New Year’s Eve 2018 at Alpental Ski Resort, With the Staxx Brothers
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, headsets on, cord attached to the turntable….
I drop the needle, listen for the familiar crackle and then my ears begin to slowly fill with the lyrics and melody of Auld Lang Syne. “Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?”. A song derived from a 1788 Scottish poem by Robert Burns. The basic essence reflecting on the preservation of our dearest and oldest friendships. The only outstanding memory I have of my childhood New Year’s Eve is of this song. I was probably about 10 years old, standing in my pajamas and clutching a plastic horn, counting down to midnight with Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve. When the clock struck midnight, the people on tv started singing ‘Auld lang Syne.”. I was suddenly hit with a wave of emotion and my eyes flooded with tears. At that early age, I did not understand my emotional reaction, because I had yet to say a permanent goodbye to anyone I loved. But I felt what the music was trying to tell me. Appreciate and love the important people in your life.
Other than that memory, New Year’s Eve is a pretty forgettable experience. Especially after I turned 21 😉. No, but seriously, I don’t recall any WOW, that was a cool night. UNTIL, 2013, when I became a part time resident up at Alpental/Summit at Snoqualmie Ski Resort on Snoqualmie Pass, WA. My red, vinyl bean bag chair lived in my childhood bedroom, on our small wheat farm in Eastern Washington. After both of my parents passed away, we sold the farm, and I reinvested part of my old life, into part of my new life. A ski condo at Alpental! The Summit at Snoqualmie ski resort is less than an hour east of Seattle, on I90. Not only is it a ski resort, it is a year-round community. Hiking in the summer is just as fun as skiing in the winter. The Alpental Ski Lodge is the location for the various holiday celebrations. Cinco de Mayo, Oktoberfest and New Year’s Eve. Live music, food, beer and FUN! Bringing in the New Year at Alpental, has quickly become one of my favorite yearly traditions. What a fantastic way to start a new year!
December 31st, 2017, Alpental Ski Lodge
I always look forward to seeing who the band will be at the New Year’s Eve Party. This year it was a double bonus. The Staxx Brothers were the band, AND it is the 50th Anniversary of Alpental! The Staxx Brothers are a Seattle band, whose music I would describe as Rock and Roll with Soul. I heard them play for the first time at a previous Alpental NYE Party. I loved their high energy, wild rhythm. They are also Band in Seattle alumni. Band in Seattle is a live audience videotaping, showcasing up and coming local talent. If you scroll back to my June archives, you will see my blog on how I attended a Band in Seattle taping for my birthday this last year. A total blast! Also, December 2016, the Staxx Brothers were in the Band in Seattle Christmas Show with my music family, Jessica Lynne and the Cousins. Along with Sundae and Mr. Goessel, plus other great local musicians. I love that special connection. You can check out all their episodes on the Band in Seattle YouTube Channel. As soon as the NYE tickets became available, I bought one. I also purchased a cool, limited edition Alpental 50th Anniversary scarf. And lo and behold, I also won the VIP NYE tickets and dinner for two at Webb’s restaurant, through the Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum fundraising auction. I was set!
New Year’s Eve arrived, we packed up the car and drove up to Snoqualmie Pass for the night. Our condo is walking distance to Alpental, so we enjoyed some fun pre-function before heading out for the NYE Party.
By the time we arrived, the band was already in full swing. The Staxx Brothers don’t just play their music, they PERFORM it. The first time I was jamming with the band, Davin Stedman was wearing a black choir robe. He was leading us in some soul charging rock church in the ski lodge. It was a full on ROCKIN’ revival! The unique thing about listening to music at Alpental, is that there is not a separation between you and the band. You can dance right next to them. That creates a very personal experience, where you can become one with the band and their music.
The next time I came out to dance, Davin was rocking a Christmas sweater. And the last time? Well, I guess Alpental doesn’t have a ‘no shirt, no shoes’ policy. He was baring his ‘soul’. The place was packed, with festive, gyrating bodies, grooving’ to the rhythm. The Staxx Brothers create such a massive amount of energy, it’s impossible to stand still. You just gotta dance. The entire Alpental resort was open, so there was plenty of room to spread out, dance, talk, drink and have fun!
