Lead Vegas Comes Alive for Ski Joring Weekend
By Ted B.K. Halley, Leadville Today Contributor
Are you ready for some winter weekend fun?! Then downtown Lead Vegas is the play to be. Of course, Ski Joring will keep the action cranking on historic Harrison Avenue for the day, but once the sun goes down and the neon lights comes up, there’s’ still plenty to do, especially on Leadville Ski Joring (#LSJ) weekend. So here’s the #LSJ Lead Vegas report. #GiddyUp and #StayInYourLane, pardner!
Well, if it’s a festival weekend in Leadville, you can be sure that there will be some nightlife in old Lead Vegas. Of course, you’re likely to find those Ski Joring cowboys, and spectators tearing up the dance floor over at The Elks Lodge on Saturday night. The genre is always Country Rock and they’ll start kicking up the dust starting at 8:30 p.m. for the Annual Ski Joring Dance. The public is welcome and there is no cover charge.
But if you’re “in-it” for the weekend, if you’re looking to wear out those dance shoes, and shake that money-maker till there’s not a dime left, then tune in, and turn it up!
The fun kicks off tonight Friday, March 2 with Groovespeak. A Leadville favorite with lead man Carey Nall taking it to new heights at The Scarlet. Be sure to catch him and his band of merry music makers starting at 9 p.m. You know that Leadville’s “old guard” will be out for this classic rock show, because these musicians never disappoint; their last show was a packed house!
Across the avenue at Wilde’s Green Hour you can find DJ Spaceboy taking you to the heart of Crystal Carnival. Starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, all songs will deal with Ice and Snow, and Crystals, and who knows what else DJ Spaceboy will dig up for your enjoyment!
If you’re ready to keep the discs spinning, and start singing your own song, then head down and around the block to Karaoke Friday with Girl Play DJ at the historic Pastime Bar & Café. Tunes kick up at 9 p.m. and there’s always a noteworthy performance that makes it the live Facebook feed on The Pastime’s page – could it be you? Leadville’s Historic Pastime Bar & Cafe is located down the way from Earl’s dispensary at 120 W. 2nd Street.
Also, before Lead Vegas pushes on with the rest of the weekend’s report, a reminder that there’s also a film festival going on at the brewpub tonight which you can read more about on the Leadville Today Crystal Carnival round-up report.
Of course, the BIG Day is Saturday, March 3 when the star will be historic Harrison avenue as it sets the stage for the 70th annual running of Leadville Ski Joring. Town will be packed, parking will be challenging, and code enforcement will be bumming out your day with a ticket of you don’t play by the rules posted. Plan ahead!
Start your #LSJ Saturday off right with some breakfast grub, at the annual pancake breakfast at The Elks Lodge. Catch up on some smack-talk among competitors, as the kitchen serves up endless flapjacks, with proceeds benefiting some worthwhile programs. Come and get it, both Saturday & Sunday from 7 – 11 a.m. The Elks Lodge usually also offers some kind of BBQ plate throughout the weekend benefiting the lodge, which graciously provides the headquarters for #LSJ – couldn’t do it without you, so thanks.
Out on the avenue, breakfast options are plenty, however please keep in mind your #LSJ sponsors. Cookies With Altitude is a great place to start any day with coffee and some kind of breakfast treat. But it’s extra sweet because they’ve been a long-time #LSJ sponsor. CWA is also a great place to view the horses and skiers get linked up before blazing down the avenue! Check them out up by the start line. They’ve also been posting some delicious looking lunch options on their Facebook Page – yummy!
Across the way is The Golden Burro. Yes, the Golden Burro. A long-standing Leadville tradition among visitors, this is a good weekend to #StopTheSmackdown and stop in for a cup of joe at the counter or maybe one of the specialty items they will be offering for Ski Joring (BBQ?). Look for the bright neon sign of the “Brassy Ass.”
The Manhattan Bar will be packed, and is the quick-beer-in-and-out place for some day-drinking shenanigans. But if you dare to wander in, be patient, don’t yell at Sam or Silvia or you won’t get nothing, and for goodness sake, have your cash out! Will this be the last LSJ for Da Hat? Are the rumors true?! Say it ain’t so!
Up the way, on E. 7th Street, brewpub lovers can find Periodic Brewing at the ready for some Beer Pouring for Ski Joring! They will also be hosting the Backcountry Film Festival on Friday (details here). In other Pb news, their sister location down on the southern end of the Avenue – O2 by Periodic Brewing will be holding their annual outside Ski Joring BBQ Party.
