Christmas celebrations are not hard to find at ski resorts. Snow and cozy lodges just feel right for the holiday season. As a result, the Christmas holiday vacation week is a peak time for the ski industry. Right alongside the holiday crowds, Santa somehow manages time for a busy ski schedule despite his hardest work night of the year on Christmas Eve.
Considering Smugglers’ Notch bills itself as “America’s Family Resort,” the Vermont ski area seems like an appropriate place to spend the Christmas holiday with children. Starting at 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve, lower Morse Mountain will light up with a torchlight parade and fireworks. Before heading out to deliver toys around the world, Santa will make a Christmas Eve visit to the lower level of the Meeting House. At 9 p.m., longtime Smugglers’ Notch homeowner Rev. Dr. Roger Ireson will lead the resort’s annual non-denominational Christmas Eve service in the Meeting House.
On Christmas Eve at 6:30 p.m. in the Town Square Brookside Room, Waterville Valley will host its own non-denominational candlelight service. On the slopes, the New Hampshire resort should be able to provide good conditions thanks to major snowmaking upgrades installed for this ski season.
The Omni Mount Washington Resort and its adjacent Bretton Woods ski area go all out for the holiday season. Throughout the day on Christmas Eve, the New Hampshire resort has planned several Christmas craft activities hosted by Mrs. Claus and Santa’s elves. For an extra $35 per room, an elf will even stop by a guest’s hotel room for about 25 minutes to bring an early gift from Santa and read a Christmas story as the children are tucked in for the night. Also on Christmas Eve, holiday Victorian carolers will perform in the hotel at 5 p.m. On Christmas Day, the main dining room will host a buffet from noon to 8 p.m. Cost of the buffet is $70 for adults, $35 for children ages 6-12 and complimentary for children 5 and under.
Santa will be warming up for his big delivery night by skiing in New Hampshire at Loon Mountain over the prior weekend. On that Saturday and Sunday, St. Nick will be making turns from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. all over the mountain. On Christmas Eve in the Governor Adams Lodge, a tree lighting will be held at 6:45 p.m. A Christmas Eve Candlelight Service will follow at 7 p.m.
The picturesque pedestrian village of Tremblant in Quebec looks like it could be the front of a Christmas card. The La Famille Grelot performance group will entertain visitors in the village from Dec. 23-25. Santa Claus is also expected to stop by the resort on the afternoon of Christmas Eve.
Santa will make a few turns on the slopes of Crystal Mountain in Michigan at 1 p.m. on Christmas Eve. A special reading of “The Night Before Christmas” will be held inside the Inn Lobby at 5 p.m. On both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the Wild Tomato restaurant will host a buffet from 5 to 10 p.m.
On Sunday, Dec. 23, the Jolly Ol’ Elf will join Mrs. Claus to ski at Schweitzer Mountain Resort in Idaho. On Christmas Eve, Santa will lead the annual balloon parade to the village from the top of the Basin Express chairlift. Mrs. Claus will take over for “The Night Before Christmas” reading at 4 p.m. in the Selkirk Lodge lobby.
Santa temporarily replaces his sleigh with the famous Jackson Hole Tram to arrive in style at the Wyoming resort. He will literally drop in at about 4:20 p.m. on Christmas Eve. After a long night of delivering gifts,Santa still manages to get in yet a couple more hours of skiing on Christmas Day. He will start near the Teewinot lift and the base of the Gondola at about 11 a.m.
Colorado’s Winter Park Resort will welcome Santa for a photo op in the Gazeboat 1 p.m. on Christmas Eve. The resort will hold its annual Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade at 5:30 p.m. on Lower Hughes Trail. A fireworks display will follow the parade. A non-denominational Christmas Eve service in West Portal will be held at 6 p.m. after the parade and fireworks.
Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows in California holds its annual Merry Days and Holly Nights festival, Dec. 14-31. Meeting up at Squaw’s Funitel Plaza, intermediate level-and-up skiers and riders can join Chief Mountain Host and Olympic Gold Medalist Jonny Moseley on the mountain from 1:45 to 4 p.m. (followed by apres-ski, 4-5 p.m.), Dec. 26-28 and 31. Moseley will also host a retro apres-ski party at Alpine Meadows’ Alpine Bar, 4-6 p.m. on Dec. 29.