And I want to give a special shout out and thank you to Andy Cantor, marketing manager of Summit at Snoqualmie. Along with Sales Manager Noelle Blazevich. I always appreciate the challenging work that goes into creating these events. Uhm yeah… I’m one that is always asking for MORE LIVE MUSIC!
The wonderful thing about the Alpental Holiday Parties, is that they are open to everyone. It’s a perfect opportunity for picturesque photos, along with just having ski bum fun.
As midnight approached, everyone headed outside for the downhill ski torchlight parade. Huddled around the fire-pits or standing in the lodge balconies.
It’s always so pretty watching the two teams, slowly ski down the slopes, torches held high. Followed by massive fireworks exploding into the crystal-clear sky. Lighting up Alpental Valley. A perfect way to usher in a new year.
But don’t wait until next New Year’s Eve to experience Summit at Snoqualmie, come up now and enjoy all the new businesses and opportunities. I90 East Take Exit 52 to West Summit. I90 West take exit 53 to West Summit. And with the upcoming Winter Olympics, make sure and check out the Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum. It is a fabulous, interactive collection of history, including previous Olympic and Paralympic medals and paraphernalia from 39 athletes. Alpental’s own Debbie Armstrong competed in the 1984 Winter Olympics and walked away with a Gold. And after visiting the WSSM, go next door and taste Dru Bru’s limited Alpental 50th Anniversary brew, Dunkelweiss.
Follow up with dinner at either the Commonwealth Restaurant, Webb’s Mountain Grill, or some delicious take away from the Aardvark Express.
There is always something to do, taste or see up here. And, did I mention I would love to have more live music? That would be awesome. One can never have too much live music!
‘The hills are alive, with the sound of music…’
Scott Harder Instagram Photo
SUSAN IN SEATTTLE
The Staxx Brothers www.staxxbrothers.com
Summit at Snoqualmie www.summitatsnoqualmie.com
The Commonwealth www.thepasslife.com
Dru Bru www.drubru.com
Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum www.wsssm.org
Webb’s Mountain Grill www.summitatsnoqualmie.com
Aardvark Express www.aardvarkxpress.com
Band In Seattle www.bandinseattle.com
Rooftop of Nashville Underground, 105 Broadway
Nashville at Christmastime
As I sit in my red, vinyl beanbag chair, headsets on, cord attached to the turntable….
The holidays bring back a rush of nostalgic memories. My Christmas childhood memories are from our small wheat farm in Eastern Washington. The smell of almond extract, brings back memories of my Mom baking cookies in the kitchen. The scent of fresh evergreen, creates an instant vision of our scraggly tree, covered in silver tinsel. And the music of A Charlie Brown Christmas, is still my favorite.
After being a flight attendant for over 30 years, I have a few cities that I view as ‘home’. Places in the world, that I always feel welcomed during one of my quick visits. Nashville, Tennessee has quickly become one of those destinations. If you scroll back through my archives to September 2017, you will read my blog on how this warm and friendly city has taken over my heart. I create a new flight schedule every month, and one of my goals is to have a layover there every few weeks. I call it soul regeneration. This past December, I was fortunate to have a 30-hour layover there, 4 days before Christmas. I was ecstatic. I knew in my heart, it was going to be a magical experience. And I was right!
December 2017 Nashville, TN
Flying so many Nashville trips these past few months, has gained me a reputation for being a fun tour guide. On this trip, I had two Nashville Newbies; Kathy and Fredrica. When we rolled our suitcases onto the airplane in Seattle, we had no idea the people we would meet and the experiences we would share. It didn’t take long for the musical magic to begin.
During the boarding process, I greeted a lovely couple. Obviously, musicians, as he was carrying a guitar that we stowed in the First-Class closet. As the flight progressed I learned I was correct in my assumption. It was Gospel Rock musician Randy Stonehill and his wife, Leslie. I always enjoy my conversations with musicians and to hear their stories. One of Randy’s stories, is that his song with Amy Grant, “I Could Never Say Goodbye”, was nominated for a Grammy. I was thrilled to hear that, as we had tickets to the Amy Grant and Vince Gill Christmas Show at The Ryman Auditorium the next night. Before the end of the flight, he gifted each of us with a CD. I love the sound of his music, and will be keeping an eye out on his tours in 2018.
