Santa Sightings, Festive Events and Promotions to Ring in the Holidays in the High Country
As temperatures drop in the mountains and the weather forecast finally says snow, Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) resorts are ready to ring in the winter holidays with lodging packages, fun family activities, and a variety of festive holiday events. Featuring sleigh rides, torchlight parades, holiday fine dining on the mountain, skiing with Santa in his natural habitat, and New Year’s fireworks across the state, guests at Colorado’s ski resorts can celebrate the winter holidays as they were meant to be experienced.
Below are highlights of some of the holiday activities and programs visitors to CSCUSA resorts can enjoy in the coming weeks:
Santa and his Elf Visit, December 24
Celebrate Christmas Eve with the A-Basin family. Santa is rumored to be making an appearance from 10 am to noon in the base area and will be taking some turns with his elf and anyone who wants to join. Santa’s journey will include stops in the A-Frame, the Pika Place Learning Area and the Molly Hogan Learning Area early in his visit to A-Basin. After visiting the skiers and riders in the Learning Areas, he will head up the Black Mountain Express Chairlift for some turns on the lower mountain followed by a lap or two on the Pali Chair. You may even see him around lunchtime in the Black Mountain Lodge. The Summit Choral Society will be spreading cheer throughout the Base Area Plaza and A-Frame with Christmas Carols from 10 am to noon.
For more information, go to arapahoebasin.com/events.
New Year’s Eve in the Mountains, December 31
Ring in 2017 with a special dinner by Chef Christopher Rybak in a beautiful mountain setting. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with New York at 10 pm with live music, a glass of champagne, party favors and a balloon drop. Part of A-Basin’s Moonlight Dinner Series, this dinner features an extensive four-course menu with a variety of foods to fit any palate. Limited seats remain and this dinner will sell out, so reserve your space now and bring in 2017 in elegant mountain style. For more information, go to arapahoebasin.com/dinners.
12 Days of Aspen, December 20-31
During the 12 Days of Aspen, charming downtown Aspen becomes a winter wonderland of holiday cheer. From free ice skating, visits with Santa, and Santa’s reindeer to s’more-making parties, art, ornament-making, and stocking-decorating workshops, the 12 Days of Aspen provides a great afternoon activity or fun après-ski entertainment for locals and visitors. The celebration finishes on New Year’s Eve with two fireworks shows over Aspen Mountain amid prix fixed dinners and free flowing champagne parties. For more information, visit aspenchamber.org.
The Holidays in Snowmass, December 6-31
December 6-24, children with a Christmas wish can write their own personal letter to Santa and drop it off in Santa’s Mailbox located on the Snowmass Mall. The Snowmass Sun will feature select letters in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Snowmass Village lights up for the holiday season on Saturday, December 10 at 5:30 pm with the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Snowmass Chapel. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to celebrate the kick-off with cookies, hot chocolate and carols.
The Snowmass Village Mall and Base Village will come alive with Santa’s Magical Village from December 21-24 between 2 pm and 4 pm daily. Boys and girls can take complimentary photos with Santa and holiday carolers will be on-hand to sing favorite songs such as “T’was the Night Before Christmas,” “Little Drummer Boy,” and “Oh Holy Night.”
On New Year’s Eve, guests and locals are invited to experience the Torchlight Parade and Fireworks. The Torchlight Parade will begin at 5:45 pm and anyone eight years or older is invited to be part of the trail of lights down Snowmass mountain. Later in the evening, a fireworks show will take place over Snowmass Village at 10 pm.
New Year’s Eve at the Limelight Hotel, December 31
In conjunction with Aspen 82, the Limelight Hotel is hosting a New Year’s Eve shindig from 9:30 pm to 2 am that will include two DJs, an open bar with high-end liquor and Veuve Clicquot champagne as well as plenty of hors d’oeuvres. Early bird pricing starts at $150/person.
Santa to Visit Cooper
Santa Claus will be paying a visit to Cooper again this year. Bring your Christmas wishes to Mr. Claus’s sleigh near the Children’s Center. His schedule is busy this time of year, so keep an eye on skicooper.com for the exact date and time of his visit.
