With WinterWonderGrass celebrating its 10th birthday this month, the team and musicians behind the annual bluegrass festival in Steamboat Springs (March 3 to 5; from $109, kids 12 and under free) have had a decade to perfect staying warm. Here are their hottest tips.

No Love For Gloves

Mittens trump gloves because they allow the heat from your hands to spread evenly across your fingers, meaning no more icy pinkies. WinterWonderGrass vendor manager Nina Waters recommends finding a waterproof pair for when you inevitably slosh your beer while dancing.

Drink Up

And we mean more than just beer, though there’s plenty of that (including at the complimentary tastings inside the beer halls each afternoon). If hot drinks and a little whiskey can keep Mama Magnolia frontwoman Megan Letts’ vocal cords warm, they’re sure to keep yours in singalong shape, too. Find both at the Depot Coffee bar next to the Soapbox Tent.

Socked In

Puffy coats are the most obvious garments for keeping warm, but Andy Dunnigan, lead singer for Montana-born newgrass band Lil Smokies, doesn’t have that luxury: They restrict moving and grooving. Instead, his on-stage getup starts with a really good pair of socks. Pro tip: Pack a second pair to layer on if the temperature dips.

Inside Job

The main stage may be outdoors, but the festival site includes three heated performance tents slash beer halls. WinterWonderGrass founder Scotty Stoughton advises catching a show inside and ordering a pint from Steamboat’s Storm Peak Brewing to soak up as much warmth as possible before heading back to the main stage.

Hot Pockets

The show goes on whether it’s a bluebird day or a blizzard. So it’s best to dress like you’re hitting the slopes, even if you don’t plan to ski, with a wool base layer top, thick long johns, midlayers, and a down jacket. Waters also suggests strategically placing some chemical hand warmers around your jacket, as well as in your mittens and boots.

Just Dance

Not that you’ll need another reason to boogie to the likes of the Infamous Stringdusters and Greensky Bluegrass, but dancing keeps your blood flowing. Bonus points if you don something snazzy like an ’80s snowsuit or animal onesie, says Greensky mandolin player Paul Hoffman. You’ll be stylish on the slopes and easy to find in the festival crowd.

This article was originally published in 5280 March 2023.
Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer is an award-winning writer and editor based in Denver. You can find more of her work at daliahsinger.com.