10 Festive Ski-Country Stops for the 2018 Holidays

Winter Park Torchlight Parade. Photo: courtesy Colorado Ski Country

Winter Park Torchlight Parade. Photo: courtesy Colorado Ski Country

From Santa Claus to Snowcats, Family Fun is Guaranteed 

Christmas magic will dust the slopes this winter at some of the best Colorado resorts. From fireworks to visits by Santa Claus himself, the family-friendly events will be sprinkled around the state for all to enjoy the spirit of the season. Guests can celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year at Colorado’s ski areas whether they are long-time skiers and snowboarders, first-time participants or non-skiers. There is a guaranteed fun winter destination for the whole family. 


On Christmas Eve, enjoy the music of carolers after a day on the slopes. For the main event, Santa Claus plans on making a visit before his big worldwide trek that night. This family-friendly Christmas special makes the perfect photo-op. Just days later, on New Year’s Eve, Cooper will host live music and a torchlight parade. Be sure to stop by for all the days in between holidays for live music performances, snowcat rides and more. 

Granby Ranch

Granby Ranch will celebrate the holidays with several days of fun activities. Ski with Santa Dec. 22-23. On Christmas Eve, guests can enjoy free hot chocolate, a Grand Choral performance around the fire pit and a twilight reading of The Night Before Christmas. Do you dream of a white Christmas? Well, on Dec. 25, enjoy a buffet at Granby Ranch within the surrounding winter wonderland. 

Granby Ranch will close out 2018 with an evening of live music and night skiing on Dec. 29, followed by a NYE celebration featuring an outdoor bar, a glow-stick parade and fireworks display. There will be a family-friendly party with a DJ and photo booth until 9 p.m. and an adults-only party, including a champagne toast, at midnight and alcoholic beverages until 1 a.m.  

Howelsen Hill

On Sunday, Dec. 9, you are invited to the Community Holiday Party at Howelsen Hill featuring tubing, Santa’s workshop, caroling, hot chocolate and cookies. Howelsen will also host two Ski Free Sundays during the holiday period (check their site for details), on Dec. 23 and Dec. 30, giving Steamboat Springs holiday visitors a fun and affordable family-friendly skiing opportunity.

Kendall Mountain

You don’t have to worry about Christmas closures at Kendall Mountain. This southwestern Colorado ski area will be open every day Dec. 21 through Jan. 1 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., including night skiing on Dec. 22. Also, ski with Santa on Christmas Eve. Cabin fever is against the rules out here, and the ski possibilities are endless. 

Loveland Ski Area

Every Christmas Santa takes time out of his busy schedule to ski at Loveland Ski Area. This year is no different, visit Mr. Claus Dec. 23-25. Not only will he be cruising the slopes, but he’ll also visit the Ski & Ride School and Children’s Center to hand out candy to young ones and pose for photos. 

Fireworks at Monarch Mountain. Photo: courtesy Colorado Ski Country

Fireworks at Monarch Mountain. Photo: courtesy Colorado Ski Country

Monarch Mountain

Monarch Mountain’s Christmas Eve festivities will include a visit from the big man himself, Santa Claus. And it just so happens his pre-world-travel plans consist of skiing Monarch all day. Santa will hand out candy canes and take pictures with guests, regardless of whether you can keep up with him on the slopes. 
On NYE, Monarch will celebrate with the annual torchlight parade and fireworks show. The event will also feature live music, food, drinks and activities for the kids.

Santa at Powderhorn Resort. Photo: courtesy Colorado Ski Country

Santa at Powderhorn Resort. Photo: courtesy Colorado Ski Country

Powderhorn Resort

Change it up this NYE and party the Colorado way at Powderhorn Resort. Ring in the New Year around Grand Mesa and join the resort for a holiday rail jam, a bonfire and fireworks display in a glorious celebration for all. 

Sunlight Mountain Resort

Sunlight Mountain Resort is excited to spread holiday cheer through demo days and skiing with Santa on Dec. 21. Of course, a hot springs soak is mandatory when in Glenwood Springs, but so is taking a trip to the powdery paradise on Sunlight Mountain, just up the road. 

Winter Park Resort

Santa loves Winter Park. In fact, he loves it so much he plans on paying visits on Dec. 15, 22, 23 and 24. This year, he is excited to pose for photos with families and participate in the Christmas Eve torchlight parade on Dec. 24. But what would a Christmas celebration be without Christmas carols, hot chocolate, a procession of torch-bearing skiers and riders lighting up the slopes, a fireworks display and snowcats adorned with Christmas colors? I mean c’mon. 

Wolf Creek Ski Area

Wolf Creek also has dibs on Santa Claus (busy fellow) for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Santa will spread holiday cheer around the mountain by handing out candy canes while his reindeer rest. Wolf Creek Upper Lodge chefs will bake festive Cornish Game Hens with traditional mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and a choice of dessert.  Pathfinder Bar will also offer festive drink specials. Yummiest. Christmas. Ever. 

-         Natasha Lovato

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