Christmas and New Year’s Eve Celebrations
Cooper will become a holiday hotspot on Saturday, Christmas Eve, with fresh-baked Christmas cookies, eggnog, hot toddies, live Christmas carols and a model train running around a trimmed tree. The fun doesn’t end with Christmas, on New Year’s Eve there will be an apres-ski New Year’s Eve celebration, complete with appetizers and a champagne toast. For more information visit skicooper.com.
Christmas at Copper, December 24
Christmas Eve brings along another visit from Santa himself, as well as a children’s Glowstick Pageant and a Torchlight Parade down the Main Vein trail. This is a chance for guests to meet Santa and enjoy holiday festivities in Burning Stones Plaza. Before you head home to set out the milk and cookies for old St. Nick, enjoy a festive fireworks display over the mountain.
New Year’s Eve Celebration, December 31
Say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017 with a USASA Rail Jam, a children’s Glowstick Pageant, a Torchlight Parade and – of course – a mountain-side fireworks display. Elevate the evening with a special holiday Moonlight Dine & Ski. Guests can take the American Eagle chairlift up to Solitude Station and enjoy a fine dining experience. Post-dinner board or ski down the mountain by moonlight and gather for a celebratory cocktail in Center Village.
For more information about holiday events at Copper, visit www.coppercolorado.com.
Grandest Christmas Package
Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR)’s Grandest Christmas package features four nights of lodging at The Grand Lodge and three days of skiing or riding at CBMR for a family of four (2 adults and 2 kids 17 and under) for $1099, plus tax and fees. Dazzling twinkle lights line Elk Avenue, ice sculptures adorn the base area, and crowds gather for the Torchlight Parade as skiers wind down the mountain on Christmas Eve. The Grand Lodge is located just 350 steps from the chairlift, making first tracks on Christmas morning a definite possibility. To book, visit http://www.skicb.com/deals.
Santa Day, December 10
Crested Butte Mountain Resort is sponsoring a “Santa Ski and Crawl” in an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the number of skiers in full Santa costumes. Participants need to be decked out in a full Santa suit in order to participate. CBMR is offering $23 lift tickets for those in full costume and lodging deals for participants when booking with Crested Butte Vacations. The Santa suit must have a top, bottom, hat and beard. You can make your own suit, use an old one or purchase one from us. After the group ski, a pub crawl will start on the mountain and finish at various watering holes in downtown Crested Butte. More information can be found at www.cbsantacrawl.com
Light Up Night, December 10
Join us at the Lodge at Mountaineer Square for some holiday cheer from 6 pm to 8 pm. Hot chocolate will be provided and s’mores can be roasted over fire pits. Santa will be there to hear what is on your wish list and to have photos taken with kids.
Holiday Crafts, December 19-23
Take the whole family over to Coal Breaker Coffee Co. – Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s newest culinary outlet – for some fun and free decorative holiday crafts. Kick off your holiday spirit while crafting your own holiday cheer. Holiday crafts will be available from 3 pm to 4 pm daily at Coal Breaker Coffee Co, located within the Treasury Center at the base area.
Christmas Eve at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, December 24
Resort guests can watch Santa come down the mountain in a sleigh pulled by a snowcat and then stay to watch the Crested Butte Ski and Ride School perform their famous torchlight parade down the front side of the mountain. Santa will be on the Butte 66 deck to take photos with kids.
Christmas Dinner at Uley’s Cabin, December 25
Uley’s Cabin is an epicurean adventure in Crested Butte and is hosting a special Christmas meal to bring good cheer. Guests will board a sleigh ride to a cabin nestled in the woods, where a five-course prix fixed dinner and a roaring fire wait. The entire meal has a French flair, making each course unique, yet familiar in that the cuisine is definitively Colorado, evocative of the valley in which you’ll be dining. We invite you to experience something that is both adventurous, yet comforting. Reservations can be made at www.skicb.com/uleys. For more information about holiday events and promotions at Crested Butte, visit www.skicb.com.
