Celebrations at Breck. (Breckenridge/Facebook)
As if to say auf wiedersehene to summer and willkommen to winter, Oktoberfest in the Western mountains is celebrated just as the seasons pivot away from fun-in-the-sun and toward the upcoming ski and snowboard season.
And, skiing traces many of its origins to the German Bavarian Alps, where bier has been brewed – and consumed – for centuries. So it makes sense that many resorts put on the lederhosen and dust off the steins as autumn arrives for traditional Oktoberfests.
SnoCountry.com took a look around the West for Oktoberfests at mountain resorts, and here’s a sampling of what we came up with:
Taos Ski Valley. On Sept. 17, Bavarian Restaurant is the proper locale as its builder and former owner, Thomas Schultz, hails from that region. Schuplatter bank, German food and beer, plus yodeling and alpenhorn blowing contests. Even take a ride up the lift to get above tree line to view New Mexico’s highest mountains.
Grand Targhee. Sept. 16 closes out summer at Idaho resort. Beer tops the menu, with samplings of various regional brews, washed down with brats, sausage, split chickens and pretzels. Kids Adventure Zone open.
Snowbird. This Utah resort stretches out its popular harvest celebration for every weekend to Oct. 15. Biergarten features German and Utah brews, quaffed down with bratwurst, weisswurst, sauerkraut, apple strudel, spaetzle, beef rouladen, pretzels, and Bavarian roasted almonds. Music shows abound, and alphorns fill the hills with their tones from atop Hidden Peak, reached viat the Snowbird tram.
Breckenridge. Colorado resort hosts street party (“where Munich meets mountains”) Sept. 8-10. Beer vendors line the streets, oompah-pah bands pound it out, and everyone can play traditional Hammerschlagen where first one to pound in all their nails into a stump wins.