Forget Times Square, pick one of these ski towns to ring in the new year. While the ski season is just getting underway in December, what better way to close out the year than taking in the holiday vibe of ski towns. Dust off your boots, wax your skis and boards, and enjoy the festive celebrations that mountain ski towns put on for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. These are some of the best ski towns in North America for New Year’s.
The Best Ski Towns for New Year’s Eve Weekend
Make sure you’re outside in Telluride around 6:25 p.m. on 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. Telluride’s ski patrol employees take a run down Coonskin, Telluride Trail, and into Mountain Village for this holiday tradition, carrying blazing red torches, starting at 6:30 pm on December 31. Given the incredible views in this little mountain town, the show can be seen from any location in downtown Telluride. Stick around, and shortly after, you’ll be able to catch the Mountain Village firework show, best viewed from the Gondola or the plaza in the Village Core.
Colorado Avenue is the place to be at midnight on New Year’s Eve in front of the historic courthouse. Locals and guests alike flood outside to Main Street to celebrate the new year Telluride style.
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Park City, Utah
Park City Mountain celebrates New Year’s Eve in Canyons Village with a night of live music, fireworks, and family fun. Kick off the evening after a day on the slopes from 3-5 p.m. in the heart of Canyons Village with DJ Velvet, followed by a live performance from The Coverdogs at 5:30 p.m. Fireworks will be launched at 7:30 p.m.
Families can enjoy more kid-oriented programming at Pendry Park City’s New Year’s Eve Kid’s Night Out, located in the heart of Canyons Village. Children are invited to participate in a dance party, crafts, karaoke, group games, painting, and much more. A kid’s buffet will be available for snacking and dinner, with a movie showing at the end of the night. The best part? Parents can drop their kids off and pick them up at any time throughout the evening. This is perfect for parents looking to have some adult fun at Pendry’s Pool House Pre-Party from 2:00-9:00 p.m. and the Apres Pendry from 4:00-12:30 a.m.
Further into town on Main Street, you’ll find plenty of New Year’s Eve drinking and dining opportunities at local Park City restaurants and bars. Check out Park City Area Restaurant Association’s event calendar as December 31 approaches. Park City bars will be hosting New Year’s Eve parties, such as NYE with Jen Jones at The Cabin Park City, from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. For visitors in town on Saturday, December 30, Deer Valley Resort will host an Eve of the Eve Party at Empire Canyon Lodge, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., featuring an appearance from a surprise music guest.
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The classic Vermont ski resort of Stowe has perfected New Year’s celebrations. Arrive to the Northern Green Mountain resort early on New Year’s Eve Day to kickstart your New Year’s Eve festivities. Spruce Peak Village is the place to be, with complimentary cookies and hot chocolate, ice dancing performances, live music, and on-mountain fireworks at 7 p.m. Then go on a pub crawl and hit up a few Stowe breweries before kicking back at the Trapp Family Lodge’s Austrian-style Bierhall with your entire party. Enjoy their hearty Austrian cuisine, paired with, of course, some tasty beer.
Live music and entertainment will be happening all over Stowe on New Year’s Eve. Head to any number of Stowe restaurants and bars that’ll be throwing their own parties.
Whistler, British Columbia
Whistler’s popular free outdoor show, held every Sunday in Whistler Village, is extra special on New Year’s Eve. Dress warm, grab a cup of hot chocolate, and take in all the live entertainment for it, including ski and snowboard big air displays, fire spinners, live djs, and fireworks. Head over to the Garibaldi Lift Company (GLC) following the show for the Afterburn Party (adults only after 8 p.m.). 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 kiddos to bed and head to Skier’s Plaza at the base of Whistler for still another special fireworks show.
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Fire, lights, and music fill the air on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore for New Year’s Eve. Live music typically begins around 4:30 p.m., and plays throughout the day until the midnight Ball Drop in New York City’s Times Square. The resort itself hosts ‘the world’s only Gondola Ball Drop,’ which crosses 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 a number of casino nightclubs in Stateline. Additionally, check restaurant and bar websites for their own unique New Year’s Eve parties.
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There’s nothing quite like New Year’s Eve in Aspen, Colorado, where high-end après-ski is what it’s known for. Get the party started at the Sister Cities Plaza, from 12 to 3 p.m., with bonfires, s’mores, hot chocolate, and a live dj. Public ice skating takes place at the Aspen Ice Garden from 3 to 6 p.m., with free admission and $3 skate rental for guests. After hitting a few activities in town, catch a fireworks show above Aspen Mountain at 8 p.m. Ajax Tavern will serve beverages on the patio from 7:30-8:30 p.m., however, visitors who want to come inside for dinner should plan ahead and make a reservation for New Year’s Eve dinner. Element 47, inside The Little Nell, and Plato’s at Aspen Mountain, are among the Aspen restaurants hosting New Year’s Eve dinners.
If you’re looking to hit the late-night scene, plan ahead and reserve your tickets. The Dom Perignon Party at the Little Nell invites guests to get inspired by the glitz and glam of the legendary New York City nightclub experience. Come dressed in your best disco attire for a multi-level party running from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Or, join a Night of Revelry at W Aspen, a Roaring Twenties-inspired party with live dj entertainment at Aspen’s Ponyboy. Aspen’s Prohibition-Era Speakeasy will be well underway at Parc Aspen, where the 620 nightclub will be transformed into 1924 Apsen.
Sun Valley, Idaho
America’s first destination ski resort is a fitting place to ring in the new year. Sun Valley Resort is hosting its first annual New Year’s Eve Snow Ball to ring in 2024, featuring an evening of glitz, glitter, bubbles, and bites. Guests are encouraged to get all dolled up in their most glamorous attire and celebrate at the River Run Lodge at Bald Mountain from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Complimentary champagne will be served from 9 to 10, along with appetizers and other bites. A live dj will set the mood throughout the night, while guests will have the chance to dance, drink, enjoy the photo booth, and more right at the mountain’s base.
For a more family-friendly New Year’s Eve in Sun Valley, hit the slopes for some night turns before enjoying music under the stars and fireworks at 9 p.m.
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It’s Christmas Vacation Week at Sugarloaf for the entire last week of December. Non-stop activities and entertainment happen throughout the week both on and off the slopes, including live music, film screenings, and more. On New Year’s Eve itself, ring in the New Year at Sugarloaf, with fireworks starting at 9 p.m. on the Landing. Afterward, catch live music by The Red Eye Flight Crew at Sugarloaf’s famous bar, the Widowmaker, until 12:30 a.m. Tickets for the show include a champagne toast at midnight and complimentary hor d’oeuvres. 21+ only.
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. Get your reservations for the indoor festivities, from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m., featuring live music by The Rockabilly’s. All ages are welcome to join the indoor party in the third-floor cafeteria, which is $110 per couple; $70 per single entry. There will be live music, dancing, and a champagne toast at midnight. Or, the 21 and up crowd can head to the Last Run Lounge, where the party costs $70 per couple and $50 per single entry. The village shuttle bus will run until 1:30 a.m., so partygoers can be sure they get home safely after all the festivities.
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Snow Summit, California
The spectacle of the 59th annual New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade shimmering off of Big Bear Lake is something that Southern Californians look forward to year after year. Each year Snow Summit hosts an impressive light display showing off the skills and talents of skiers and snowboarders. Winding down the Miracle Mile trail, more than 200 participants carry torches to form a path of light that can be seen around the lake from miles away. The Torchlight Parade begins around 7 p.m. and is free and open to all ages. Then, all the restaurants and bars at Big Bear Lake are waiting for you to celebrate the New Year.
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Header image: ©Park City / Vail Resorts