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The Crystal Grotto is an igloo auditorium at Beaver Creek Resort at the end of the Centennial Ski Lift and across from the Spruce Saddle Restaurant. Every weekend, the venue offers $10, 45-minute performances at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. for guests with lift tickets or foot passes.
We caught the 3 p.m. Saturday show that featured local band The Laughing Bones. The 125-seat venue is made entirely of snow and ice, but offers cushions to sit on so you don’t freeze your butt off. The acoustics of the auditorium, which took about six weeks to build, were amazing. There was a baby on the other side of the room that started crying, but it sounded like the child was right next to us. Besides the shape and seating of the venue, the most remarkable thing you’ll notice are the ice instruments. There’s an acoustic guitar, a set of bubble drums, a bass, an ice xylophone, a banjo and an ice rolandophone, all lit and occupying the middle of the venue. Amazing.
The show consisted mostly of cover songs ranging from Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” to Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” and “Folsom Prison Blues.” Since children 12 years old and under were able to get in free to the 3 p.m. show, the band catered to the young audience by playing “Puff the Magic Dragon,” “Linus and Lucy (Peanuts Gang Theme)” and campfire favorite “Iko Iko.”
Although 45 minutes is pretty short for a concert, the band is able to fill that time with back-to-back songs and hardly any commentary, making for a fun and entertaining experience within one of the coolest (pun intended) venues you’ll ever encounter.