Torchlight parades, skiing Santas and other holiday celebrations at Colorado resorts

Torchlight parades, skiing Santas and other holiday celebrations at Colorado resorts

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 the eye of The Know:

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 (Dec. 9) 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 Years 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

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