Aspen/Snowmass, CO, January 20, 2014Australia Day is the official, national day of Australia, celebrated annually on January 26. This day marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships led by Governor Arthur Phillip. Today in Australia, celebrations reflect the diverse society and landscape of the nation and are marked by community and family events with an emphasis on Australian history.

To kick off the celebration here in Aspen/Snowmass, there will be a local Pavlova Contest judged by Australian celebrity chef Neil Perry, on the rooftop of the Residences of the Little Nell, Thursday, January 23 at 2 p.m. Pavlova is a meringue dessert with a crisp crust and soft, light inside, named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova. The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between Australia and New Zealand for many years. The dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of both countries, and with its simple recipe, is frequently served during celebratory and holiday meals. Perry, who is on vacation in Aspen/Snowmass this month, has offered to judge Pavlova desserts submitted by local restaurants such as: Viceroy Snowmass, Caribou Club, The Little Nell and Victoria's Cafe.

Aspen/Snowmass will celebrate Australia Day proper on Sunday, January 26, with festive Australian flag decorations at the gondolas and chairlifts at the base of each of the four mountains. Aspen Mountain will open its gates one hour early at 8 a.m. for the occasion. Also at 8 a.m. a Vegemite eating contest will be held in Gondola Plaza. Aussie Burger, with beetroot, pineapple and fried eggs, will also be offered with beers at a special price for lunch at The Sundeck, Elk Camp Restaurant, Ullrhof and Merry Go Round. Authentic Australian Tim Tam cookies will be given away at guest service stations while supplies last.   

"To celebrate our top international market, Aspen Skiing Company is pulling out all of the stops to start some fun Australia Day traditions," says Lea Tucker, International Public Relations Manager at Aspen Skiing Company

Aspen Skiing Company operates the four mountains in the Aspen/Snowmass area - Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk - as well as the award-winning Ski & Snowboard Schools of Aspen/Snowmass. The area offers unparalleled nightlife and off-slope activities as well. Aspen/Snowmass is accessible by two of the most convenient airports in the mountains – Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) (3 miles from Aspen) and Eagle County Airport (EGE) (70 miles from Aspen). For more information on Aspen Skiing Company, please call 800-525-6200 or 970-925-1220, or visit the company’s website at