Holidays in the high country

View of Vail Village from a deck at the Remedy Bar in the Four Seasons hotel
Blue and white lights on evergreen trees

Hotel Talisa lights up their trees for the holiday season

Thanksgiving weekend and the first few days of December 2018 blessed our mountains with snow.  Now, the holiday season brings more joy and cheer to Colorado.  Resorts are ready to greet guests with wintery events.  Most seem like they could have come straight out of a Hallmark movie.  Mountain towns offer holiday ice skating, fine dining, fireworks and torchlight parades.  Guests can celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year at numerous ski areas.  These activities appeal to long-time skiers and snowboarders, first-time participants and even non-skiers.  Anyone seeking a fun, holiday greeting card-like winter destination will enjoy the traditions.

Below we provide a sprinkling of Colorado ski area events and programs for the 2018-19 holiday season.

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

Arapahoe Basin offers a variety of family-friendly holiday activities.  Santa and an elf visit the resort on Monday, Dec. 24.  Santa will bring candy and holiday cheer.  The Summit County Choral Society will be caroling in the base area from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

A-Basin also hosts New Year’s Eve in the Mountains, a special lift-served Moonlight Dinner at Black Mountain Lodge.  This event will offer guests the opportunity to ring in 2019 with a gourmet dinner by Chef Steven Vlass including lobster, filet mignon and other delicious offerings. A-Basin will celebrate New Year’s Eve with New York at 10 p.m. with live music, a glass of champagne, party favors and a balloon drop.

Aspen Snowmass

Those wishing to head further west than A-Basin may try Aspen-Snowmass.  Aspen Snowmass celebrates Chanukah with events throughout the holiday through December 10.  The annual Tree Lighting at the Little Nell will take place on Sunday December 9.  This event features a city-wide countdown, complimentary cookies and hot cocoa, carolers and photos with Santa Claus. On Saturday, Dec. 15, the festivities will continue with the Snowmass Base Village Grand Opening Celebration.  Elk Camp at Snowmass hosts Ullr Nights, a nighttime winter wonderland event including tubing, snowbiking, snowshoe tours, live music, a bonfire, s’mores and the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster.


Chanukkah celebration in the mountains

Menorah lighting at the Four Seasons

Like Aspen, Vail also offers holiday events for those of various faiths.  The Chabad in Vail hosts a Riverwalk Menorah Lighting in Edwards on December 5, as well as an apres-ski menorah lighting and party at the Four Seasons on Sunday, December 9.  The town’s community menorah  will be lit throughout the holiday.  The menorah is located at the Covered Bridge in Vail.

Vail also hosts a variety of holiday events including an annual tree lighting ceremony and lantern walk. On New Year’s Eve, a torchlight ski down and fireworks ring in the New Year Vail style with the Torchlight Parade, followed by fireworks at Golden Peak. Watch as ski instructors and Vail locals form a train as they ski down Golden Peak with glowing sticks followed by a fireworks display. Holiday events are free and open to the public.


The town of Breckenridge also offers holiday events for everyone.  On December 8, Breckenridge’s annual transformation into a sparkling holiday scene begins.  The Lighting of Breckenridge and Race of the Santas occurs that day.  Watch out for hundreds of jolly look-alikes running down the street, and watch as Santa uses his magic to light up the town for the season.

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