Holidays in the High Country

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve

Holidays in the High Country

Local Expert: Year-Round Events

As someone that gets to experience the beauty of Winter Park year-round, I completely understand why visitors choose to spend the Holidays here. There is the excitement of driving over Berthoud Pass into a town covered in lights that just gets you in the holiday mood. With an overabundance of different activities that the whole family can enjoy, Winter Park truly is a wonderful spot to savor the holidays. Here are some of my favorite events going on during the holiday break in Winter Park:

Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade at Winter Park Resort

The Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade is one of the most beloved Winter Park traditions. Adults and kids alike find joy from this event year after year. We will pack the car with friends and family and head to Winter Park Resort around dusk with thermos’ full of hot chocolate (and schnapps for those 21+). Find a place near the giant bonfire at the base or pack hand-warmers to stay toasty until the firework finale and watch the procession of skiers and snowboarders wielding red flames as they snake down Hughes. Everyone cheers the participants on, anxiously awaiting Santa Claus to come down last with their sled followed by an incredible fireworks display. Afterwards, the children will line up to see Santa and receive their first Christmas Present of the holiday! This event really speaks to the community of Winter Park and is full of smiling, friendly faces!

Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners

I understand the desire to be at home with family during the holidays making dinner for the ones closest to you. That said, the only thing better than making dinner for your family is relaxing and having one of the amazing restaurants near Winter Park do the cooking and cleaning for you! Instead of worrying about burning the bird on Thanksgiving, enjoy prime rib and butternut squash soup! Many restaurants offer buffet settings for the picky eaters of your family to enjoy as well.

Christmas in the mountains means getting outside, taking some turns and really getting to enjoy special moments with your loved ones. Instead of prepping in the kitchen all morning, you can get some fresh mountain air while snowshoeing! Just be sure to make your reservations well ahead of time to ensure you get a seat at your favorite dinner spot in The Valley.

New Year's Eve

Check out PlayWinterPark.com event calendar to learn about New Year’s Eve parties in Winter Park. There is always a DJ or Live Music at a couple of local venues. Make reservations early if you want to fill up before you start throwing em’ back as this is a very busy night for most local restaurants! Make your way to Hideaway Park around 9pm for a Free Fireworks show put on by the Town of Winter Park and The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce! Be sure to use the Winter Park FREE Transit system, The Lift, to get around on nights like New Year’s Eve. No need for drinking and driving when you’ve got a free ride, amirite?!

All the Activities

Snow conditions vary year-to-year but there is usually a pretty good snow-base for the holidays at Winter Park Resort and Granby Ranch. Hit the slopes with the whole family or put the kids in lessons while the adults take runs for the day or hit the spa. Since there is an influx of people in town during the holidays you could skip the lift lines and rent snowshoes, cross-country skis and snowmobiles for another outdoor experience! The whole family can enjoy tubing at one of the 4 tubing hills in the area. What I'm trying to get at is that there is an endless supply of fun activities at your fingertips while visiting Winter Park, check them out here.

Plan Ahead

Plan ahead for your holidays away from home and you’ll be sure to find lodging deals during your stay! Look into resort season passes at the end of the season for the best deals, too. If you plan on skiing more than 4 days, it’s usually a better deal to buy the pass at the discounted rate than 4 single day lift tickets! Sometimes ski vacations can be stressful with all the moving parts, equipment, weather conditions, etc, so always remember that you will be making family memories you won't ever forget!