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Pajarito Mountain ready for 'big summer party'

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By Phil Scherer

Los Alamos County’s unofficial kickoff to summer will take place this weekend, as Pajarito Mountain hosts its annual SummerFest this Saturday.

Jeffrey Bold, an employee with Pajarito Mountain, described the event as a “big summer party to celebrate the end of a successful ski season, and the beginning of a successful summer season.”

SummerFest, which has been a tradition in Los Alamos for decades, features live music, 14 microbreweries, as well as access to the ski lifts for both hikers and bikers.

In addition, there will be fun events taking place throughout the day, such as a disc golf tournament, downhill bike race, and a poker run.

People participating in the poker run will receive a playing card each time they go up the ski lift, and can collect an unlimited number of cards while the ski lifts are open from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

At the end of the day, the poker run participants will get together and compare cards to figure out who compiled the best poker hand throughout the day.

One of the biggest draws of SummerFest is its array of local microbreweries in the Beer Garden, which contributes to an atmosphere Bland described as a “massive beer festival.”

For $20, people will be able to access the area, and will be given a voucher for a free pint of beer.

However, Bold said that visitors will be able to receive free tastes from all of the breweries on top of that free pint, making the entrance fee even more valuable.

Despite the alcohol in the Beer Garden, other areas of the event are “definitely family friendly,” according to Bold.

The live music provides an atmosphere that the entire family can enjoy. Live music begins at 1 p.m. with a performance by Mondo Vibrations with special guest LA Jazz Project. Live music will continue until 6 p.m.

This is one of the three main festivals held each year at Pajarito Mountain, along with one in the spring and one in the winter.

Though all of the festivals are well attended, Bold said that this is one is special because it is “the absolute biggest day of the summer season.”

The cost to ride the ski lifts will be $25 for bikers and $10 for hikers.

Once at the top of the mountain, the only way to get back to the bottom is on your own power, either by bike or on foot. There will be no rides to the bottom of the mountain on the lifts.

Bold said that hikers can either spend a few hours exploring the multitude of trails on the mountain, or can begin their descent immediately, traversing down the 1,200 feet of vertical elevation back to festivities at the bottom of the mountain.

While people are there, they can also enjoy food at the café, which will be open for lunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. They can also visit the retail shop in the business office, which is now fully stocked for the season.

He added that although it has been nice to get a small break between ski season and the summer season, the employees at Pajarito Mountain are anxious to get going after months of hard work and preparation for this weekend.

He said, “We are all really anxious to get going again for a successful summer season.”