After enjoying a full night of sleep (a flight attendant’s dream) we were ready to experience Nashville. Off to the music races we went. The hardest part of Nashville, is trying to enjoy all the music. It’s EVERYWHERE! Each bar is filled with talented musicians.
The weather was pleasant, so we enjoyed roaming in and out of every establishment on Broadway. Being so close to Christmas, everyone was in a gifting mood. Thank you for our new CD John Stone!
Our last bar to visit, before our concert at the Ryman, was the newly opened Nashville Underground. I had been walking by it all summer during its construction, so it was fun to walk in and see it finished.
The minute we walked in, we were greeted with warm and genuine Southern Hospitality. Nashville Underground is the creation of American singer-songwriters Joey and Gavin DeGraw. We were lucky to be there before the official grand opening, so it was not crowded. And we were also lucky enough to meet Joey and his dad Wayne, and spend our entire visit with them! Nashville Underground is a 40, 000 square feet live music venue, that includes a restaurant and bars. 4 stories, boasting the highest, largest and only double deck rooftop on Broadway. When we were there, only the bottom two floors were open to the public. Joey graciously offered to give us a private tour of the entire club. WOW! Now that is some serious Southern Hospitality.
What a beautiful and first-class establishment. The attention to detail was astounding. Every floor offered a unique experience. The bottom floor had a top class 5-piece band performing to a comfortable bar and table area.
The second floor was a quieter restaurant seating, with one of the most phenomenal women’s restrooms. Seriously, women lay on the floor and take a picture of themselves, because it is so pretty! Oh, and numerous bathroom stalls… YAY!! Someone finally understands our needs. The third floor was lit with a video dancefloor, surrounded by a gleaming bar. Immaculate detail everywhere. And then we were up on the incredible top deck. One side has a real lawn with Adirondack chairs to relax on. The other side offered the most stunning view of Broadway and the Cumberland River. Breathtaking.
Joining us were two young women, that he referred to as his adopted little sisters. To have Joey as our tour guide, telling us his vision and journey surrounding its development … I mean, that’s a sign of smart, dedicated and sincere business owner.
At the end of our visit, we were back relaxing in front of the fireplace, talking and laughing with Wayne. I loved that. Here they are, a family of two well known, successful musicians, and they are just hanging out with us. I truly felt welcomed and comfortable. And the staff was excellent. Unfortunately, we never got to experience the food, because we were so busy talking and getting a tour. So, next visit I will be back for dinner. The menu looked mouthwatering. Underground Nashville is going to become THE place to visit, while in Music City.
The icing on our Holiday Cake, was attending The Amy Grant and Vince Gill Christmas Show at The Ryman Auditorium. I had never been inside before. To be sitting in a such a sacred venue, where so many artists had performed was true glory. And what a beautiful performance it was. Genuine, pure and filled with so much love. We found our eyes watering off and on throughout the performance. The talent, the beauty, the feel of family. The real meaning of Christmas, which is Love. And we can even say we sang at The Ryman; along with 2,300 other people to “White Christmas’. It’s hard to describe the beauty and power of the music.
Too soon, it was over, and we were walking back to the hotel. It was good that I had Kathy with me, because she steered me in the right direction, when my body started turning back down to Nashville Underground. It was time to get our Stewardess Beauty Sleep.
In what seemed like a blink of an eye, our airplane landed back in the rainy clouds of Seattle. We all kept looking at each other, “Can you believe what we experienced? How lucky are we.”
My Motto for 2017 was “Expect the Best 2017”. And it fulfilled its destiny. What a wonderful year of music and experiences. It’s a good thing I take a lot of pictures, because it’s hard to absorb it all sometimes.
Thank You for sharing this musical journey with me. I truly hope it is inspiring you to seek The Passion that is in your soul. I’m rested and ready to see where The Music takes me in 2018.
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
Randy Stonehill www.randystonehill.com
Nashville Underground www.nashunderground.com