Country in the Rockies landed |

Country in the Rockies landed

Winter music event often includes Nashville headliners

— The Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. has wooed a classy country music ski tourism group away from Mount Crested Butte, where it vacationed last winter.

Andy Wirth, vice president of sales and marketing for Steamboat Ski Area and The Canyons in Utah, confirmed this week that a tour group called Country in the Rockies will visit Steamboat from Jan. 26 to 30.

The event is a benefit for a cancer research center in Nashville, Tenn.

The event was headlined by Clint Black in 2006. In 2005, Gretchen Wilson and Big and Rich topped the bill. Past performers have included Brad Paisley, Jo Dee Messina, Kenny Loggins, Suzy Boguss, Pam Tillis, Chely Wright and Willie Nelson.

The lineup is not firm for 2007 and often is subject to change because the performers donate their time.

Country in the Rockies is the primary fundraiser of the T.J. Martell Foundation’s Nashville Division. It was founded as a benefit for the Frances Williams Preston Labs at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. Frances Preston is the CEO of performing rights entity BMI. The organization represents songwriters and music publishers.

Performers have been known to pull late-night guitar jams for guests but also showed up in the old town of Crested Butte to entertain locals with impromptu performances.

In the past, Country in the Rockies guests have flown to Crested Butte by chartered jet. They have received a gift bag with a pair of skis or a snowboard, ski clothing and other items.

The event also enjoys corporate sponsorship.

Steamboat Ski Area spokesman Mike Lane said the group’s musical theme is a good fit for Steamboat’s Western brand and represents a major addition to the ski area’s calendar with two other destination music tours that will return next January.

Last January, Steamboat, in cooperation with Dickson Productions, hosted The Music Fest at Steamboat for the seventh year. Eighteen bands that fit into the Americana genre performed 40 shows around the base of the ski area. They performed for appreciative crowds from the Southwest who booked the concerts as a package with their skiing and snowboarding vacations. Performers included Texas favorites Ray Wylie Hubbard, Robert Earl Keen, mainstream country superstar Lee Ann Womack and country slacker troubador Jack Ingram.

The Music Fest rolled right into Ski Jam, which emphasized the jam band vibe for a different demographic of college students. Medeski, Martin and Wood performed, as did Arrested Development.

Headlining acts perform in a large tent erected in the gondola parking lot at the base of the ski area.

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