This weekend, chairlifts all over Colorado will come to a halt as many resorts close their runs for the winter. Rather than looking back on the ski season, Copper Mountain will be looking forward to spring with its Sunsation Weekend, starting with the Red Bull SlopeSoakers on Saturday.Beyond a simple pond skim, SlopeSoakers sets rails over the water, adding another element of difficulty to the task. Prizes will be awarded for Best Overall, Best Costume, Best Crash, Best Trick and various subcategories. Top prize is a Copper Mountain season pass for the 2013-14 season. Registration is free and open to 100 participants; preregister online or sign up on site before the event.After the SlopeSoaker awards, stick around for two opening sets by The Spazmatics and DJ Landry, followed by a headlining concert by Matt & Kim.
Matt Johnson, of Matt & Kim, knows the duo's live shows are one of its biggest assets. The concerts have become legendary for the inclusive, participatory vibe he and Kim Schifino create, which makes audiences feel they're as much a part of the experience as the performers up on stage.So it makes sense that the new Matt & Kim CD, "Lightning," was crafted in the studio to enable the songs to translate easily to the concert stage. That wasn't the case with the duo's previous album, the 2010 release "Sidewalks.""Our last album, the 'Sidewalks' album, there are a lot of songs we love. We love that album," Johnson said. "But it really had to be adapted to get the live energy that we have on stage. ... I think on this album, 'Lightning,' we took some of that stuff of how we adapted those songs from 'Sidewalks' for live and we just made the original versions like that."The sugary pop hooks of the earlier albums are still there, but songs such as "Now," "Overexposed" and "Much Too Late" have the kind of frenetic beats that haven't really been a Matt & Kim signature on previous albums. "I felt we really could jump completely on the band wagon of this electronic dance music thing," Johnson said. "In the end, we were going to do whatever felt true to Matt & Kim, and I felt what's more true is keeping with the live drum sound. Like (on "Lightning") we went more live drum sound than we've had ever."If we had just decided we were going to completely go into the digital domain, I think it would definitely not been true to what Matt & Kim is all about."Johnson thinks one of the keys to Matt & Kim's success has been their willingness to be themselves, especially on the live stage. And even though the duo has graduated from small clubs to venues holding 2,000 to 3,000 people, Johnson feels he and Schifino will still be able to connect with the crowds and create the back-and-forth exchange of celebratory energy that has always characterized their concerts."We still do what we do, which is we talk a lot to the audience between songs and just be our same embarrassing selves," Johnson said. "This room isn't about the two people here on stage. It's about the 2,002 people that are all in this room together."
Returning for its second season on Sunday, the CopperMan winter adventure race takes competitors through a variety of unique obstacles, including the hot chocolate pit, the king of the mountain and tube crawl. The race will launch in two heats, the first with a superhero costume theme and the second with a retro theme. Up for grabs are a Copper Mountain season pass, a Copper four-pack and a $50 Experience Copper card.Preregistration for the CopperMan 3-kilometer race is available online on the Copper website for $25, or latecomers can register on site for $30 an hour before the event.
Los Angeles band Ozomatli will incite a massive dance party as the final act of Copper Sunsation. Saxophonist and clarinetist Ulises Bella said the band is a good fit to springboard the mountain into spring."Ozomatli's sound is really celebratory, really uplifting, and all we focus on is getting people to dance and stuff like that," he said. "And nothing says getting out of winter like dancing around in the beautiful weather."Bella admitted that he's very sensitive to Summit County's high elevations"I always get the massive headaches, so I have to drink a lot of water and think about it a lot," he said. "Musically and crowd wise it's always a good time in the mountain towns; it is always good for us."Ozomatli's music runs the gamut from politically charged to full-on party groove. Shows at the heavier end of the spectrum champion progressive politics and civil rights, but Bella said it's all a matter of playing to a particular audience."We've stuck to our guns and what we consider our own message," he said. "When we play a festival or a usual show, people don't want to get preached on, so we realize that if we want to say something, we have to take a certain time out of the show and do it. ... If it's a party and not about the politics, then that's what it is."Bella said the members of Ozomatli pride themselves on getting the crowd to dance and have an extremely good time. The band is in the middle of recording a new album and has been trying out some of the new material at its live shows."It's sounding really, really big as far as live sound is concerned because we recorded it in this old studio in Hollywood and it acoustically sounded huge in there," he said of the album "It's premature to put a finger on what it's going to all turn out to be. Stylistically, we're definitely making up a lot of great sounds and cool rhythms."For more information about Copper Sunsation events, music and more, visit www.coppercolorado.com.