As more Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) resorts open for the season and snow totals keep piling up from early season storms, resorts are preparing for robust holiday visits with family activities, unique offerings, and a variety of jubilant events and programs to celebrate the season. From kids ski free specials to competing in a gingerbread house competition to taking a ski lesson from Santa himself, visitors to Colorado’s ski slopes will find plenty of good holiday tidings this season.
Following are highlights of some of the holiday activities and programs skiers and snowboarders visiting CSCUSA resorts can look forward to in the coming weeks:
A-Basin will be introducing a new “Kids Ski Free” program valid December 1-20, 2013. Kids (14 and under) ski or ride free with no strings attached. An adult can just walk up to an A-Basin ticket window and request a child lift ticket (a $32 value) any day during the valid time period to participate in the program. Arapahoe Basin opened the Pika Learning Place for kids last season. This area has a small conveyor lift making it easy for children to load. The gentle decline of the area makes it easy for children to proceed slowly down the hill with little worry of going too fast as they accelerate their skiing abilities. This season, A-Basin has also added a new kid’s trail as part of Ace’s Wild Adventure. Mountain Goat Alley is located at mid-mountain and is a fun way to ski tree-lined terrain while following Ace’s tracks to signage educating children on the animals, trees, plants, seasons and bio-zones of Arapahoe Basin.
In addition, Santa will make an appearance at Arapahoe Basin on December 21, celebrating the solstice on custom telemark skis hand-crafted by Santa’s helpers at his North Pole workshop. For more information, visit http://www.arapahoebasin.com.
The Little Nell is proud to celebrate the holiday season in Aspen with its first annual Tree Lighting Celebration on Sunday, December 22, from 5-6 p.m. The event will take place in the hotel’s courtyard at the base of Ajax and is open to the community as well as hotel guests. Complimentary hot chocolate and cookies will be provided, with carolers singing festive tunes. Santa and his live reindeer will make an appearance on their whirlwind tour of Colorado’s ski resorts.
An Ugly Sweater competition will be held, with prizes given to the best (i.e. worst) holiday sweater. Prizes will include a private table at Chair 9, the hotel’s new après ski bar. An Ugly Sweater Party will be held following the tree lighting at Chair 9 with continued live music. All those wearing ugly sweaters will receive a complimentary hot cider (with some jolly holiday rum for those over 21). For more information, visit http://www.aspensnowmass.com.
From November 29 – December 1, Copper will be celebrating the remodel of its innovative Woodward training facility. The Woodward Remix Weekend includes free public Woodward Barn Sessions all weekend long, BMX and skate demos and free Kidz skate jams. Professional athletes such as Curren Caples, Anthony Napolitan, Louie Lopez, Zack Warden and members of the U.S. Freeskiing and U.S. Snowboarding teams will be on hand to meet fans. What better way to work off that third helping of Thanksgiving turkey than at the Annual Yam Jam by jibbing on Woodward at Copper’s progressive rail set up? There will also be a free concert and after-party in the Woodward at Copper Barn on Saturday, Nov. 30. Santa even RSVPed and will be at Copper for the lighting of the Christmas tree, followed by fireworks and hot chocolate. For more information on Woodward Remix Weekend, visit www.CopperColorado.com/Remix.
During the Twelve Days of Copper from December 20-31, there will be enough holiday cheer to go around with activity, après and dining specials, and discounts at Copper’s retail establishments. On Dec 21 – 22, top freeskiers and snowboarders from around the globe will compete to qualify for the 2014 Olympics at the Sprint Grand Prix Finals. On Dec 24, bring the family out for the torchlight parade and fireworks. Then on Friday, watch athletes hitting Copper’s progressive rails to qualify for the X-Games at the Rocky Mountain Series Rail Jam on Dec 27.
Lastly, ring in 2014 at Copper with a bevy of New Year’s Eve festivities. Grab your hot cocoa and hot toddies for the New Year’s Eve Rail Jam or grab a good seat by the bonfire for the torchlight parade, fire dancers and fireworks shows. More details to come; see http://www.coppercolorado.com/winter/events_and_activities/calendar/ for more information about Copper’s winter events.
Rock on Ice has become an annual holiday tradition at Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR), with nationally recognized ice sculptors flown in to decorate Mountaineer Square and other locations around the mountain with beautifully crafted ice creations, many illuminated for evening viewing. Watch the artists at work from Dec. 17 – 21.
View the entries in Mt. Crested Butte Town Center Association’s annual Gingerbread House Competition at CBMR from Dec. 21 – 28. There are kids, adults and professional categories with entries due on Dec. 20 for anyone interested in getting creative and sharing some sweet holiday goodness.
Watch Santa’s sleigh pulled by a snowcat as he travels down the mountain at CBMR on Christmas Eve and takes a break from his busy schedule to hand out candy canes. Stay to watch Crested Butte Ski and Ride School present a torchlight parade down the front side of the mountain. For these CBMR events, visit www.skicb.com/events.
