Mountain Spice

The best thing about living in Colorado is the chance to escape Denver's summer heat with a day in the mountains. Throw in some food, alcohol and music, and you've got yourself a time-honored tradition: the mountain-resort festival. What could be more Colorado than washing down the region's best chili with the country's best microbrews while taking in live music on a lawn in the middle of the Rockies? Nothing. So head up to Snowmass this weekend and start the season with the Chili Pepper and Brew Fest.

The fourth annual festival kicks off today with more than forty elite microbreweries competing in the Best Summer Ale competition and the International Chili Society's Front Range District Chili Cook Off and Tasting, with competitions in red and green chili and salsa. "Some of the best chili cooks in the nation are going to be here trying to get into the world championships," says Snowmass public-relations director Allison Johnson.

Tomorrow is the ninth-annual Hot Times Regional Championship (for chili) and the Grand Beer Sampling. And on Sunday, you can be the judge at the People's Choice Chili competition and continue the beer tasting with the Locals' Home-brew Competition. The weekend's musicians include the David Grisman Quintet, the Del McCoury Band, Spencer Durham, Papa Mali, Ziggy Marley, Sweet Sunny South and Smokin' Joe Kelly.

Admission is $15 today, $20 tomorrow and free on Sunday; children twelve and under get in free all weekend. Add just $10 to get a Party Pass for unlimited microbrew and chili tasting. For tickets and info, visit

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