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What happens at Christmas and New Years in the ski resorts of Colorado, USA?

PRENAVITY

A tree lighting ceremony kicks off the holiday season at many ski resorts, including Vail and Breckenridge, and tends to take place in early to mid-December, complete with hot chocolate and carols.

From then on, the ski resorts burst into action: Vail gives out candy canes at its base areas and shows family-friendly movies. Family-friendly Christmas activities happen in Lionshead and Vail Villages, including concerts and the famous Winter Solstice on Ice skating show.

Beaver Creek has “Winterfest” that lasts until New Year’s Day and you can help Santa in his cabin, create your own custom elf hat and watch the characters roam the base town of Beaver Creek. There are also ice skating shows, a teen skating night, kids games for all ages, and winter wonderland parades.

In Aspen, visiting Santa’s real reindeer can be the highlight of your trip, plus you’ll hear Christmas carols and get to decorate cookies.

GOOD NIGHT

Most ski resorts have nightly celebrations leading up to the big day for the whole family, so you can keep the kids busy.

The Winter Park Ski Resort, for example, has Santa strolling through the Village and sometimes even on skis and you can pet his reindeer.

The Christmas Eve party is fabulous for families. Head home and put on your warm night clothes and comfortable boots and then head to the foot of the mountain to see the dancing Christmas trees and join in the carols around the bonfire. Before long, the torchlight descent will begin with ski patrol and ski instructors skiing or tackling the main slope of Hughes, torches lit. Santa can also usually be seen coming down the mountain, complete with his sleigh. The finale is the dance of the fairy-lit snow cats marching down the slopes, doing a few turns before slowly disappearing.

CHRISTMAS DAY

Christmas morning can be a fantastic time to ski if you’re up early or have been woken up by the kids! The slopes are relatively uncrowded until lunchtime, while others open their presents. Or maybe you prefer to relax over breakfast or brunch and then wander around the resort at your leisure. You might see Santa skiing on Christmas Day, so watch out for the traditional red and white suit.

NEW YEAR EVE

New Year’s parties abound in the Colorado ski resort.

Aspen has legendary parties and nightlife throughout the year, but by New Year’s Eve they go all out and the bubbly is free flowing. Choose one of Aspen’s many restaurants – there are plenty to choose from, both elegant and affordable. Then head to watch the fireworks from the park in downtown Aspen. This family event has a bonfire to keep you warm and a DJ to keep you entertained. A little later, check out one of Aspen’s many hot spots: Belly Up nightclub for live music, Eric’s often has a DJ, and the Regal Watering Hole has a New Year’s Eve gala and dance.

Vail is another focal point for New Year’s Eve celebrations and this year Dobson Ice Stadium will be transformed into Vail’s biggest nightclub. Midnight celebrations include champagne, traditional ball drop, and blizzard confetti.

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