Preserve, and party in, the mountains this weekend with Friends of the Dillon Ranger District and Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

The Geiger Counter’s weekend picks

Friends of the Dillon Ranger District’s annual Casino Night returns Friday, April 8. Though it is sold out, people can still participate via the online auction.
Bill Linfield/Friends of the Dillon Ranger District

Editor’s note: Don’t know what to do this weekend? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Pull up a seat to the counter and I’ll tell you about everything that’s hot and happening.

Chances are pretty high that you live in Summit County because of the mountains. Whether you enjoy their snowy slopes in the winter, hike the switchbacks in the summer, capture the grandeur in photographs or paint or use the landscapes for poetic inspiration, the hunks of rock are a major focal point of the area.

Connected to those mountains is a vibrant ecosystem stewarded by Friends of the Dillon Ranger District. The nonprofit is having its annual Casino Night fundraiser Friday, April 8, after it was rescheduled from its previous February date. As the name implies, guests can expect to play games like poker, blackjack, roulette and craps while enjoying appetizers and beverages.

The event takes place from 6-9 p.m. Friday, April 8, at 10 Mile Music Hall, 710 Main St., Frisco. It is sold out, but there is also a large online auction, featuring items that range from gift cards to Caribbean getaways, for people who didn’t get a ticket in time. The auction opened Friday, April 1, and closes at 8:30 p.m. Friday, April 8. Visit to purchase.

If gambling isn’t your thing, then head to Arapahoe Basin Ski Area for multiple days of fun. First up is the Mountain Dew Base Bash from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at Mountain Goat Plaza. The free apres ski party will have swag, Mountain Dew and a DJ.

Later that evening is the next installment of A-Basin’s moonlight dinner series, where people can feast on a Hawaiian luau from 7-10 p.m.

The dinner is unfortunately sold out, but prospective patrons should plan ahead for the mountain’s supper club Friday, April 22, for a special three-course meal. That dinner costs $75 per person. Visit to purchase.

Lastly, Sunday, April 10, is an opportunity to “Get the Girls Outside” with SheJumps. The day on the slopes is for women and girls of all ages and abilities. The morning begins with skiing, riding, and snowshoeing in small groups based on age. After lunch, the activities continue with an avalanche rescue dog demonstration led by the women patrollers of A-Basin.

Salomon will be on-site with demos and the day ends with a raffle. Visit to register and contribute a suggested donation of $10.

What I’m Listening To

‘Moanin” by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers

The mountains are worthy of praise, but so are other muses. April is Jazz Appreciation month, and I’m fortunate to be headed to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival to bask in the sounds of the genre as well as artists like The Who, Death Cab for Cutie and Randy Newman.

In the meantime, I’m listening to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers’ “Moanin'” off of the titular album. This song opened my eyes to a world of jazz beyond the household names of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Louis Armstrong.

I first heard the nine-minute instrumental track in Shinichirō Watanabe’s anime “Kids on the Slope.” Watanabe uses music almost like a central character in it and his works such as “Cowboy Bebop,” “Samurai Champloo” and “Carole & Tuesday.”

The song’s call and response of the piano and horns, partnered with swinging drums, stays with you. It always puts a smile on my face, and I lose track of time when the musicians enter their solos. I really need to sit down and listen to the rest of the album, but I always just repeat the first track again and again.

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