? A band playing music in a gondola? Don’t believe me?  Click below.

Yes, that’s an ER-er Bonnie Paine playing the saw in a gondola along with the other members of Elephant Revival heading up at Telluride.

It seems there are “Gondola Sessions” filmed at ski resorts from New England to New Zealand.  It all started when producer John Austin was inspired by “unplugged” music—videos of artists playing acoustic instruments in relaxed settings—and the intimate feeling those created.  Austin started booking bands to play at Aspen’s Silver Queen gondola, recording them during the 15 minute ride up.  Since then, you can find more than 80 different gondola sessions with widely-diverse bands and solo artists on YouTube, recorded in summer as well as winter sessions.  Just search for “Gondola Sessions” in YouTube.

Wait, There’s More.

Along with our initial YouTube search for Elephant Revival tunes, we discovered another musical happening at ski resorts that we never knew about. Have you heard of WinterWonderGrass? For 10 years, music impresarios have staged winter music festivals in Steamboat, Squaw Valley, and Stratton Mountain. The days-long festivals feature bluegrass and roots music from very cool bands along with craft beer and merch from a variety of sustainable, environment-friendly vendors. Performances are sometimes indoors and, yes, sometimes outdoors. The motto of the producers is Music, Brews, Mountains. Click here for more information about WinterWonderGrass.  As you can imagine, this season’s festivals are adapting to the pandemic.

What is it like?  Here’s a full Elephant Revival set at the 2015 WinterWonderGrass festival at Steamboat. Enjoy.

Note: Elephant Revival is a terrific band and has a number of excellent videos on YouTube. Unfortunately the band has suspended performing indefinitely. 

So, there is music in the mountains. Innovative, energetic, embedded into the resort environment. No, you don’t have to be under 35 to enjoy these musicians and their music. You just have to love music.

Have any of our readers been to a WonderWinterGrass festival? Let us know. Leave a comment in the reply box below.

This Week.

Dreamcatcher at The Canyons. Plenty of snow already for the new season.

Skiing Weatherman Herb Stevens reports that winter snow is finally coming to the Northeast. Consider how lucky Killington was last year; the Women’s World Cup was held on 11/30-12/1/19 with the help of some expert snowmaking. This year, not much cold to make the stuff until now, that is.  Click here.

We are asking a Question For You that we asked before: What is the experience of your first visit to a ski resort like in COVID times? When we asked a couple of weeks ago, we didn’t get many comments because it was way too early. Let’s see what happens this week. Let us know. Click here.

We do have a report from John Farley on his first outing at Wolf Creek, CO, the first resort in North America to open this season. His strategy for dealing with parking is interesting.  Click here.

Correspondent Tamsin Venn summarizes the pandemic preparations and regulations at big Utah resorts. Know before you go. Click here.

Stephen Bell’s series on renting an apartment in your ski house concludes with some advice on operating the rental as well as financing a purchase. Steve seems to have made a small business pay for his new residence in Big Sky. Click here.

Hirsch Stube in the summer. Small, friendly, perfect for a day of rest from skiing.

New correspondent Dave Chambers writes about a charming incident in a tiny trattoria in the Aosta Valley.  Dave is an Australian who spends time skiing the Alps when he’s not skiing the scene in OZ. Click here.

Long time correspondent Marc Liebman tells us about is recuperation from a debilitating infection. It is interesting he was inspired by an ultra cheap season pass for veterans, and he’s determined to use it somewhere this season. Click here.

As part of our Make More Tracks series on alternative snow sports, Cross country editor Roger Lohr summarizes what you have to know to get started in Cross Country skiing. We believe the xc option makes a lot of sense for seniors who want to get outside this weird winter. Click here.

Finally, our Mystery Glimpse picture this week is one that goes back to the start of skiing in New England. And we tell the remarkable career of Bjorn Daehlie, the fantastically Greatest Of All Time Nordic racer. Read about his VO2 max and and how that made him a very special human specimen. Click here.

Thanks for reading Tell your friends, and remember, there are more of us every day, and we aren’t going away.

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Restrictions: Help, hinder, hopeless? What is your experience? Credit: USNews&WorldReport




  1. Enjoyed Elephant Revival’s Season’s Song also. Great videos with this issue! thanks!

  2. Thank for offering a great bright spot in these times.
    Happy Holidays to all. And God bless.

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