Festive Holiday Happenings at Our Favorite Ski Towns
Our favorite ski resorts put the merry in Merry Christmas. Here’s a roundup of the best holidays happenings on the slopes.
Beaver Creek, Colorado
You’ll have the Christmas vacation Clark Griswold dreamed of at Beaver Creek. The resort’s 37th Annual Tree Lighting kicks off the season on Nov. 25 with a poetry contest, ice skating show, live performances and a visit from Santa. For two weeks in December, Beaver Creek’s WinterFest features daily kids’ parades, a Family FunFest Carnival, magicians and ice carving demonstrations. Ring in the New Year at the resort’s Family Bash, voted one of Travel Channel’s top 10 family-friendly NYE parties. The evening begins with a public glow stick ski down, torchlight parade and fireworks, then heads indoors where revelers dance the night away, play games and watch the balloons drop.
The Blue Mountains, Ontario, Canada
Ice is transformed into art at the Frozen in Time Festival in neighboring Collingwood, Dec. 28 to 30. The historic downtown looks as if Elsa popped by to decorate, with 25 stunning ice sculptures adorning its streets. At night, the sculptures are lit with an array of lights to reveal a dazzling, ethereal glow. There’s more ice, ice baby with ice skating, ice block building and renowned ice carvers competing in the Battle of the Chainsaws. When cold noses and tingling toes beckon you inside, head for the Winter Wonderland Village, where family activities and a crackling fire await.
For the quintessential, small-town New England holiday experience, look no further than Vermont’s Manchester Village. In a show of traditional holiday hospitality, a handful of local inns provide guests with light bites, warming beverages and halls festooned in holiday finery during the holiday inn tours on Dec. 2 and 9. Hop aboard the Elf Express on Dec. 16 and 17 for an hour-long journey through the snow-capped Green Mountains. As the train ambles along, elves regale riders with holiday stories, songs, hot chocolate and cookies before Mr. and Mrs. Claus stroll down the aisles.
Lantern-toting merrymakers stroll through Vail Village on Fri., Dec. 22 during the holiday lantern walk. The procession culminates in the opening-night celebration of the Vail Winterfest Ice Theater, an outdoor theater with oversized ice chairs that shows popular holiday films nightly. The luxe Hotel Talisa is celebrating its first holiday with two weeks of festivities, from Dec. 22 to Jan. 6. We’re penciling in the ornament branding and s’mores evening with the s’mores butler (hello, dream job) on Sat., Dec. 23, and the Fire & Ice event, featuring ice-sculpture carving, a specialty bar and s’mores roast, on Fridays, Dec. 29 and Jan. 5.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
‘Tis the season of light in Santa Fe. Every Christmas Eve, thousands gather to bask in the glow of farolitos — small, sand-filled paper lanterns illuminated by votive candles — during Santa Fe’s Canyon Road Farolito Walk. Lining streets and adobe buildings, the lanterns cast an ember-like glow as celebrants casually stroll along, oohing and aahing over the decorations and stopping to warm themselves beside luminarias (small bonfires). Gathered round the fires, carolers often break into song, filling the brisk, winter air with the sound of music.
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Santa makes a grand entrance — down the slopes on horseback, no less — at Steamboat Springs Mountain Village’s annual Holiday Festival on Dec. 17. Afterwards, Santa heads to his workshop where families can find him and several of his reindeer friends prepping for the big day. A stocking scramble, holiday treats, cookie decorating and free live concert round out the celebration. The grand finale? A torchlight parade, fireworks and night skiing.
Québec City, Québec, Canada
Come December, Old Quebec transforms into the sort of fairytale village you’d find nestled in a snow globe. Stroll through the Petit-Champlain district, a portrait of Old World holiday charm with dazzling lights, gorgeous greenery and storefront windows so beguiling you can’t help but duck inside. The delightful German Christmas Market (Nov. 23 to Dec. 23) is fashioned on a traditional outdoor bazaar with vendors selling their wares from cabin-like kiosks draped with lights and garlands. Stock up on gifts then say prost over bratwurst, mulled wine, ale and gingerbread.