By Emily Stifler explorebigsky.com Managing Editor
COOKE CITY – For one weekend in late April, Cooke City, population 140, becomes a hardcore ski town. Or maybe just hardcore.
A few miles northeast of Yellowstone National Park, the remote town at the end of the road is celebrating the 20th annual Sweet Corn Festival this spring, April 19-21, an unofficial event hosted by the Miners Saloon and the High Country Motel.
This year, a new partnership with the Bozeman-based Chamberlin Productions will help grow the fest. Chamberlin, which also hosts the Chamberlin Rail Jam in Big Sky, hosts a “social enterprise,” called Avalaunch, based on avalanche awareness and music.
“Avalaunch wants to promote avalanche awareness with fun,” said owner Tate Chamberlin, who has attended Corn Fest several times in the past.
Chamberlin will set up an avalanche transceiver park and offer prizes that day at the High Country. Companies such as Marmot, Osprey and Geo Optics are on board kicking down swag.
“[Those companies] see the value when we plug in education to the higher percentage of people showing up to events,” Chamberlin said. “It kind of goes viral and makes it more of a social experience, which makes it pretty successful.”
On Saturday night, Bozeman musicians Jesby and David Dalla G, a DJ and hip-hop performer, will play the Miners. It will also be ladies night, with a Miss Corn Fest crowned, according to High Country manager Benji Stone.
“The Miners is going to have special events up their sleeves,” said Stone, whose band, Eldrick, is playing the previous night.
Since there are no chairlifts, participants must have backcountry knowhow and have access to a snowmobile or be willing to hike.
“It’s explosive when you pair ski culture with entertainment in a music-fest fashion,” Chamberlin said. “We’ll start small this year and just see where it goes.”