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Wednesday
Dec172014

Colorado Christmas w/ Jimmy Ibbotson and Bobby Mason at Aspen Public Radio

Aspen Public Radio jammed with 2 Aspen musical legends on the Check 1,2 program hosted by Daniel Shaw. Both long-time Aspenites, Jimmy Ibbotson and Bobby Mason had a great time sharing stories and playing a few tunes. Jimmy, most famous for his turn in Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Bobby for Starwood played with many great bands in Aspen in the 70's such as The Eagles and John Denver. Later in the show, they were joined by a few friends to belt out a couple holiday favorites including COLORADO CHRISTMAS (see the vid below). You can listen to the entire show by clicking ASPEN PUBLIC RADIO.

Thanks for Rob St. Mary for keeping AspenSpin in the loop.

Sunday
Dec142014

Aspen Live: A Family Affair

Aspen Live celebrates 20 years next Dec.Aspen Live, a preeminent music and live entertainment industry think tank and networking conference celebrated it's 19th year this past weekend.  Jim Lewi once again brought together "the Aspen Family"  an eclectic group of agents, managers,  ticket-sellers, venue owners, marketers and live entertainment veterans from all over America, and one guy from Scotland.

Click 4 pix:  Aspen Live, A Family Affair.

As an industry outsider...AspenSpin was again given carte blance access to the inner circles of the music and live entertainment businesses.  Aspen Live has a extensive history of professional collaborations and mutually beneficial relationships built over years of skiing and partying in Aspen.   For many of the attendees #AspenLive is clearly one of the highlights of their year.  They get to break out of their molds, blow out of L.A. or NYC or Nashville or Seattle or Albuquerque or even Denver and let their hair down in Aspen.   Every year a few "newbies" try to crack the code and get taken in by the Aspen Live Family.  It was amazing how well the 5 young, vivacious, pretty and professional women from United Interests / W.A.R. Records of Boulder fit into the Aspen Family...which is composed mostly of grizzled music veterans.

Bob Lefsetz trading barbs with Peter Mensch.The infamous Bob Lefsetz of the influential music  industry rag, The Lefsetz Letter led off with a "sit down" with Peter Mensch founding partner of Q Prime Management.   Mensch, quite the racanteur,  has an interesting story to tell.   His long career in music has been colorful & successful, but he started as a nerdy, friendless, social outcast who's claim to fame was that he had more albums than anyone else in the dorm at University of Chicago.  He managed to score a job as tour accountant on Aerosmith's 1977-78 Draw the Line tour...which Mensch affectionately called the "snort the line tour" where he bonded with opening act AC / DC just as they were hitting America for the first time.  Despite being "the worst tour accountant in history" AC/ DC became his first major management client.  His firm Q Prime is one of the most powerful independent managers in the business.  Suffice to say...he has a good rap.  His motto..."don't get mad, get even."

Ticketing ScienceJim McCarthy, CEO of Goldstar Events had to follow Mensch to the podium.   It was not an easy task. Goldstar has sold over 15 million tickets for more than 10,000 venues since its inception in 2002.  You can sign up for discounted tickets in your market at GOLDSTAR    While e-ticketing and big data are fascinating topics...hearing about the time Keith Richards told Peter Mensch to tell Mick that "he looks like a pooftah" was a tough act to follow. 

Day 2 led off with a meaningful story about how Aspen Live creates opportunities.  Felice Mancini, President and CEO of Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, a non-profit that provides instruments to schools for their music programs and Emma Leggat, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Stub Hub presented their case study.    Inspired by the acclaimed motion picture about music educator Mr. Holland...the foundation provides instruments and other support for about 4000 students every year.   Ms. Mancini is a tireless networker and clearly passionate about music education. Ms Leggat's goal...to humanize the e-commerce giant.   Last year in Aspen Mancini connected with an influential exec. from Stub Hub to get the ball rolling. Owned by E-Bay, Stub Hub is the 800 pound gorilla in the e-ticket space and the secondary market for tickets.  One year later...Stub Hub has agreed to sponsor The Next Stage Concert Series that produced 5 concerts across the country to benefit Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation.  Click here to watch a very compelling 2 minute film about the collaboration between Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation and Stub Hub and how they are helping 1 kid at a time.

