This month features a wedding at the dramatically beautiful but oxygen-deprived Arapahoe Basin Ski Area back in August. Next month we’ll journey south to some incredible Douglas County wedding venues.
By “highest ever”, I mean the highest altitude I’ve ever DJed a wedding. To be exact 11,550 feet above sea level is the elevation of Arapahoe Basin’s Black Mountain Lodge. This lodge is well known with skiers and is used as a cafeteria / restaurant during ski season. To be honest, I’ve skied at A-Basin many times and have had many a midday lunch break inside the Black Mountain Lodge, and never really thought of it as a wedding venue. I guess it’s hard to imagine these things when there is four feet of snow on the ground and sub-zero wind chills. But no doubt, this is an awesome place to get married.
Emmy & Grant are certainly the outdoor types. They enjoy skiing (they had skis as part of their centerpieces), and wanted to show their guests some amazing Colorado scenery. I’ve known Emmy’s mother Rhonda for many years as she is one of Northern Colorado’s top floral designers (Florals By Rhonda), and the flowers she did for her daughter’s wedding were pretty incredible. After the ceremony on the south-facing deck overlooking the world famous cirque A-Basin is known for (above), guests enjoyed a cocktail hour on the west-facing patio (at left) before moving inside for dinner. I had music going in all three locations, so it was a busy afternoon.
Guests arrived and departed the lodge via the nearby chairlift as the lodge was half up the mountain, and the only road up is a two-mile, boulder-strewn 4WD adventure reserved for employees and service vehicles. The reception, which lasted well into the evening (here’s Emmy and her father David enjoying a dance together) was inside thankfully, as it got quite chilly after sunset with rain mixing with snow by the time I was loading out. Snow was even dusting the higher peaks which is not unusual at this altitude in August.
The only two weddings that I’ve done recently that come close to this as far as altitude is concerned are Mark & Lindsay’s 2010 wedding on the Vail Wedding Deck (at left) and John & Angela’s 2007 celebration at Winter Park’s Sunspot Lodge (below). Both are in the 10,600-foot range. At these altitudes, you need to take precautions, such as providing your guests with plenty of bottled water during the ceremony, possibly having an oxygen tank handy for some of the older folks from lower altitudes, and going easy on the alcohol. Remember one beer at sea level has the effect of two at 5,000 feet and three at 10,000 feet.