Gruv into spring at Canyons |

Gruv into spring at Canyons

The annual Spring Gruv events at Canyons Resort are a way to celebrate the change of seasons, said Steve Pastorino, director of public relations for Canyons Resort.

"While we all love our big December and January masses, we also think the spring is a phenomenal time to ski," Pastorino told The Park Record. "The whole mountain is open and the event allows us to put a real spotlight on the fact that the seasons runs all the way into April at Canyons, so we’re very excited for the event."

The fifth annual Spring Gruv will begin on Saturday, March 23, and run through Sunday, April 1.

The 10-day celebration will include concerts by Little Feat, John Brown’s Body, Martin Sexton and Orgone, the Operation Smile celebrity race, pond skimming and the Red Bull Schlittentag.

"The event gets bigger every year and we have the two-participant events the pond skimming and the Red Bull Schlittentag to bookend the weekends," Pastorino said.

Pond skimming, which will take place Saturday, March 24, has been a Park City tradition for 16 years. The event features crazy-costumed contestants attempting to ski or snowboard across a 100-foot pond.

"I think it may be a leftover from Spring Break parties because it’s a reflection of the warmer weather," Pastorino said. "People attend under the sun in T shirts and whatever and get a nice cold bath after a run down the hill.

"We construct a little pond for them to do this in," he said with a laugh.

The Red Bull Schlittentag, which will be held on Saturday, March 31, is another wild event that spotlights teams.

The name means "sledding day" in German and requires teams consisting of a pilot and two assistants steering their homemade sleds on the ski beach.

"Sometime it isn’t the big powder-skiing shot that gets people excited to come here and ski," Pastorino said. "Sometimes it’s the lifestyle, and we have to find ways to entertain kids of all ages."

Of course, the Spring Gruv wouldn’t be complete without the concerts.

The Grammy Award-nominated group Little Feat will kick off the concerts with a free show at the resort’s village on March 24 at 3 p.m. The opening band will be Fox Street All Stars. On March 25, reggae band John Brown’s Body will take the stage. On March 31 (see story titled "Reggae to highlight Spring Gruv Sunday"), singer and songwriter Martin Sexton will perform and on April 1, jam band Orgone will close Spring Gruv 2012.

"Little Feat is such an iconic, American rock ‘n’ roll band and have been around forever," Pastorino said. "They have their roots back East and connected over the years with the Grateful Dead jam-band movement. They are great musicians and to have a band of that caliber on our stage in the village speaks to what Spring Gruv has become.

The band appeals to the older end of Canyon’s demographic, Pastorino said.

"But a performer like Martin Sexton or Johns Brown’s Body appeal to younger guests at our resort who are looking for bands that are hot and contemporary right now," he explained. "Martin is making a name in the folk and Americana genres," Pastorino said. "John Brown’s Body is a great, fun reggae band that has been here before and Orgone is a new band coming into its own, so, there is something for everybody."

In addition, March 24 is the day set aside to benefit the People’s Health Clinic, the community-supported medical clinic that provides medical services to uninsured individuals and families who reside in Summit and Wasatch counties.

With a $200 donation to the clinic, a Spring Gruv attendee will get valet parking, use of a private ski locker, a continental breakfast, priority lift privileges and VIP access to the pond skimming event and a private-deck viewing of the Little Feat concert.

"We are constantly approached by organizations in the community for fundraisers and we try to say yes everywhere we can," Pastorino said. "In the People’s Health Clinic’s case, we decided to get a little more creative. We wanted to get them more involved in creating the ultimate Spring Gruv day. PHC is a great community entity and they do so much for us and a few things came together and we were excited to have them on board," he said.

On March 31, Spring Gruv will feature another event, the Operation Smile celebrity ski race.

"Billy Bush of ‘Access Hollywood’ will be the host," Pastorino said. "He is one of the ambassadors for the charity Operation Smile."

Operation Smile provides free surgeries to repair cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities for children around the globe.

Bush approached Canyons during film-festival week in January with the idea.

"With a fairly quick turnaround, they are bringing a number of TV and film celebrities up to the Park City for the weekend," Pastorino said.

The race will include past and present Olympians such as Billy Demong, Fuzz Feddersen, Kaylin Richardson, Derek Parra, Erik Schlopy, Holly Flanders and Tracy Evans, as well as celebrities Katherine Heigl, Whitney Cummings, Lucky Hale, Lisa Kudrow, Kate Walsh and Scott Wolf.

"There will be the race, but also a celebration dinner in a private home in Deer Valley that night," Pastorino said.

March 31 also marks the Spring Gruv/Winter Sports Alliance Benefit Day that will include a sponsor expo and the Orgone concert.

Discounted $30 lift tickets will be available through YWSA and available by visiting

"We’re in such a competitive industry and resorts are always trying to one-up each other and provide more value," Pastorino said. "Canyons has developed the reputation for being a great place for music, especially in the summer, but now we’re opening it up in the spring. People have come to know that Canyons is a fun place to hang out during the last month of the seasons and Spring Gruv is responsible for that."

Canyons Resort will host the fifth annual Spring Gruv that runs from March 24 through April 1. For more information, visit

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