Seth Goldstein on raising capital for the music space.Seth Goldstein, venture capitalist, entrepreneur, angel investor and DJ led a round table discussion about financing options in the music space.  It's safe to say...that while sexy...investments in music are usually a high risk ...rarely rewarded asset class.   I'm not saying it can't be done...but making money in the music world is always difficult.  One  peanut gallery comment that seemed to hold some truth " Silicon Valley hates music because it's in L.A. and Silicon Valley hates L.A.   Another weizenheimer shouted that the music business is "full of flakes".  No one denied it.   Check out Seth's DJ app.  CROSSFADER

Day three rolled out the gargantuan players.  Ashley Bradbury from Facebook gave a very nice presentation about the best way to use Facebook.  It became clear that Facebook wants to control everything you see and that the best way to maximize the utility of the social network is to pay them for placement.   Ashley who seems like a great lady also shared many ways by which you can give your data to Facebook.  My take home... big bro is watching...and  everybody calls him Zuck.

Who wants merch? Rockandrolltshirts.comVivien Lewit, director of Content Partnerships at You Tube (owned by google) led a discussion about monetizing content on You Tube.  You Tube is one of the primary vehicles for music consumption today and many artists are making bank on You Tube.  To provide some perspective on You Tube, 300 hours of video are uploded every minute. That's 12.5 days of vid...every 60 seconds.   50% of those views are watched on mobile devices.  The salient point...if you're a musician...control your publishing rights, partner up with You Tube...write, perform and record a hit vid...and start cashing checks. 

Another year of Aspen Live is a wrap. Next year will be the 20th edition, so expect some BIG, BIG things according to Jim Lewi.  It was a weekend packed with information flow, humongous dinners, late night rap sessions, inside jokes, gossip and brand building and of course all the merch you can handle courtesy of Dean Gelfand at RockandRollTshirts.com   The skiing, the hiking the cooking classes etc etc make Aspen Live a unique and powerful event. As always,  there was an extreme amount of hugging it out at Aspen Live.  If you are crazy enough to want to pursue a career in music and live entertainment...get your a$$ out here next year for Aspen Live.  Join the fam, because as always it was another great jam sesh with the Aspen Live Family.

Click 4 pix:  Aspen Live, A Family Affair.

Best wishes to veteran AspenLive Family member Andy Summers who suffered a terrible injury while skiing Spar Gulch for the "last run".  A concussion, a few cracked ribs and a collapsed lung never killed anyone ( i don't think)  Word has it Andy will be fine after some serious rest and recovery time.  But no crowd surfing for a while.  Positive vibes go out to Andy.    

Just as everyone was packing up to head to the airport...a major POW storm hit Aspen, hense the delay in the publishing of this article.  

Rob Gordon brought some new blood to Aspen Live. The ladies of United Interests / W.A.R. Records

Backstage pass. Getting it done after hours at Aspen Live.  

Wednesday
Dec102014

KJUS: Style and Performance

What do Andy Party and Bode Miller have in common?  If you've read AspenSpin over the years the answer should be easy.  Both men ski almost every day,  both men are concerned with style and performance and both men exclusively sport premium ski clothing from KJUS. 

I don't know? What are you wearing?Kjus, a Swiss company is named after Olympic Gold medal winner and World Champion skier Lasse Kjus. It can be found in the finest shops in Aspen and around the World.   Every piece is meticulously designed and extensively tested before it hits the stores.   Known for their clean, crisp, innovative designs and uncompromising vision Kjus has become the gold standard for premium ski wear all over the world. In fact according to an industry insider Kjus has helped shape the future of sportswear.  Their ground breaking  high-tech stretch fabrics allow full freedom of movement on the slopes but also are the most fashionable.  Every stitch, every seam, every design and every garment is flawlessly produced.  Kjus is worn on mountain by champions like Lasse Kjus, Bode Miller, Didier Cuche and Lara Gut. Kjus gear even makes a ski bum like A. Party look fabulous on the snow.

Click 4 Pix:  Kjus, Snow and The Beav

Kjus is not just clothing for skiing.  In recent years Kjus has expanded their horizons to produce a full line of active wear and golf clothing with the same tradition of excellence.  Click KJUS to learn more about the company, their history, the future and to find dealers all over the world.

Last week AspenSpin was lucky enough to attend the grand opening of the very first Kjus boutique in North America at Beaver Creek, Colorado.  Like Kjus clothing, the store has a clean classic design that exudes quality. The store design is beautiful, but it's the merchandise that stands out with distinction.  All the newest styles and colors for ski season 2014/15 are available.  It was a celebration of Kjus and it was a first class event.  VIP's from all over the world attended the opening and the merch was flying off the racks. Nico Serena, Director of Design and Creative and Timo Regier, Global Head of Sales flew in from Switzerland for the event.  I'm sure the soft Colorado POW POW was not a lure for those guys.  North American team leaders Brooke and Chris Mackenzie hosted the Grand Opening and their crew supervised every detail.  Bode Miller and his family were on hand to help celebrate the day.  It was a great party and hopefully the first of many Kjus boutiques in the U.S. and Canada.