Annual Ugly Sweater or Elf Costume Contest, December 24
Eldora Mountain Resort will be hosting its 3rd Annual Ugly Sweater or Elf Costume Contest. Break out your best ugly sweater and join other holiday enthusiasts for our group picture. Then take a run or two and end your day with a party on the deck with live music with food and drink specials in the bar. There will be prizes for the best ugly sweaters and elf costumes. For more information, visit www.eldora.com.
Holidays at the Ranch, December 23 and 24
Visit Santa at the base from Noon to 2 pm daily and catch him on the slopes from 2:30 pm to 3:45 pm. Meet at the bottom of the Quick Draw at 3:45 pm to join the Santa Ski Down where you can take the last run of the day with other skiers and riders led by Santa. Following your day of skiing and riding, visitors to Granby Ranch can celebrate Christmas Eve with a service at the Base Lodge at 5 pm on December 24.
New Year’s Eve Festivities, December 31
Granby Ranch guests can ring in the New Year at a family dance party from 5 pm to 10 pm. A glow stick parade, torchlight parade, and fireworks begin at 6 pm. Enjoy a special three-course meal at Granby Ranch Grill or do New Year’s Eve in style at the VIP Party for those over 21. For more information, visit www.granbyranch.com.
Ski and Ride Loveland with Santa
Skiers and snowboarders who venture to Loveland around Christmas time can find themselves riding the lifts and slopes with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Visit www.skiloveland.com for more information.
Santa Skis Monarch, December 24
Santa skis, snowboards, and spreads Christmas cheer all-day on Christmas Eve. Photo ops with children are available, if you can catch him on the mountain.
New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Show, December 31
Skiers and riders are invited to participate in the 36th annual torch parade at Monarch Mountain. Festivities will kick off around sunset with music, food and drink specials all culminating in an incredible fireworks display over the mountain. For more information, visit www.skimonarch.com.
New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade and Fireworks, December 31
Powderhorn Mountain Resort will host its annual Torchlight Parade and fireworks on New Year’s Eve. There will be live music and drink specials all evening. Join us during the day for our Kids Multi Week Programs Preview Day. Pick your program, meet the coaches, and visit with other skiers and snowboarders over pizza and then head out on the hill for the Torchlight Parade. For more information, visit www.powderhorn.com.
Celebrate the Holidays with Friends and Family at Purgatory Resort in Durango
Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit the ski beach, arriving via horse-drawn sleigh so the reindeer can rest up, on Saturday, December 24. Guests will enjoy a special Christmas dinner buffet, live music, holiday kids’ movies, après ski hot cocoa and s’mores, Kids Night Out at the Den Childcare Center, and more throughout the holiday week. Special events during Christmas week include: Never Summer snowboard demos, Specialty Cocktail Hours and Scotch Tastings, “Picasso & Vino” painting classes, Holiday Wreath Making, and more.
New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade and Fireworks
Purgatory Resort will usher in the New Year with a Torchlight Parade and fireworks display, followed by a New Year’s Eve party with Durango’s favorite blues band. The Den Childcare Center offers a special celebration for children. Resort guests can enjoy horse-drawn sleigh rides, alpenglow snowshoe tours with spectacular views, dog sledding, and more fun on the snow. For more information and packages, visit www.skipurg.com.
Steamboat Holiday Festival, December 18
Resort guests can celebrate the holiday season Steamboat style by watching Santa ride down the slopes on horseback and meeting some of his reindeer friends. Guests can participate in the stocking scramble and collect free holiday treats at surrounding stores and restaurants. Additional festivities include cookie decorating and a special holiday concert. The party continues after dark with a torchlight parade and fireworks followed by night skiing.
Holiday Sleighride Dinners, December 24-31
When the sun sets, the adventure begins. Take a snowcat-drawn sleigh ride under the stars to Ragnar’s, where you’ll enjoy a spectacular Scandinavian five-course dinner. Enjoy a luxury snowcat ride to Four Points Lodge, where northern Italian favorites will be served family style. Or leave the snowcats behind and enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride at Haymaker with beautiful views of the mountain.