Back out on historic Harrison Avenue, across for the LSJ Grandstand you’ll find the new kid on the block. Treeline Kitchen opened in the KW Plaza/Sayer McKee Building last May and hasn’t looked back. Providing another palate option for Leadville foodies, as well as locals looking to mix-it-up, Treeline will be hosting their first Rooftop Patio Party during LSJ weekend. Raise your glasses high while you look down on all the action!
At the corner of 6th and Harrison, please stop by the Leadville Lions Club Tent. This philanthropic, non-profit is the real deal. They are the worker bees making sure that the fireworks happen, that the 9 Health Fair continues, generally give back to Leadville in countless other ways, through donations and scholarships. On Saturday, stop at the tent, grab a brat or just throw a few bucks in the can, it’ll go to good projects with transparent efforts. Roar!
Don’t forget D’Love’s (located next to Community Threads) always ready to satisfy that snack attack. From coffee and ice cream to pretzels and nachos, grab and go so you don’t miss out on any of the action. It’s a good time to mention that there is a new grocery store on Harrison Avenue as well. El Mercadito can be found across from the courthouse, serving up fresh fruit and other baked goodies. Stop in and support this new Leadville business.
On that same block you can find the City On A Hill Coffee Shop which is “always busy” and the Chinese Restaurant, Szechuan Taste II on the corner, which continues to receive improving reviews! Psst they also have a full bar if you’re looking for an uncrowded spot in the heart of the action to grab a cold, adult beverage. Good spot for people watching as well.
If you’re looking for a full breakfast with all the bells and whistles, then hit up Casa Sanchez, located front and center in the Quincy Building at Harrison Avenue. They also serve lunch and dinner with an emphasis on Tex-Mex fare. Take note that Leadville has several great Mexican Restaurants. A couple are off the main drag: The Grill at 715 Elm Street and Casa Blanca on 2nd Street. Another is Manuelitas, located right on Harrison, across from the opera house. Que bueno! Y salud a los Caballeros!
If you’re in the mood for a steak dinner then Quincy’s is the place to be, but be prepared to wait. Fortunately the forecast predicts the weather will be okay for hanging out on Harrison on Saturday evening; just dress warm. And if you time it right, you can cheer on the racers from the Mineral Belt Mayhem while you’re waiting for your table!
Down at the southern end of Harrison, at the LSJ finish line is where you can find the neon glow of the afterhours rebel-rousers. The Scarlet may be hosting the Friday night fun, but they’ll keep it kicking all weekend, so stop in for some suds at your favorite corner bar.
Across the street, O2 will be sparking up the barbeque all-day Saturday, providing another food option, along with the two mobile (?) food trucks on the corner of 4th and Harrison. During Ski Joring weekend the first block of W. 4th Street also becomes the horse area, packed with trailers and steeds. But you can still make your way half a block up to High Mountain Pies, offering up a variety of pizzas, sandwiches and salads. With expanded seating and nice weather on tap (at least for Saturday) it’s a great place to take a load off and re-fuel. HMP is also a long-time LSJ sponsor and often helps re-fuel the guys and gals building the course on Fridays – so, it seems, pizza really does make you powerful!
Back out on Leadville’s main drag, visitors and locals should note that Leadville’s Legendary Silver Dollar Saloon is under new management and offering some tasty pub fares in one of the most historic settings in town.
Next door at Wilde’s Green Hour you can find some live music with local talent, Ryan Ruegg. He’ll begin tickling the ivories at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, and again on Sunday during brunch, before the horses run.
If you’re a foodie and you haven’t stopped into Tennessee Pass Café on the corner of 3rd and Harrison, then make sure you do. Even on a busy LSJ weekend, it’ll be worth the wait. They’ve jazzed up their menu recently, offering some new eclectic options as well as their old favorites like those incredible, one-of-a-kind melanzanna rolls.
And finally, if you’re a visitor, looking for one of the coolest old bars west of the Mississippi, then make it a point to stop into The Pastime Bar & Café. It’s the last operating business on old State Street, Leadville’s former red light district. The ambiance it pure old west mining town and Saturday night DJ Girl Play will return for Country Night, spinning some of your favorite two-step and sing along country tunes. The Pastime offers a great menu with fresh choices, including the “best burgers in town,” as well as a full bar. Psst, the view from the patio is pretty awesome, overlooking Colorado’s two highest peaks! The Pastime, located at 120 W. 2nd Street, is the perfect place to ditch the avenue crowds and catch up with old friend in town for LSJ.
So, there you have it, your Lead Vegas report for the Ski Joring Weekend. Have fun, stay safe, and remember don’t drink and drive. We’d tell you to call a cab, but there are none in Lead Vegas, not even Uber . . . someone’s gotta fix that!
LT Contributor Ted B.K. Halley believes every day should be Leadville Ski Joring!