If you've been diligently following AspenSpin...you've seen the pix and you know A. Party always looks sharp on the slopes.  As previously reported...we've logged over 1000 ski days in Kjus.  We don't just promote brands and products...we live 'em.  Take it from AspenSpin...Kjus is the World Champion of ski wear.  

While in Beaver Creek AspenSpin also attended a fashion show produced by Snow Magazine and a Ted Ligety autograph signing.  Click 4 pix. 

Click 4 Pix:  Kjus, Snow and The Beav

Nico, Bode, Brooke and the whole Kjus team came out for the Grand Opening in beaver Creek.Nico Serena, Head of Design and Timo Regier , Global Head of Sales came in from HQ in Switzerland.The kids love Bode. Kjus Grand Opening at Beaver Creek. The first store in North America.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday
Dec082014

U.S. Ski Team has HUGE Weekend at Beaver Creek & Lake Louise.

US Ladies sweep the Downhill Podium at Lake Louise. Vonn, cook and Mancuso. Selfie courtesy of Lindsey Vonn via FacebookAspenSpin ventured over to Beaver Creek this weekend to take in the Birds of Prey Men's FIS World Cup ski races. It was a fantastic weekend of racing, events, parties and skiing.    In a normal year The Beav is the one and only tour stop in the U.S. for the men's world cup skiers.  But in 2015 Birds of Prey is also the site of the FIS WORLD ALPINE SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS in February. So the regularly scheduled WC races were like a warm-up.  The ladies were in Lake Louise, Alberta Canada this weekend.  Both the men's and women's teams had fabulous results.

We've attended several Birds of Prey races in the past and this year's events seemed a little different.  Vail / Beaver Creek is putting on the ritz for the 2015 World Championships so these world cup races almost felt like a test run, or spring training if you will.   All eyes seemed to be looking forward to February when the 2nd most important set of ski races (behind the Olympics) visits the Vail Valley.

Red Tail Stadium, Birds of Prey (from the lift)Birds of Prey has never looked better.   The new Red Tail Stadium at the finish-line which was created for the World's is unbelievable. Much larger than in the past... a massive 10 story scaffolding of bleachers was built primarily for the Worlds. Walking up over 100 steps in ski boots is not an easy task...but thousands of racing fans did it.  A huge deck on the backside of the stands provided for a beautiful sponsor's village with unlimited swag for kids and adults. A newly constructed lodge building houses the new VIP lounge and viewing area.  The former lodge served as a spacious and well organized "press tent".  If I only had on word to describe the finish area...that word would be impressive.  Beaver Creek is clearly ready to host the world's.

The races...while important...seemed to almost take a back seat to the impending rush and anticipation brought by the World Championships. 

Ted Ligety shredded to victory in GS at Birds of PreyNorway's Kjetil Jansrud won the downhill on Friday.  His third win in 7 days.  He described his victory as "the perfect run". "When it runs it runs" explained Jansrud, "it's a German saying" he said.    Jansrud is often considered "the other Norwegian" behind injured teammate Aksel Lund Svindal, but Kjetil has an Olympic Gold and Bronze to his credit and has won the first 3 downhills of the 2014-15 season.   Beat Feuz of Switzerland finished second.  Coming off a series of knee injuries Feuz was thrilled to return to the World Cup Podium.  American Steve Nyman let it rip for a great run finishing third.  Nyman a 32 year old veteran of 13 seasons on the U.S. Ski Team credited the U.S. squad's new conditioning coach Toni Beretzki along with a brand new equipment set-up for the win.  American Travis Ganong had an excellent result finishing 5th.

In the Super G. on Saturday Austrian Hannes Reichelt topped the field for his third Super G. win and 6th podium at Birds of Prey. Norway's Jansrud took second and Frenchman Alexis Pinturault third.   The difficult course set up appeared to throw some racers off their lines...but Reichelt was comfortable enough to take the win.   Andrew Weibrecht aka The War Horse, had a strong run and was the top American finishing 10th.  Ted Ligety nabbed 11th.

The Giant Slalom on Sunday was the race that all the fans were waiting for.   Ted "the Shred" Ligety did not disappoint the crowd taking first place with a super-duper come from behind 2nd run.   This was Ligety's 5th win at Birds of Prey.  Overheard in the press room "thats just Ted being Ted".  Ligety is the reigning Olympic Champ in GS and is now expected to win every week.  At Birds of Prey...Shred lived up to the expectations.  This was his 23rd World Cup win in the disipline and he trails only Ingemar Stenmark all-time.  Stenmark has 46 world cup wins in GS.   Pinturault from France finished 2nd and Austrian Marcel Hirscher took 3rd.   Perhaps the feel good story of the race was American David Chodounsky's 17th place finish.   Chod a slalom specialist started in the 66th position and raised his game to finish strong at 17.

