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A Global Guide to Ski Resort Holiday Events

Dan Sherman Ski Travel CMO

Are you heading to the mountains over the upcoming holidays? Many resorts embrace the holiday spirit and transform into twinkling mountain towns with festive activities from Santa Visits, to parades, to markets.

Here’s what to expect from a few of the most festive resort destinations around the world from the experts at Ski.com.

“The quintessential holiday vacation is a ski trip in the mountains,” says CMO at Ski.com and industry veteran, Dan Sherman. “From elaborate light displays in quaint mountain villages and Santa races to holiday markets and torchlight parades, mountain destinations offer the epitome of an idyllic holiday atmosphere.”

Vail, Colorado
Vail’s Holidays are held from November 29th through December 31st. The festivities kick off with the annual Kris Kringle Market, an outdoor market featuring 34 local and regional Colorado vendors, where travelers can pick up unique last minute gifts. On December 22nd, Vail Winterfest Ice Theater hosts their Grand Opening Celebration.

Dress like Santa or Ms. Claus and get a free lift ticket in Whistler.
Dress like Santa or Ms. Claus and get a free lift ticket in Whistler.

Whistler Blackcomb, Canada
Dress like Santa and Ms. Claus and ski for free on the annual Santa Ski Day, this December in Whistler. The first 75 guests to arrive at the Garibaldi Lift Company dressed in holiday garb will be awarded a free lift ticket. In addition, children can ice skate with Santa throughout the holiday season at the Whistler Olympic Plaza.

Kitzbuhel, Austria
An ultimate holiday destination for skiing and festivities, the town of Kitzbuhel transforms into a Christmas market and winter wonderland from November 30th through December 26th. On January 1st, thousands of locals and visitors ring in the New Year with a torch skiing and flame jumping show, complete with the 64th annual fireworks show put on by fireworks champion, Armin Lukasser.

Stowe, Vermont
An idyllic New England town, Stowe is a winter wonderland. Catch a holiday concert at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center or take the kids to a community screening of It’s a Wonderful Life. Ring in the New Year with Stowe’s on-mountain Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Show over Spruce Peak.

Innsbruck, Austria
From mid-November through early January, the capitol of Tyrol is awash with Christmas festivities. Every day at dusk, trumpeters perform traditional carols on the 500-year-old Golden Roof. Don’t miss Kiachln, a traditional Advent doughnut served with hot cranberry sauce. Take a ride up the funicular to Hafelekar, located just outside of Innsbruck to enjoy the twinkling city below.

Sun Valley, Idaho
The birthplace of US skiing, Sun Valley, Idaho is a small town with five-star amenities, but without the crowds. Don’t miss Christmas Eve fireworks and a sky-illuminating torchlight parade down Dollar Mountain. Take sleigh rides to Trail Creek Cabin for dinner or amble down Main Street in Ketchum, lit up with a festive holiday gallery walk and festive decorations on all of the beautiful lodges.

Aspen, Colorado
The 12 Days of Aspen usher in the holidays in Aspen, Colorado. On December 20th, kids can make their parents a special gift at the St. Regis, while LeAnn Rimes will perform at the Belly Up that evening. The following day, Santa will be at the Winer Wonderland with his live reindeer. On the 31st, ring in the New Year with an astounding fireworks show over Aspen Mountain. The Infamous Stringdusters will cap off the evening with a performance at the Wheeler Opera House.

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