The winter holiday season has become synonymous with skiing and snowboarding, making it one of the best times for families to spend plenty of quality time together on and off the mountain slopes. But, there are a few caveats. Ski towns around Christmas time fill up, and if you don’t act early, you may not find any room at the inn. In fact, you’ll want to book your ski accommodations for Christmas before the season starts.
Other important considerations for a Christmas ski trip includes dining out and dinner reservations. You’ll want to book dinner reservations ahead of time, especially for those sought after Christmas Eve and Christmas dinners. And, of course, use our Snow Before You Go forecasts as a reference as the holidays get closer.
Spend the holidays at these North America ski resorts
Start the holidays early at Big Sky with the 25th anniversary of the Christmas Stroll Dec. 9-11. Join in the fun at the Meadow Village Center (Friday) and at Big Sky Town Center (Saturday) for a weekend of family-friendly events, entertainment, and holiday cheer. The fun continues Christmas Eve at Big Sky for photos with Santa. Listen to Santa read a Christmas story by the fire in the Sunken Lobby in Huntley Lodge. And what’s the holiday season without a big dinner. An expansive buffet dinner will be waiting for you in the Huntley Dining Room.
Park City and Deer Valley, Utah
Kick-off the Christmas season in Park City at the giant tree lighting ceremony at Canyons Village, take the kids for a ride on Heber Valley’s North Pole Express, or head down to Main Street for the annual Electric Parade. Old Saint Nick ditches his reindeer and makes an entrance during the “Santa Comes Down the Town Lift” event in a sleigh that’s decorated with twinkling lights. Music, entertainers and more will keep the holiday spirit flowing.
Montage Deer Valley’s Christmas activities include Christmas Eve and Christmas dinners, and a Christmas Eve reading by Santa Claus of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Additionally, kids will have the opportunity to decorate cookies and write a special letter to Santa. Afterward, families are invited to join in a twilight search of the sky for Santa’s sleigh.
Beaver Creek is overflowing with holiday activities. Some of the more unique events include the best chefs from around the U.S. competing in the annual Chocolate Chip Cookie competition. Bonus: Visitors receive the winning cookie for free. For more traditional events, gather around for the 38-foot-tall Christmas tree lighting and live entertainment from musicians and singers who perform holiday classics. Or, gather the family for a holiday movie night. Elsewhere, the Vilar Performing Arts Center will feature Canadian Brass with Kantorei – A Holiday Spectacular. The Canadian professional brass ensemble puts on their holiday show December 23, 2022. Finally, take part in the Family Fun Fest (Dec. 21 and 28) with kids’ activities including carnival game tents and more.
Visit the spectacularly decorated Chateau Lake Louise and ski at Lake Louise Ski Resort, Dec. 23 and 24. View the torchlight dinner and ski event or experience a sleigh ride around the lake. Other spectacular holiday events include the European-like Banff Christmas Market (November 18-20, 25-27 and Dec. 2-4) and a live outdoor Christmas story “In Search of Christmas Spirit” (Nov. 22-Dec. 31). Unique Lake Louise festivities include Banff’s Hot Chocolate Trail and and the Christmas Choirs in Banff Avenue Square. Last, but not least, check out Mountaintop Christmas at the Banff Gondola, including Santa’s Workshop, cookie decorating, craft making, movies, games and more.
The annual Holiday Village Stroll Dec. 9-11 is the best Lake Placid Christmas event because it’s an entire weekend full of fun festivities for families and kids. Choose between ice skating and ugly sweater parties on Friday. Have breakfast with Santa at the Grand Adirondack Hotel Saturday morning, then decorate cookies in the evening. Finally, see a matinee showing of The Polar Express at the Palace Theatre with free popcorn and a special gift for the first 300 kids. Say hi to Santa who will be making an appearance in several locations.
A place called Crystal Mountain is an apt destination for the holidays. The Snowiest Snowflake Contest at the Park at Water’s Edge occurs daily, where guests create a unique snowflake and are entered to win prizes. Elsewhere, slide, swing and climb at the Frankly Fun Playground, located behind the Mountain Adventure Zone. Then, on Christmas Eve, ski with Santa on the slopes and enjoy a holiday buffet at the Wild Tomato.
At Red River, after a day of skiing, or sightseeing, you and your group can enjoy a scenic ride in the ski area’s heated Snow Coach for dinner at the Tip Restaurant. Chef Kai will prepare your four-course meal, making for one heckuva memorable holiday dinner. After dark on Dec. 23 (and actually every Saturday night in ski season) the slopes will be lit only by hand-held torches carried by ski patrol, instructors, and other downhill skiers, followed by fireworks. It follows a 45-year-old tradition at Red River. Take the Christmas Luminaria Tour at dark, when residents light the town and almost two miles of the Enchanted Cross Country Ski Area with candles in paper bags. You can enjoy more traditions and heritage, an hour’s drive to the south, where The Taos Pueblo hosts Procession of the Virgin Mary. Families light bonfires and six townsmen carry a dais, or throne, that holds the Statue of the Virgin Mary.
Holidays at Big Bear Lake are a must for Southern Californians. Say hello to Santa and Mrs. Claus every weekend in The Village at Christmas Tree Corner before heading to Christkindlmarkt to celebrate the holidays with some long-standing German traditions. Ride under the stars at Snow Summit Dec. 25, 3:30-8:30 p.m, or fly down a long, sloped hill on a smooth inner tube at Big Bear Snow Play. For a real Big Bear Adventure come for a thrilling nighttime ride during glow tubing. You even can enjoy an authentic, high-speed bobsledding experience.
The winter scenery at Stateline on the south shore of Lake Tahoe is a holiday spectacular in itself. But the holiday activities at Heavenly still abound. Get in on ice sculpture contests, a holiday ferris wheel ride, breakfast with Santa, holiday Build-A-Bear workshops, a Santa run, live music, dancing and more. Don’t miss a Santa Pub Crawl and holiday-themed aprés ski parties throughout the village for visitors.
Don’t miss your chance to experience this unique holiday tradition at the Northwest Railway Museum that has been going on in Snoqualmie for 50 years. Families can take a holiday train excursion to visit Santa Claus at the historic Snoqualmie Depot and enjoy music, fresh-baked cookies from coal-fired ovens, hot cocoa and fresh coffee. There’s even a small gift for each child. Dates are Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 20, and 21.
Mont-Tremblant screams Christmas cheer. Head to the Laurentians on Christmas Eve, as Santa Claus will be coming to town for a meet and greet. Afterward, catch the holiday parade in the afternoon. Elsewhere in Tremblant you will find ice sculpting workshops, soap bubble blowing, an outdoor disco, snowboarding clowns and ice skating. Enjoy a “waterful time” at Mont-Tremblant’s Brind O’ Aquaclub water park, which will be open to the public throughout the holidays. The aquatic complex is the perfect place to bring children and teenagers to play on its 4 waterslides, 35 interactive water games and whirlpool.