At mountain resorts, torchlight parades down the lower slopes are as much a tradition for Christmas and New Year's Eve as presents and hot toddies. Throughout the Rockies, these nighttime rituals flourish.
For holiday guests, it can be a highlight of the visit, so here’s a short list of torchlight parades planned for this holiday season:
At Telluride Ski Resort, you get two vantage points: Mountain Village or in town. Just after dusk on Dec. 24, the signal will be given and a long line of skiers and snowboarders will wind their way down the lower slopes with torches a-blazin’.
In Taos Ski Valley, the torches are actually road flares so skiers wear old parkas that can be singed a bit. At 6 p.m on Christmas Eve, the party begins when the torchlight-bearers snake their way down (appropriately) the Snakedance run.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort features two torchlight parades, one each on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eves. Parade participants ride the Silver Queen lift and then carve their way down the front side – right into Mountain Village.
At Durango Mountain Resort, they’ve added a twist to the New Year's Eve show: Take a horse-drawn sleigh ride from the base area into the forest, and then watch the torchlight parade and fireworks through the trees.
Monarch Mountain wants its guests to get involved, so by calling guest services at 888-996-7669, visitors can see if they qualify to sign up for running down the mountain holding a torch. Drink specials await the hardy participants afterwards at the bottom.
Most every resort in the Southwest performs some variation on this holiday tradition, so go to the website of your favorite destination to see what they have planned.