Nothing beats spending the holidays at the mountain. With a fresh coat of white on the trails and resort villages aglow with Christmas lights, twinkling trees and festive activities, it’s the perfect setting for holiday cheer. Wheather you’re partying it up with friends (or complete strangers), making it a family affair or just cozying up with someone special, Colorado resorts have the seasonal offerings to make your holidays bright – guaranteed.
1. Eat, Drink & Be Merry!
Leave the partridge and pear tree to the carolers and raise a glass or mug of hot cocoa. From December 20-31 there’s endless festivities for all ages to enjoy during the 12 Days of Copper celebration at Copper Mountain. Fun family highlights include a kids glow-stick pageant and fireworks on Christmas Eve and for the adults, happy holiday hours ring out through EVERY resort restaurant and bar. Plus, Copper offers up a bounty of discounts to help put a wrap on your holiday shopping or just indulge in the season’s good tidings, like a 75-minute Aprés Ski Recovery Massage. Hallelujuah.
Similarly, the 12 Days of Aspen serve up tons of free events to spread the holiday spirit througout the Aspen/Snowmass community. From holiday services to card-making workshops, cookie decorating and ice skating, there’s something to excite everyone in your entourage. Two fireworks shows light up Aspen Mountain on New Year’s Eve amidst prix fixe dinners and free flowing champagne parties. You'll be hard pressed to find more widespread merry-making in any other resort town.
Guest enjoy an enchanted sleigh ride at Durango.
Copyright: Durango Mountain Resort
2. Dine Mountainside
What would the holidays be without sharing a hearty meal on a cold winter's night? At Crested Butte, snow-loving foodies can enjoy Christmas Dinner at Uley’s Cabin—a rare dining experience the whisks guests by sleigh to a cabin nestled in the woods where a four-course meal and roaring fire await.
If candlelight feels passé, ring in the New Year on December 31 with a romantic moonlit four-course dinner at Arapahoe Basin’s Black Mountain Lodge. This lift-served evening is complete with champagne toast and party favors for an intimate, yet social on-mountain dinner adventure that's sure to leave a mark on any gourmand's holiday trip.
Sliding Santas take over the slopes of Crested Butte.
Copyright: Crested Butte Mountain Resort
3. Ski & Ride With Santa
You’ll have a better chance of catching Santa on the slopes around the holidays than anywhere else. And while Old St. Nick makes several stops around the state—and globe—this time of year, he’s been known to tally some turns with guests at Loveland, Monarch, Ski Granby Ranch and Wolf Creek all on Christmas Eve. If anyone can lap so many mountains in one day, his jolly old soul can!
Vail's Snow Daze annual mountainside bash offers free concerts to guests.
4. Rock Around the Christmas Tree
Holiday jingles don’t always cut it for the party crowd. So to keep the holidays rocking, Vail kicks the early-season into high gear with Snow Daze—an annual mountain bash that decks the halls of Vail Village with aprés and free evening concerts. This year’s show caps off with performances by alt-rock legends 10,000 Maniacs and the powerful rhythms of Rusted Root on December 20. Stick around on Sunday, December 21 and celebrate the solstice during Vail’s annual tree lighting ceremony and lantern walk.
Torchlight and fireworks light up the night at Copper Mountain.
Copyright: Copper Mountain
5. Ooooh & Aaaahhhh
Torchlight parades and fireworks displays are the finishing touch to a proper Christmas or New Year’s celebration at the mountain. And in Colorado, there's no shortage of colorful finales to round out the 2014 holiday season. Before the fireworks boom overhead, Steamboat’s tradition gives kids a chance to shine during the Kids Torchlight Parade. While the firework shows at Powderhorn, Crested Butte and Durango Mountain Resort (among others) are not-to-be missed, we’d expect particularly spectacular displays this year from Monarch Mountain and Winter Park in celebration of their 75th anniversaries.