Christmas vacation is one of the most enjoyable times of the year to hit the slopes. After all, what better way to say “Happy Holidays” than hot chocolate, knee-deep powder, and skiing Santas? We’ve rounded up our favorite ski resorts during the Christmas season. Take a look, and let us know if we touched on your favorite festive mountain!
1. Winter Park, Colorado
Winter Park is a family-friendly destination, and this rings true during the holiday season too. The Christmas fun hits its stride on Christmas Eve, beginning with a Santa ski day at Granby Ranch. Naturally, he needs a break too, so he’ll be passing out candy canes in the lodge at 12:45pm. The merriment continues with the treasured torchlight parade at Winter Park Resort at 5pm. Roughly 100 skiers lead the way to the base, followed by a handful of snowcats decked out in Christmas light. The caboose is none other than Santa himself! Those who feel spiritual can attend the non-denominational service or the Catholic mass.
View Winter Park lift tickets.
2. Sun Valley, Idaho
If you’re searching for a classic Christmas straight out of a Dickens novel, look no further than Sun Valley. America’s oldest resort began the celebration on December 12 with the Winter Wonderland “White Christmas” window stroll. Don’t forget to participate in the corresponding scavenger hunt! Holiday storytelling for kids (and an optional brunch with Santa!) are available on December 23. But the real merriment happens on Christmas Eve: the traditional Holiday Ice Show kicks off at 5:30pm, complete with carolers and The Nutcracker Ice Show. The fun wraps up with the traditional torchlight parade and fireworks on Dollar Mountain.
3. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson may be nestled in a corner of Wyoming, but it sure knows how to celebrate the holidays! Santa makes regular visits during the Christmas season, hanging out in the festively lit Town Square from 5-7pm (December 15-24). Holiday cookie decorating will take place at Teton Mountain Lodge on December 22, and Cowboy Santa will drop by before a reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas on December 23. Both an interdenominational holiday service and a Catholic Mass are offered on Christmas Eve, topped off with Christmas Day skiing with Santa.
4. Crested Butte, Colorado
Tucked away in the Gunnison Valley, Crested Butte is an idyllic mountain town with a spectacular ski resort. But during the holiday season, the already-classic ski town turns into a winter wonderland. The Rock on Ice festival kicks things off, showcasing exquisite life-sized ice carvings at the base of the mountain. The party continues with Christmas Eve sleigh ride dinners at Uley’s Cabin. Then watch Santa and his sleigh get towed down the mountain by a snowcat! He’ll be passing out candy canes to all the good children, so be sure to grab one before watching the Crested Butte Ski and Ride School in their annual torchlight parade down the front side of the mountain.
View Colorado lift tickets.
5. Park City, Utah
There is magic in the air at Park City, so of course Santa has to stop by! He’ll be shredding the powder on Christmas Eve, so be sure to look for him on the chairlift. Once the sun goes down, he has an even bigger job: leading more than 100 ski and snowboard instructors down the PayDay run for the 50th annual torchlight celebration. From December 23-25, Santa will be making regular visits to The Canyons for some skiing, but you can also find him at Deer Valley on Christmas Day. Busy guy!
View Utah lift tickets.