Snow Bowl celebrates end of summer with Waking the Giant festival

Snow Bowl will be hosting its first "Waking the Giant" Music Festival on Saturday, Oct. 12.
Benjamin Saheb/Courtesy

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The end of summer usually arrives with the feeling of the natural world’s preparation for a long rest under a long winter. But this year, Snow Bowl is celebrating autumn in the spirit of the exact opposite.

Snow Bowl’s first-ever “Waking the Giant” festival is set for Saturday, Oct. 12.

“We wanted to do an end-of-summer celebration,” said Snow Bowl front-of-house manager Bob Samardzic. “Not quite an Oktoberfest — more of a harvest festival, a celebration of the changing of seasons, a closing-the-patio party.”

The festival will offer all the fixings of a superb celebration. Local bands Three Wire Winter, Yer State Birds and Buffalo Commons will play live music throughout the day, and local beers and cocktails will be flowing. Chef Pete List will provide a special menu of “mountain barbecue,” featuring turkey legs, elk sausage and pulled pork, along with his award-winning green chili with cornbread. And, of course, there’s bowling.

“There’s a little bit for everybody,” Samardzic said.

With Snow Bowl’s views of the Sleeping Giant and its references of the mountain on its menu (the Sleeping Giant is a grilled elk sausage with spicy blueberry mustard and caramelized onion on a house roll), “Waking the Giant” was the perfect encapsulation of the festival, according to Samardzic.

The event also marks Snow Bowl’s successful first summer of operation under Joel and Meryl Meranski’s ownership, and its first summer open to the public after extensive renovations, including a full-service restaurant and bar, new bowling lanes and scoring system, a redesigned interior with a locally commissioned metallic mural, relocated bathrooms and a new patio and outdoor bar.

If you go

What: “Waking the Giant” Music Festival
When: 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12
Where: Snow Bowl Steamboat, 2090 Snow Bowl Plaza
Price: Free

“We took the summer to show the community what we’re doing food-wise,” Samardzic said. “We consider ourselves more of a restaurant with bowling lanes rather than a bowling alley with a kitchen.”

Much of the business of the summer took place on Snow Bowl’s outdoor patio and bar, he noted, and the festival will be the last Snow Bowl event of the season to take place outdoors.

“We think this could be a really great opportunity for everybody who hasn’t been out to Snow Bowl (since its renovations) to come and see it,” Samardzic said.

Waking the Giant Music Festival schedule

11 a.m.: Doors open
1 to 3 p.m.: Three Wire Winter
4 to 6 p.m.: Yer State Birds
7 to 9 p.m.: Buffalo Commons

Tyree Woods plays guitar, sings and writes songs with Buffalo Commons. He noted that playing at the festival is an honor, made extra fun by the fact that the three bands have long played together and shared members.

“It’s a lot of mixing and matching,” Woods said. “And all for the greater good of bringing people together at the end of the day.”

Parking at Snow Bowl is limited, so Samardzic encourages those who plan to attend to take the bus, taxi or carpool.

Julia Ben-Asher is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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