The Best Ski Resorts for Holiday Celebrations
Winter lives in mountain towns and ski areas. So it only makes sense to celebrate the season and the biggest holiday week of the year in, you guessed it — the high country.
From New Year’s torchlight parades to Santa suits and champagne to fireworks, displays of holiday reverence run deep. And while you’ll find worthy festivities at many locations across the West, a few iconic locales take things to the next level. So before you resort to watching Elf for the third time this month, size up the events calendars at a few of your favorite ski destinations.
Starting the day after Christmas, catch nightly live music at the Heavenly Village Main Stage. But whatever you do, don’t let the kiddos miss the Heavenly Village ice rink shows. Some of their favorite Disney characters will be skating, performing, and socializing. If they get to “Let it Go,” you probably should too — and that’s where Heavenly’s New Year’s Eve festivities have you covered. We’re talking a DJ, a ball drop, fireworks, and a five-song set by members of Sugar Ray.
The terrain under Squaw’s KT-22 chair may not be family-friendly. But New Year’s will be. The Glow Stick Carnival gets things going before skiers will try to break the world record for largest torchlight parade. Grab your skis and meet at the top of the Gold Coast Funitel for an LED-lit cruiser down Mountain Run. Fireworks and DJs follow.
Northstar’s builds its New Year’s Eve celebration around fire and ice. This means candles, fireworks, fire pits, and a raucous cover band in an ice rink setting. Hit Club 6330’ for midnight.
Teach a buddy how to shoot in long-exposure, and then head up Bald Eagle Mountain for Deer Valley’s New Year’s Eve torchlight parade. Bribe him or her with the free cookies and cider that wait for you at the bottom.
Park City’s Snowfest spans the latter half of December, but Christmas is when it really heats up. The annual torchlight parade on Christmas Eve has been a tradition for 55 years. The 2018 installment kicks off at 6 p.m. Look for daily live music all the way until Canyons Village hosts a vintage New Year’s Eve party, with fireworks and a dance floor. Break out the phedora and flapper dress for a Roaring Twenties New Year’s Eve at the Grand Summit Hotel.
If you choose to hunker down in Little Cottonwood Canyon for holiday week, you won’t miss out. Snowbird offers resort-wide Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner specials. Live music throughout holiday week gives way to fireworks and a torchlight run on New Year’s Eve. Unwind fireside with hot chocolate before you think too hard about a New Year’s resolution.
Start with the glow-stick ski run and torchlight parade, then hit the Park Hyatt to keep the party going. Two open bars and a dance floor will keep you busy while the rest of the family scampers off to the movie room, arcade, and virtual reality center. Come hungry — prime rib, salmon, and endless charcuterie highlight the menu.
Fittingly for Aspen, holiday festivities overlap between mountain and town. It’s a vibrant week. Start with chic Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners at Element 47. Your reservation gets you four gourmet courses with an optional wine-pairing add-on. Good luck saying ‘no.’ On New Year’s Eve, fireworks burst over Aspen Mountain at 8 p.m. and midnight. DJs, champagne parties, town-wide dinner specials — you’ll need to burn a few reconciliation laps on New Year’s Day. Brunch at St. Regis Aspen Resort goes ‘till 1.
Somebody say champagne? Steamboat’s got the bubbly scene dialed. Take the gondola to the Thunderhead Lodge for champagne, chocolate fondue, apps, and a dessert bar. Not your scene? Snow school handles the torchlight parade below fireworks over the base village. Nice to meet ya, 2019.