High coun­try hol­i­days.

Fire­works, parades, ski­ing San­tas are part of cel­e­bra­tions

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By John Meyer

Santa Claus will be a busy guy bring­ing cheer to ski re­sorts dur­ing their an­nual hol­i­day fes­tiv­i­ties.

Looks like Santa Claus will be ski­ing pow­der when he vis­its Colorado ski re­sorts this month, bring­ing cheer to their an­nual hol­i­day fes­tiv­i­ties. With abun­dant nat­u­ral snow mak­ing this one of the best early sea­sons in years, Christ­mas and New Year’s Eve cel­e­bra­tions in ski coun­try could be­come the stuff of epic me­mories. Santa will be a busy fel­low, though. He will be mak­ing stops at Ara­pa­hoe Basin, Aspen, Beaver Creek, Ski Cooper, Cop­per Moun­tain, Crested Butte, Love­land, Pur­ga­tory, Steam­boat, Win­ter Park and else­where.

Here are some of the hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tions that caught our eye:

Ara­pa­hoe Basin: Santa and an elf will visit on Christ­mas Eve, bring­ing candy and hol­i­day cheer while the Sum­mit County Choral So­ci­ety sings Christ­mas car­ols in the base area from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Alas, the an­nual New Year’s Eve gourmet din­ner in Black Moun­tain Lodge at mid-moun­tain is sold out. Info: ara­pa­hoe­basin.com Aspen Snow­mass: The an­nual tree light­ing at the Lit­tle Nell will take place Sun­day at 5 p.m., fea­tur­ing com­pli­men­tary cook­ies and hot co­coa with car­ol­ers and photo ops with Santa. On Christ­mas Eve and Christ­mas Day, the Lit­tle Nell will host four-course din­ners at El­e­ment 47. New Years Eve cel­e­bra­tions will in­clude a torch­light pa­rade on Aspen Moun­tain, fire­works and sev­eral tick­eted events. Info: as­pen­snow­mass.com

Beaver Creek: From Dec. 21 through Jan. 5, Beaver Creek Ex­traor­di­naire’s “Cheer” in the vil­lage will host hol­i­day movies at the ice rink, fire­side story telling with char­ac­ters in cos­tume, car­ol­ers and string quar­tets, “fla­vors of the sea­son” and the work of sculp­tors work­ing in ice and snow. Check the sched­ule on­line be­cause these fes­tiv­i­ties will be held on select days. Info: beavercreek.com

Ski Cooper: Car­ol­ers will sing in the lodge on Christ­mas Eve dur­ing the lunch hour and Santa will be there for pho­tos and ski­ing. The New Year’s Eve cel­e­bra­tion will in­clude live mu­sic from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and a torch­light pa­rade at 6 p.m. Spe­cial moun­tain­top yurt din­ners are planned on Dec. 22 and Dec. 29 with snow­cat trans­porta­tion to the top of the moun­tain. Menus will in­clude sal­mon, New York Strip or stuffed porta­bella with lo­cally sourced wines. Info: ski­cooper.com

Cop­per Moun­tain: Santa makes an ap­pear­ance on Christ­mas Eve along with a kids’ glow-stick pa­rade, a torch­light pa­rade and fire­works with a DJ play­ing Christ­mas songs in a cel­e­bra­tion at the Cen­ter Vil­lage base area from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Can­dle­light ser­vices will be at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Cop­per Moun­tain Chapel. An­other kid’s glow-stick pa­rade, torch­light pa­rade and fire­works ex­trav­a­ganza is planned for New Year’s Eve, 6-10 p.m. Info: cop­per­col­orado.com

Crested Butte: Here’s some­thing dif­fer­ent, be­fit­ting a ski town that de­fines quirky. CB will be host­ing its sixth an­nual Santa Ski and Crawl on Dec. 15 in hopes of break­ing its own record for most skiers and board­ers in full Santa Claus re­galia. All you need is a Santa suit and a sea­son pass or lift ticket for the day. If you don’t have a sea­son pass, you can get a lift ticket for only $40 if you’re in a full Santa suit in­clud­ing top, bot­tom, hat and beard. Info: skicb.com

Key­stone: The Kid­topia Hol­i­day Spec­tac­u­lar, Key­stone’s sig­na­ture hol­i­day sea­son event, has al­ready be­gun and runs through Dec. 24 with all sorts of fam­ily fun in store. The Kid­topia Snow Fort fea­tur­ing slides and mazes will open on Dec. 15 with fire­works to fol­low. The Den­ver Fig­ure Skat­ing Club will make an ap­pear­ance at Lake­side Vil­lage on Dec. 16. The Moun­tain­top Spec­tac­u­lar, with fire­works and the light­ing of the snow fort, will be on Dec. 22. And don’t for­get the Jin­gle Bell Break­fast with Santa on Dec.

24. Info: key­stonere­sort.com

Love­land: Santa will be there Dec. 23-25, not only cruis­ing the slopes but also vis­it­ing the Ski & Ride

School and the Chil­dren’s Cen­ter to hand out candy. Info: skilo­ve­land.com

Monarch: Santa will be ski­ing here all day on Christ­mas Eve, hand­ing out candy and pos­ing for pic­tures. A torch­light pa­rade and fire­works is planned for New Year’s Eve along with live mu­sic, food, drinks and ac­tiv­i­ties for kids. Info: ski­monarch.com

Pur­ga­tory: When Santa comes to Pur­ga­tory, he brings Mrs. Claus with him. A spe­cial buf­fet din­ner with a hot co­coa bar, a Christ­mas cookie sta­tion and a dessert buf­fet is planned for Christ­mas Eve. A New Year’s Eve torch­light pa­rade and fire­works dis­play also will fea­ture a spe­cial night rail jam, a five-course gourmet din­ner with wine pair­ings at the Pow­der­house with trans­porta­tion via snow­cat. Info: pur­ga­to­ryre­sort.com

Steam­boat: The hol­i­day fes­ti­val will be held at Gon­dola Square in the base area on Dec. 23, and Santa will ride down the moun­tain on horse­back. Other fes­tiv­i­ties in­clude a stock­ing scram­ble, cookie dec­o­rat­ing, story time and a hol­i­day concert. When night falls, a torch­light pa­rade and fire­works will fol­low. New Year’s Eve will have a torch­light pa­rade and fire­works plus a cham­pagne party at the top of the gon­dola in the Thun­der­head Lodge. Info: steam­boat.com

Tel­luride: In ad­di­tion to torch­light parades on Christ­mas Eve and New Year’s Eve, a “Hol­i­day Pre­lude” cel­e­bra­tion will take place at Moun­tain Vil­lage Dec. 15-16, com­plete with free ice skat­ing, rides on the Po­lar Ex­press to the North Pole, Santa’s Vil­lage, live rein­deer, a tree light­ing and car­ol­ing. Info: tel­lurideskire­sort.com

Win­ter Park: Santa’s itin­er­ary brings him here on Dec. 15, and Dec. 22-24, with the torch­light pa­rade set for Christ­mas Eve. Snow­cats will be adorned with Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions and fire­works will fol­low. Info: win­ter­parkre­sort.com

Wolf Creek: Santa vis­its on Christ­mas Eve and Christ­mas Day, hand­ing out candy canes. Din­ner at the Up­per Lodge will in­clude Cor­nish game hens with mashed pota­toes and gravy, green beans and dessert. Info: wolfcreek­ski.com

Photo il­lus­tra­tion by Jeff Neu­mann, The Den­ver Post; pho­tos by Thinkstock for Getty Im­ages

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