Forget Times Square. Turn off the TV. Pick one of these ski towns to ring in the new year. Because there is no better way to end the year than enjoying the vibe put out in mountain ski resort towns. Nor is there a better way to begin the New Year then by waking up, jumping into those boots and carving a few New Years turns at one of these North American resorts.
Make sure you’re outside around 6:25 p.m. New Year’s Eve. You’ll hear a loud bang – dynamite (just like they used in the mining days) – and then you’ll know the Torchlight Parade is about to get underway. Look to the top of the mountain for flashing red lights. This holiday tradition takes place at approximately 6:30 p.m. and involves Telluride’s snow patrol employees on skis and snowboards taking a run down the mountain on Coonskin, Telluride Trail, and into Mountain Village carrying blazing red torches. The display can be seen from any location in downtown Telluride. Mountain Village also hosts a firework show Dec. 31, best viewed from Gondola or the plaza in the Village Core. New Year’s Eve is the place to be at midnight on Colorado Avenue in front of the historic courthouse. Townsfolk and guests alike flood outside to MainStreet to celebrate the new year — Telluride style
Park City (Utah)
Come enjoy New Year’s Eve in Park City (just a long snowball’s throw from Salt Lake City) with après ski activities including a DJ, family fun, live music by The Cover Dogs and complimentary hot beverages. Catch the fireworks at 7:30 p.m. Celebrate the New Year by indulging in a decadent meal tailored by top local chefs for this event, live music, dancing, and a midnight toast at Park City’s Riverhorse on Main Street from 7-10:30 pm. Choose from several musical acts Dec. 31: “George Michael Reborn” is the tribute to the late George Michael and “Wham!” Celebrity impersonator Jason CoZmo stars as Dolly Parton from 7:30-11 p.m. at O.P. Rockwell, Dec. 30, among other entertainers performing throughout the historical mining town.
The classic Vermont ski resort of Stowe — the oldest in the nation dating back to 1934 — has New Year’s celebrations down pat. Be sure to get to the northern Green Mountain resort early New Year’s Eve day to start your fun on those famous slopes. Take a quick nap and head out to celebrate. Go on a pub crawl and hit up as many of Stowe’s excellent breweries as you can, all with their signature craft brews. Kick back at the Trapp Family Lodge’s Austrian-style Bierhall with your entire party. Enjoy their hearty Austrian cuisine for lunch or dinner paired with, of course, some tasty beer. Change it up with a quick stop at Stowe Cider for some locally-made hard cider. There’s live music and entertainment all over town as the witching hour approaches and then some.
Whistler (British Columbia)
The legendary, free outdoor show is held every Sunday at the base of the mountains in Whistler Village but is extra special New Year’s Eve. Dress warm, grab a cup of hot chocolate and take in all the live entertainment including ski and snowboard big air displays, fire spinners, live DJs and fireworks display. Head over to the Garibaldi Lift Co. (GLC) following the show for the Afterburn Party (adults only after 8 p.m.). Fireworks are best viewed from Skier’s Plaza located at the base of Whistler Mountain. Want to ring in the New Year early? A High-Flying Snow Show at the base will begin at 7:30 p.m. with an early countdown and fireworks show at 8 p.m. Put the kiddies to bed and head to Skier’s Plaza at the base of Whistler for still another special fireworks show.
Fire, lights, and music fill the air on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore. at Stateliness Live music begins at 4:30 p.m., and at 9 p.m., in time for the midnight Ball Drop in New York City’s Time Square. Heavenly’s Gondola Ball Drop will cross above the crowd along with what resort officials call “the most spectacular fireworks display that has ever hit the Heavenly Village.” The party continues into the night at one of the many casino nightclubs in Stateline. Live music on the Main Stage with Tyler Rich, along with the Gin Blossoms Thursday, Dec. 30, and New Year’s Eve, Friday. The kids will enjoy Disney characters at the Ice Rink from 4-7 p.m.
Ring in the New Year at Sugarloaf. Jumpstart the evening with a kids’ celebration in the King Pine Room. There will be a juggling workshop at 7 p.m. and a live performance by AudioBody at 8 p.m. This is a thrilling mix of circus arts, relentless comedy, award-winning inventions, world-class juggling, spectacular lighting effects, and live music. Tickets can be purchased in advance online or at the door. Fireworks start at 9 p.m. on the Landing, followed by live music by Slosh in the Widowmaker until the New Year arrives.
Waterville Valley, New Hampshire
Sugar Mountain, North Carolina
A southern-style New Year’s Eve celebration awaits you in Banner Elk. An alpine torchlight parade starts at 11:45 p.m., followed by a firework show to blast in the New Year. There’s a fee, as well as reservations required for the indoor festivities from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. featuring live music by The Rockabilly’s. Make reservations by calling (828) 898-4521 x261. The indoor party will be in the third-floor cafeteria and is $95 per couple; $55 single. Or, head to the Last Run Lounge where the party costs $55. The village shuttle bus will run until 1:30 a.m. so leave the driving to them.
Snow Summit, California
The spectacle of the New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade shimmering off of Big Bear Lake in the San Berdoos above Los Angeles is something Angelenos love each year. Snow Summit hosts an impressive light display showing off the talents the skills and talents of skiers and snowboarders. Winding down the Miracle Mile trail more than 100 participants carry torches to form the path of light that can be seen around the lake from miles away. The Torchlight Parade runs from 6-7:30 p.m. Then, all the restaurants and bars at Big Bear Lake are waiting for you to celebrate the New Year.
Chestnut Mountain, Illinois
This year-round resort in the heart of Chicagoland offers two popular culinary ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Choose from an all-out buffet at The Summit where the prime rib is carved onto your plate for $29.99 or, if you want a more elegant evening, dine at the Sunset Grill on filet mignon and lobster tails for $42. Welcome the New Year with a fireworks display at midnight. Don’t forget to make reservations for dinner at 1-800-397-1320.