The New Year's festivities in Utah kick off a night early when Deer Valley sports their annual torchlight parade. The show by DV's ski school Wednesday, Dec. 30 is over too soon but if you attend with friends, you can easily turn the night into a good time. The parade will begin about dusk, or 6 p.m., on Big Stick ski run on Bald Eagle Mountain. Catch it from the deck of the Snow Park Lodge where your hosts will be serving complimentary hot cider and cookies.
Ogdeners can bring in 2010 on the slopes of Powder Mountain. Night skiing will go until 12:15 a.m. Dec. 31 so you can scream "Happy New Year" on skis. Children can participate in a glow stick parade at 9 p.m.
Powder's also offering a New Year's Celebration package to the first 300 guests who purchase on line: $30 for adults, $20 for children under 12 gets you a pasta dinner at the Timberline Lodge, night lift pass, and party favors. Powder Mountain season pass holders can purchase the dinner package for $10. The night lift pass for skiing only is $15 for adults and $12 for children 7to 12. The Sundown Lodge and the Powder Keg restaurants will extend their operating hours until midnight allowing guests to order off the regular menus as well.
The ultimate non-alcoholic bash in Utah, however, takes place in downtown Salt Lake City. The city-sponsored New Year's Eve celebration simply titled EVE replaces the old First Night, which began in 1993.
"It seemed like the right time to expand First Night; creating a multi-day event that celebrates everything that binds us together as a community," said Jason Mathis, executive director of the Downtown Alliance. "We wanted to create an inclusive ritual that commemorates the past year and celebrates a brighter future for everyone."
The three-day EVE hits the streets in 14 spots beginning Dec. 29. The venues will feature live music, film screenings, arts troupe performances, dance parties, ski and snowboard competitions, laser shows, interactive resolutions, storytelling, and a spectacular midnight fireworks show Dec. 31. "EVE will be a colossal indoor/outdoor urban extravaganza, with snow on the ground, fire in the sky, music in the air and a party in the streets," said Jeffrey Berke, EVE's artistic director and creator. No telling yet how well-attended this event will be but give it a couple of years to grow legs and it should take off running.
Activities begin at 3 p.m. each day through Dec. 31 at the Gallivan Center, Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, The Gateway mall, Temple Square, Pierpont Avenue, Broadway Cinema, and Off Broadway Theater.
One the biggest draws for the event will be the USANA Rail Jam on Gallivan Plaza. Sixty top skiers and snowboarders will rip it on a three-story high rail set-up covered with 50 tons of snow. There are three pro caliber rails, each different in shape and style, giving athletes options for different tricks and the audience an opportunity to view a variety of moves. The same stunt will not happen twice. KAB Rails, a local company based in Murray, built the structure for EVE and also builds terrain parks for the top ski resorts in the state.
Film lovers, don't miss a rare Charlie Chaplin Film Festival at the Broadway Cinema. The theater will show three shorts at 3:30, 5:30, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. each day except New Year's Eve.
Those with a knack for wacky competitions might enter the Brain-Freeze Eating Contest, Animal Idol, Yellow Snow Stroll, Massive Marshmallow Meltdown, , and Owner/Pet Look-alike Contest. The Brain-Freeze Eating Contest on stage at Gallivan Plaza involves contestants chomping on popsicles, throwing back Slurpees and biting into snow cones all in an effort to stave off the dreaded frozen teeth feeling and burning brain sensation.
EVE revelers can warm up by the huge bonfire in Gallivan Plaza and roast marshmallows at the Massive Marshmallow Meltdown. They're calling for 100,000 marshmallows for everyone. With EVE, local officials hope to recapture the electric energy Utah summoned during the 2002 Winter Olympics. Adults can purchase a wristband for $15 that gets them into everything. Kids under 10 attend for free. More than 10 hotels and 30 restaurants will also offer special EVE-related packages and discounts as well.
Wristbands are available online and at retail locations including Fresh Markets (formerly Albertson's), Beans and Brews Coffee Houses, and The Gateway concierge.