New for this year, Crested Butte Mountain Resort is sponsoring the CB Santa Ski and Crawl on Dec. 14 in hopes of ho-ho-ho-ing into a World Record for the most skiers in full Santa costumes. CBMR is offering $20 lift tickets for participants, who wear a Santa costume for the day. Costumes can be purchased for $9 each on the day of. All Santas will then meet at the Ice Bar at Uley’s Cabin to commence a pub crawl at 2:30 p.m. Santas will then ski down the mountain as a big group and finish in the bars throughout the town of Crested Butte.
Skiing Santa will take a break from his holiday duties to ski at Loveland Ski Area on December 24 and 25. This could be the last chance for kids to make the nice list this year so bring your family to Loveland and carry mom’s skis for a change. For more information, visit http://skiloveland.com/.
Bring the little ones up to Monarch Mountain on December 24 to hang out with Santa as he skis or rides around the mountain. He’ll also be roaming the base area looking for photo opportunities.
Monarch Mountain opens for the 2013-14 season on Saturday, November 23. For more information, visit http://www.skimonarch.com.
Scholarship Day marks the first day of the season with revenues from the day’s specially priced ticket benefiting the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Scholarship Fund. Scholarship Day has raised nearly $740,000 since 1991/92. This fund provides financial support for deserving local children participating in Club programs. In fact, the Winter Sports Club is one of the oldest and most recognized ski clubs in the United States and has been named three times as the United States Ski & Snowboard Association’s Club of the Year. For more information, visit http://my.steamboat.com/events.
December 21-22 is Sunlight’s annual Demo Days with Santa. Santa comes to Sunlight on Saturday to visit with the kids as well as ski with them. The kids are able to sit on Santa’s lap while they tell him what they want for Christmas this year. In the meantime, mom and dad can try out new skis and snowboards to add to their wish list. Some of the vendors include, Meier Skis, Salomon, K2 Skis, Lib Tech Skis, Burton, Never Summer, K2 Snowboards, Lib Tech Snowboards and much more. For more information, visit http://www.sunlightmtn.com.
The Christmas Eve torchlight parade is a favorite tradition at Telluride. Instructors from the Telluride Ski and Snowboard School carry lit torches as they ski and ride down from the top of the mountain illuminating the runs into the Mountain Village Core.
On Christmas day, keep an eye out for Santa on the hill. Then visit Gorrono Ranch, and have your picture taken with the jolly fellow. If you’re good you may even get to take a couple runs with him.
On New Year’s Eve, enjoy the torch light parade and fireworks along with the countdown in front of the court house in downtown Telluride. Telluride Ski and Snowboard School instructors ride down both sides of the mountain carrying lit flares illuminating the ski runs on their way into town and the Mountain Village creating a beautiful scene. A spectacular display of holiday fireworks follows the torchlight parade, and then Main Street is blocked off the annual New Year’s Eve Countdown.
2013 Donation Day at Telluride is November 27, the day before Telluride Ski Resort’s official Opening Day. All skiers and riders, pass-holders or not, will pay $25 to get on the hill with all proceeds going to the Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club. Tickets can be purchased the Oak Street ticket windows and Mountain Village Pass Office. For more information, visit http://www.tellurideskiresort.com/.
On November 28, enjoy a Thanksgiving feast at an elevation of 10,700 feet above sea level with stunning views of the Continental Divide and Fraser Valley. After taking a gondola ride to The Lodge at Sunspot located at the top of Winter Park, visitors can dine on a Thanksgiving buffet that includes turkey with all the trimmings. For one inclusive price ($59.95 for adults/$19.95 for kids 10 and under) guests get the gondola ride, buffet, dessert and a holiday experience they’ll never forget. Reservations are required. Call (970) 726-1446 for information.
Celebrate the holiday season at the sixth annual lighting of the Village at Winter Park’s beautiful Holiday Tree on November 30. The festivities include carolers, a visit from Father Christmas and his reindeer, free cookies for the kids, and the ceremonial lighting of the Village tree, signifying the start of the holidays at Winter Park.
As one of the most beloved Winter Park traditions, the December 24 Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade is much-anticipated by visitors and locals alike. After singing Christmas carols around the bonfire at the base of Winter Park Resort, guests are treated to a procession of torch-bearing skiers and riders that winds its way down Lower Hughes trail, followed by Santa Claus and his merry helpers. The festivities are then brought to a dramatic close with a spectacular fireworks display and snowcats adorned with colors that light up the slopes in a Christmas tree formation.
For more information about Winter Park’s holiday activities, visit http://www.winterparkresort.com.
Several more CSCUSA resorts will be opening for the 2013-14 season in the next week, including Eldora on November 22, Aspen Mountain, Monarch Mountain, and Snowmass on November 23, Crested Butte and Steamboat on November 27, Telluride on November 28, and Durango Mountain Resort on November 29. As more resorts open and more skiers and snowboarders head up for their first turns of the season, safety is paramount. Know your responsibilities on the mountain; it’s the most effective way to have a fun and safe day on the snow. Visit ColoradoSki.com for more information on snowfall totals, resort openings, safety and events.