Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holidays at Colorado Resorts

No matter which resort you visit during the holidays, each one will be aglow with lights and festive decor, guaranteeing a sparkly and white Christmas. Santa sightings, fireworks displays and torchlight parades have been annual holiday events for years. Besides these and other special activities going on in December, here are some you may not know about. Visit websites for lodging deals. Photo: Crested Butte Mountain Resort celebrates New Year's Eve with a torchlight parade and fireworks. 
Dusty Demerson, courtesy of Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

Aspen/Snowmass—Among many holiday-themed events, the renowned Aspen Santa Fe Ballet performs The Nutcracker on the 17th and 18th at the Aspen District Theatre in Aspen. Over at Snowmass, you can drop last minute letters to Santa in his personal mailbox on the Snowmass Village Mall Dec. 6-24. 800-679-3147;

Beaver Creek—A new tradition starts this season with Beaver Creek Loves Kids Winterfest on the 18th through Jan. 1. Interactive family activities and events will include a kids Winter Wonder Parade, disco skate nights, figure skating performances, and Animals of Winter Ice Menagerie. 800-953-0844;

Breckenridge—If you have a Santa suit and can run, join other jolly old fellows in a race down Main Street to benefit Adopt an Angel prior to the Lighting of Breckenridge that kicks off the town’s Victorian Christmas on Dec. 3.

If making snow forts is your forte, you should enter The Snowflake Challenge—a holiday snow sculpting competition for amateurs. Not to be confused with the Snow Sculpture Championships held at the end of January, this one runs from Dec. 9-16, with the snow art decorating downtown through Christmas.  800-251-2417;

Keystone—Every year Keystone’s Pastry Chef Ned Archibald adds a new feature to his Chocolate Village, the resort’s most popular holiday tradition at the Keystone Lodge & Spa. The amazing alpine village includes a moving gondola, a waterfall and a six-foot tall Christmas tree with presents—all made from 2,500 pounds of chocolate! It will be displayed from the 15th through Jan. 3. 877-204-7889;

Steamboat—Downtown’s main street closes down between 5 and 8 p.m. on the 10th to make strolling easy for The Joyous Jaunt, a tour of stores’ open houses and sampling of seasonal libations at pubs and restaurants. A light parade with entertainment, including a Fruit Cake toss, kicks off holiday cheer. 800-922-2722;

VailFamily Holidaze returns after a successful debut last season. From the 18th through Christmas Day, carolers and concerts will entertain, plus look for holiday giveaways, Santa’s workshop and lots more. On the 21st, 22nd and 23rd, champion skaters like two-time world silver medalist Patrick Chan will perform in Winter Solstice on Ice at Solaris Ice Rink outdoors in the heart of Vail Village. 800-805-2457;

Winter Park—Ski with Santa and make a memory your kids will never forget. The jolly old man will be around to take a run with kids every day during the week before Christmas. On Christmas Eve he’ll hand out presents to the little ones after skiing down in the torchlight parade. 303-316-1564;
Photo: Courtesy of Winter Park Resort