Torchlight Parade and Fireworks, December 31
To ring in the New Year, the Steamboat Snowsports School treats guests to spectacular on-snow parades down the mountain lit only by torches. In conjunction with the torchlight parade, a fireworks display will illuminate the sky, providing a perfect ending to the evening.
Christmas Brunch and New Year’s Eve Dinner at Hazie’s
Guests at Steamboat can celebrate on top of the mountain and enjoy a fabulous holiday brunch at Hazie’s restaurant featuring eggs benedict, bourbon French toast, thick-cut maple bacon, hand-carved meats, soups and salads, fruits and cheeses, and a mouthwatering dessert display including a chocolate fountain. In addition, on December 31, Hazie’s will be hosting a mountaintop six-course dining experience with complimentary admission to the Korbel New Year’s Eve Party.
For more information, visit www.steamboat.com.
Sunlight Mountain Resort
Free Ride Demo Days with Santa, December 17-18
Sunlight Mountain Resort hosts its annual Free Ride Demo Days with Santa winter party on December 17-18. Take a spin on the latest skis and snowboards for free all weekend long, plus kids can take a run with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 17. Plus, Sunlight and Bighorn Toyota will be giving away a pair of Sunlight’s Limited Edition 50th Anniversary skis and snowboard by Meier. Follow Sunlight on Facebook for updates on events and giveaways. For more information visit www.sunlightmtn.com.
Opening Day Weekend/New Year’s Bash, December 30- January 1
Guests visiting Silverton for opening weekend can ring in the new year with packages starting as low as $449 that include three days of guided skiing, daily lunch and apres drinks, a welcome party and a huge New Year’s Eve bash. Silverton limits its daily visitors so it is a great place to avoid holiday crowds and focus on what matters: steeps and powder. For more information visit http://silvertonmountain.com
Mountain Village Holiday Prelude, December 17
Telluride’s Mountain Village will be transformed into the North Pole for this year’s Holiday Prelude celebration. The day will be full of holiday movies, train rides, Santa, live reindeer, ice skating and more. The Telluride Conference Center will come alive with decorations, lights and more from 1 pm to 5 pm as it converts into Santa’s Workshop. Children can share their Christmas List with Santa, make holiday ornaments and enjoy holiday classics such as Mickey’s Magical Christmas, the Polar Express and How the Grinch Stole Christmas with free hot chocolate and popcorn. Parents can relax in the Parents’ Lounge. Other activities will include a free train ride throughout Mountain Village, a live Reindeer petting area, an official tree lighting ceremony with Santa and carolers and the North Pole on Ice, a performance by the Telluride Figure Skating Club. For more information, visit www.tellurideskiresort.com.
Winter Park Resort
Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Show, December 24
A Christmas Eve tradition since 1978, the slopes of Winter Park will be aglow with the annual Torchlight Parade and fireworks show. The Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade is one of the most beloved Winter Park traditions. The event begins with Christmas carols around the bonfire at the base of Winter Park Resort, next to the Zephyr Lift at 4 pm. At 5:30 pm, a procession of torch-bearing skiers and riders begin their way down Lower Hughes trail, followed by Santa Claus and his merry helpers. A spectacular fireworks display and snowcats adorned with Christmas colors light up the slopes in a Christmas tree formation to conclude the festivities.
Immediately following the show at 6 pm, visitors are welcome to attend Christmas Eve interdenominational services located in the lower level of the Balcony House and Catholic Church services located in West Portal Level 4. Services are scheduled to last about an hour.
Santa can also be found both in the Village as well as on the slopes in the days leading up to Christmas Eve. For more information, visit http://www.winterparkresort.com.
Visit from Santa, December 24-25
Santa will make his annual visit to Wolf Creek during one of the snowiest months. While the reindeer take a rest, Santa will be delivering toys and exploring the mountain greeting guests, spreading holiday cheer and handing out traditional Christmas candy canes. Visit http://wolfcreekski.com for more information.