She's Back!!! Lindsey Vonn takes the downhill.The U.S. ladies had it going on at Lake Louise, Alberta.  Lindsey Vonn in her first competition in 22 months since overcoming injuries led a U.S. sweep in the Downhill.  Vonn finished on top of the podium followed by teammates Stacey Cook in 2nd and Julia Mancuso in 3rd.   Vonn also grabbed 2nd in the SuperG.

All in All it was perhaps the best weekend of ski racing in U.S. Ski Team history.   The racers are ready and it appears that Vail / Beaver Creek is ready for the Alpine World Championships...just 60 days away. 

Birds of Prey GS Podium 1 Ligety USA 2 Pinturault Fra 3 Hirscher Aut

 
US ladies sweep the downhill at Lake Louise. Lindsey Vonn, Stacey Cook and Julia Mancuso

Sunday
Nov302014

World Cup Weekend is World Class in Aspen

After a years hiatus, the FIS World Cup Ski races returned to Aspen.  Fat city again hosted the world's fastest women in the Slalom and Giant Slalom.  The best ski racers in the world ripped laps on Aspen Mountain returning to one of their favorite tour stops.

Aspen missed the world's fastest women, a.k.a. chicks on sticks last year...and it turns out the feeling was mutual.  All the ladies made it very clear that Aspen is a highlight stop on their World Cup tour.  For the U.S. Ski Team and several American girls who are funded independently it's the only tour stop on U.S. soil and the only time their friends and families attend their races.  The Euros all commented on the special feeling they have for Aspen Mountain and it's fast, highly technical race course.  Aspen hosted Giant Slalom on Saturday and Slalom on Sunday.

Click 4 pix: WORLD CLASS in ASPEN

Conditions were prime, maybe a touch warm...but the course was skiing great.  Saturday's Giant Slalom challenged the ladies with plenty of technical terrain changes and the famous airplane turn above strawpile. Sunday's slalom competition was broadcast live worldwide on NBC TV.  

The strong Austrian team dominated the results taking 4 of the 6 podium spots including both first place finishes. Eva-Marie Brem broke through for her first WC win ever, topping the field in the GS.  She was quite emotional, crying during the awards ceremony and the press conference.  All the other girls seemed truly happy for her.  "We're all friends" shared one Canadian racer.  Katrin Zettel, also Austrian finished second.   She always finds a way to the podium in Aspen, holding the record for most top 3 results of any world cup skier on Aspen Mountain.  

Nicole Hosp from Austria topped a very competitive field in Slalom. It was Hosp's first win since 2008 after overcoming a series of excruciating injuries.    USA's Mikaela Shiffrin had a great weekend with a 6th in the GS and 5th in Slalom.   2 top 10's was cause for celebration 2 years ago in Aspen for Shiffrin.   This year, however, the expectations are about as high as they can be for the Queen apparent of U.S. Skiing.   Shiffrin is the reining WC champ and Olympic champ in Slalom...so she is now expected to win...every time.   She had a good chance to take the slalom victory..but a slight falter on run 2 led to 5th.  While disappointed at not taking the top spot on home soil...Shiffrin is poised and ready to move on to the next race.   She is currently in 2nd place in the overall World Cup standings behind Zettel. 

All-in-all it was a great weekend.  Aspen Mountain and Snowmass  are open and skiing beautifully.  A kick-off party to celebrate the bib draw along with an autograph signing with the U.S. Ski Team started it all off on Friday   Reel Big Fish a ska-punk band from Huntington Beach, Ca. played a free outdoor show at the base of Aspen Mountain followed by the prerequisite fireworks display. A full-on sponsors village anchored by Audi, plus free food from Aspen Skiing Company's catering department made those of us who are not VIP's feel like VIP's.  The stands were packed on both days.  The crowds were the largest I've seen in my 12 years attending the races in Aspen.  Perfect weather for spectating did not hurt.  The WC set up seemed to have it turned up a notch...perhaps in preparation for Aspen's hosting of the WC Finals in March of 2017.  

It was good to have the "White Circus" back in Aspen.

Click 4 pix:  WORLD CLASS in ASPEN

GS winner Eva-Marie Brem of Austria ripping a lap on Ajax. Photo: Art BurrowsMikaela Shiffrin had 2 top 10's in Aspen, not bad, but she is expected to win every week now. Photo: Art Burrows.

The GS Podium in Aspen 1) Brem Austria 2) Zettel Austria 3) Brignone Italy Photo: AspenSpin

The Slalom Podium in Aspen. 1) Hosp Austria 2) Hansdotter Sweden 3) Zettel Austria Photo: AspenSpin