Colorado during the holidays is magical: Fresh snow, crisp mountain air, beautiful pine and fir forests and a nonstop holiday vibe. The weeks around Christmas and New Year’s are full of celebration, as skiers and riders from around the world come to ski and relax with their families.
Light Up Christmas Eve
In Colorado we love torchlight parades, in which skiers wind their way down dark slopes carrying flares. On Christmas Eve, bundle up and come share in the En Fuego celebration at Copper Mountain in Summit County featuring a snowcat parade, holiday music, roaming Carolers, bonfires and fireworks. Western Colorado resorts Telluride and Crested Butte offer similar Christmas Eve torchlight parades, while Santa makes a guest appearance at the Denver favorite, Winter Park, before starting his journey around the world. If staying indoors sounds better to you, Durango Mountain Resort, in southwestern Colorado hopes to entice Santa to stop in with a family style Italian dinner, hot cocoa and the movie, The Night Before Christmas.
Santa, Santa Everywhere
Santa must indeed be magical to visit all the children in the world in one night and still have enough energy to ski at Loveland on Christmas morning. Loveland is one of the closest resorts to the metro-Denver area, and has plenty of high alpine terrain where Santa can park his sleigh. Children skiing at Monarch Mountain in Southern Colorado on Christmas Day will have the opportunity to take a photo with Santa before he heads west to ski at Telluride and Wolf Creek, two of Southwestern Colorado’s favorite resorts. And, since Santa deserves a bit of a rest after his night of activity, he’ll circle back ’round toward Denver to make a stop at Arapahoe Basin to see a performance by the Summit County Choral Society.
Ring Out the Old and Ring in the New
Nothing starts off a new year in the mountains of Colorado as perfectly as new snow. Since Mother Nature can be fickle in accommodating Father Time, there is never a guarantee, although the odds are pretty good that some fluffy, white powder will fall from the sky. New snow or not, most resorts roll out the fireworks, parties and more parades on the last night of the year. Torchlight parades reprise at Copper Mountain, Crested Butte and Telluride on December 31. Monarch Mountain takes the fun one step further and allows guests to ski in the parade if they preregister. Steamboat and Durango also have spectacular torch and fireworks displays planned. And while Durango Mountain Resort is a 21st Century playground, their festivities take on an old-fashioned Victorian twist, with horse-drawn sleighs to take guests from the base into the forest to watch the show.
Something a Little Different
Parades and fireworks are great fun, but they aren’t the only holiday festivities being offered. Visit Crested Butte Mountain at night on a moonlight snowshoe tours (perfect for working off holiday cookies). Durango Mountain Resort also has nighttime snowshoeing, while Steamboat offers morning snowshoe tours that end with a holiday lunch.
Other fun non-skiing activities include tubing at SolVista Basin (near Winter Park) or Copper Mountain, riding the zipline at Crested Butte, and snowmobiling at Sunlight, a small, family resort near Aspen. Feeling more hardcore? Check out the backcountry snowcat skiing at Monarch Mountain or Ski Cooper, high above historic Leadville, Colorado, and heli trips at Silverton Mountain in the southern San Juan mountains. Each of these activities is offered all season long, not just for the holidays, and would make a great, and much-appreciated Christmas gift!
These are just some of the examples of festive happenings high in the Rocky Mountains this holiday season. Come join us as we celebrate the holidays Colorado-style.