Forget Manhattan. Pick one of these ski towns to ring in 2013. Because there is no better way to end the year than enjoying the vibe put out by five unique mountain towns, nor is there a better way to begin 2013 then by waking up, squeezing on the boots and carving a few turns at one of these fine North American resorts.
The torch light parade is one of the hallmarks of New Year’s in the quaint, yet tony, southwestern ski town. Dozens of skiers set off in the dark, cruising down the steep night skiing combo of Coonskin and Telluride Trail—with lights in hand, creating a beautiful snake-like line of light heading down the mountain. Later in the evening, the clock tower atop the courthouse draws crowds in the hundreds, and in between, the town’s classic bars such as the Last Dollar Saloon (just ask for the “Buck”) and the New Sheridan are packed with libated locals. The Sheridan Opera House, a historic and outstanding music venue, will host The Wailers this year for a reggae-inspired party, too.
Park City (Utah)
This inviting town just east of Salt Lake has scheduled things for adults that wants to celebrate with their kids… then later in the evening, without them. The fireworks come early on New Year’s Eve, with an afternoon of music and events like a rail jam, followed by 7:30 p.m. fireworks at the Beach at Canyons Resort. Then put the children to bed and head out toward Main Street, where the packed historic business district can party like Hollywood. Sky Blue’s rooftop lounge will make you feel like you are previewing the Sundance party circuit (and it has a hot tub) and the chic Star Bar on Main Street will be pumping a dance-first DJ vibe. Plus, Emmy-winner Kristen Chenoweth (Glee) will headline a show at The Eccles Center for those in the mood for a dazzling soprano.
Quebec City (Quebec)
The charm of Quebec City, a 40-minute drive from Mont Sainte-Anne ski resort, is almost reason enough to book a New Year’s Eve getaway. The “ancient” city resembles a homey European village with history oozing out of walls at every turn. The Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, a late 19th-century castle turned luxurious hotel, puts on an upscale gala in its ballroom, complete with dancing, dinner and well-dressed guests. The charm of the city extends to bars throughout the cobblestone streets, with New Year’s taking center stage along the Grand Allée, the city’s version of the famed Champs Élysées. Here the streets are packed with revelers awaiting a crazy-good fireworks show, and restaurants such as L’Astral, offer a dinner and viewing experience of the madness below.
Whistler (British Columbia)
The village that serves Whistler-Blackcomb is a magnificent mix of places to eat, hang out and party. Come New Year’s Eve, it’s decorated to celebrate the entire holiday season, and the bars are loaded with youthful partygoers—the drinking age is just 19 in British Columbia, after all. Spots such as Moe Joe’s and Garfinkels shine for those in the mood to dance and enjoy the bottle service scene. Families will enjoy an alcohol-free event in the village (tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for kids, free for 12 and under) that includes the legendary Fire & Ice ski jumping display, ice skating, dancing, food and a midnight fireworks show.
South Lake Tahoe (Nevada/California).
Let’s face it, when you can dazzle the kiddies with family fun and play the slots, you’ve found a perfect vacation spot to celebrate the beginning of 2013. South Lake Tahoe makes the list for its sheer variety. More than a half-million revelers pick the towns that dot the California/Nevada border each year, choosing between a dizzying array of entertainment options for all ages. Heavenly puts on the best family-style event, filling the afternoon and evening with games, experiences, ice sculptures, music, and a gondola ball drop and fireworks display. Then there’s the gambling and casino experience that fills the hotel venues with those trying to, perhaps, start off 2013 with a few more greenbacks in their pockets. Of course, there’s always the ultimate party experience, SnowGlobe, a three-day dance and music festival that will test the youth of just about any skier or boarder trying to party all night and ski the next day.