You’ve waited up for Santa, decimated the wrapping on your presents and started the annual “gift returning and re-gifting” relay, so there’s just one more opportunity to whoop it up in 2014: New Year’s Eve. It’s perhaps one of the most stressful holidays of the year, creating a big, swirling morass of possibilities that leave you wondering where to go, how much champagne to consume and who to kiss. It’s daunting.
To help cut through the craziness, we’ve cultivated a list of ski resorts around North America that are taking their New Year’s Eve celebrations seriously—so you don’t have to.
Festivities for Families
1. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada
For families spending the holidays at Whistler Blackcomb, you’ll have not one but three venues to visit and enjoy. From ice skating in Whistler Olympic Plaza, wandering magicians, face painting and storytelling in Millennium Plaza and a spectacular Fire and Ice Show at the base of Whistler Mountain, there is plenty to experience this holiday. Plus, with three early countdowns to prevent little ones’ meltdowns, you can celebrate with the family and still retire early enough to catch first chair on New Year’s Day.
View lift tickets to Whistler Blackcomb.
2. Snowshoe Mountain, West Virginia
While it’s fun to celebrate New Year’s Eve with your children, sometimes it can be hard to get them settled down to sleep after the excitement. At Snowshoe Mountain, the Big Top New Year’s Celebration is sure to wear out even the smallest revelers. The Big Top party includes music, pizza, party favors and a midnight cider toast, PLUS the Eurobungy, climbing wall and inflatables–there’s nothing like bouncing in a new year.
View lift tickets to Snowshoe Mountain.
3. Windham Mountain, New York
While Times Square has the giant ball and Ryan Seacrest, Windham Mountain has a celebration that is almost as magical. The evening includes a performance by Joshua Tree, the “premier U2 tribute band,” and a DJ for the adults while kids can enjoy a special magic show with magician Sean Doolan and a movie night. The evening concludes with a fireworks show lighting up the slopes.
View lift tickets to Windham Mountain.
4. Heavenly Mountain Resort, California
It’s a night of fire and ice at Heavenly Resort for New Year’s: the Fire Groove fire dancers will be spinning flames to a live performance by Wes Quave and the “Fear-No-Ice” sculptors will bust out their saws to carve their crowning glory for the New Year. Call your friends on the East Coast to celebrate Heavenly’s Gondola Ball Drop (an illuminated gondola cabin) in concurrence with the Ball Drop in Time Square with plenty of fireworks. Still in the mood to party? There are plenty of clubs, bars and casinos in South Lake Tahoe that will help you ring in the new year in style.
“Boots and Pants” Parties
5. Vail, Colorado
Ah, Vail: where the beer flows like wine and the women flock…wait, nope, that’s somewhere else. Vail is where everything is bigger, especially the parties. For one of the highest New Year’s Eve celebrations (10, 250 feet above sea level, to be exact), head to Décimo and ring in 2015 with EDM superstars the EC Twins. Start the evening with a grand gondola ride (heated seats and WiFi) up to mid-mountain, where you’ll walk the red carpet into the chic nightclub where you can enjoy bottle service or book a VIP table for personalized service. It’s possibly the poshest party on a peak.
6. Fernie Alpine Resort, British Columbia, Canada
If you want to be a part of one of the biggest New Year’s Eve parties in British Columbia, you need to start making plans now. The Griz Bar at Fernie hosts a bumpin’ party with a champagne toast, dancing and live music—this year features a show by the Tom Sellecks. For all those who haven’t hit the magic 2-1, cross the border: this party is open to anyone 19 or older. Tickets go on sale about three weeks before the big day, but they go fast (it sells out every year). If you were thinking about getting to the Griz, you’ll have to wait until next year.
View lift tickets to Fernie Alpine Resort.
7. Loon Mountain Resort, New Hampshire
If you want to party like a true folk hero (and can drink like a blue ox), head to Loon Mountain Resort for Bunyan’s Legendary Nights: New Year’s Eve Party, which is held at the Paul Bunyan Room, the epicenter for après at the resort. This end-of-the-year edition of the Bunyan’s Legendary Nights concert series will feature DJ That Ninjah, a champagne toast and hors d’oeuvres that are big enough to satisfy a giant appetite including pizza, wings, meatballs and other hot appetizers.
Ride in the New Year
8. Mount Hood Meadows, Oregon
It’s believed that how you spend the first day of the new year can foretell how you’ll spend the entire year. Hedge your bets at Mount Hood with a special extended lift ticket that will let you stay on the slopes from 3 p.m. – midnight on New Year’s Eve and will almost certainly ensure that you enjoy plenty of turns in 2015. If you prefer to party down, join Widmer Brothers Brewing to “Brrring in the New Year” with a dinner buffet, live music, fireworks and a balloon drop and toast.
View lift tickets to Mount Hood Meadows.
9. Holiday Valley Mountain, New York
Stay on the slopes until 11 p.m. at Holiday Valley Mountain, where you can make loops on Cindy’s lift before watching the Snowcat Parade at 11:15 p.m. If you want to get in on the action, intermediate and expert skiers can take part in the torchlight parade at 11:30 p.m. before the fireworks light up the sky. Late night skiing plus pyrotechnics? Yes, please.
10. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Head up, up, up the mountain for an elevated New Year’s Eve at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The torchlight parade and fireworks start around 6 p.m., but the party at almost 10,000 feet begins at 9 p.m. The Gondi-Gala at Couloir Restaurant, which is located at the top of the Bridger Gondola, allows guests to rock in the new year with live music from Whiskey Mornin and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight.
View lift tickets to Jackson Hole.
11. Silver Mountain Resort, Idaho
One of the perks of celebrating at a ski resort is the opportunity to sneak in a few runs when it stays open late. At Silver Mountain Resort, it’s not just the slopes that are heating up for the New Year. At Silver Rapids Waterpark, it’s always 85 degrees and guests will be enjoy a lazy river duck race, a balloon drop and other family festivities before culminating in a 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve Countdown.
View lift tickets to Silver Mountain Resort.
12. Crested Butte Nordic, Colorado
There’s nothing like ringing in the new year on a sick slope, but consider strapping on skinny skis or snowshoes for a decidedly different experience at Crested Butte. Take the trail to the Magic Meadows Yurt (the trail is marked with tiki torches) and enjoy a five-course dinner, libations and music. The package includes trail pass, ski or snowshoe rental, a five-course dinner, beer and wine. If you want to skip dinner, you can join the party at 10:30 p.m. and enjoy beer, wine and a celebratory toast at midnight with DJ supplied dance music for a lower price point.
View lift tickets to Crested Butte XC.
13. Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Idaho
Sure, skiing until midnight is great, but nothing says party like giant tubes careening down the mountain—it’s second only to a sled coated with a “new non-caloric silicon-based kitchen lubricant…[that] creates a surface 500 times more slippery than any cooking oil.” At Schweitzer Mountain Resort, spend the final hours of 2014 with tubing at Hermit’s Hollow; snacks, hot chocolate, s’mores and a glow gift will be provided at the yurt.
View lift tickets to Schweitzer Mountain Resort.