New Year's Eve 2011 Denver: ten best mountain celebrations

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What better time to take advantage of this city's proximity to the beautiful Rocky Mountains -- and some of the best skiing in the world -- than New Year's Eve? Keep reading for our list of the ten best ways to celebrate New Year's, mountain-style.

10. Torchlight Parade in Steamboat The annual Torchlight Parade & Fireworks at Steamboat Springs is a spectacle worth the drive from Denver; you'll see the Steamboat Ski & Snowboard School parade down the slopes lit only by torches. Afterward, there will be fireworks to help ring in the New Year. The parade starts at 7 p.m. Call 970-879-6111 or visit www.steamboat.com.

9. Torchlight Parade in Breckenridge Breckenridge is also hosting a torchlight parade and a fireworks display -- plus concerts and a party at the Main Street Station. Call 877-864-0868 or visit www.gobreck.com.

8. Freestyle Nordic Race and Torchlight Parade in Crested Butte Crested Butte Mountain Resort has some options for folks who want a little activity with their New Year's; the Glide into 2012 Freestyle Nordic Race & Relative Relay (visit www.crestedbuttechamber.org for details) will be held before Crested Butte's own torchlight parade. Call 800-545-4505 or visit www.crestedbuttechamber.com.

7. Party at Lakeside Village in Keystone Looking for a mountainside champagne bar? Look no further than Keystone's New Year's Eve Celebration, which features a party at the Lakeside Village (including ice skating, a light show, a champagne bar and more); there will also be dinner options and live music at the resort. Festivities start at 5 p.m., and prices vary by activity; call 800-468-5004 or visit www.keystoneresort.com.

6. En Fuego! Copper Mountain hosts fire-and-ice En Fuego events (one is pictured above) multiple times a year, but there's a special edition on New Year's Eve, plus a snowcat parade, fireworks display, the Burton Mountain Festival, parties throughout the village, an X Games rail-jam qualifier and more. Call 866-841-2481 or visit www.coppercolorado.com.

5. Rail Jam in Winter Park Winter Park is hosting the Grand Winter Sports Carnival Rail Jam and Celebration, with skijoring, rail jam, skating races and more for your daytime viewing pleasure. Activities run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and are free; call 800-979-0332 or visit www.winterparkresort.com.

4. Glow-Stick Parade at Granby Ranch Granby Ranch is seeing the torchlight parade and fireworks that other resorts are offering and raising them a glow-stick walking parade. Admission to the light shows is free; call 888-850-4615 or visit www.granbyranch.com.

3. Moonlight Dining at Arapahoe Basin Arapahoe Basin's Moonlight Dinner Series continues on New Year's Eve; there will be champagne, party favors and, of course, a decadent meal. Admission is $89, and reservations are required; call 888-272-7246 or visit www.arapahoebasin.com.

2. Stay Up All Night in Vail Perhaps you want to party like a rock star New Year's Eve -- but in the mountains, so you can get up (or not go to bed at all) and hit the slopes early on New Year's Day. Vail's the place to be if that's the case; DJ Logic and Golden B will be mixing Top 40, dance, house, hip hop and more, plus, there will be a champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight. The party at the Dobson Ice Arena, 321 East Lionshead Circle in Vail, starts at 8 p.m., and admission for the eighteen-and-up party is $50 to $200. Call 970-845-8497 or visit www.vailnye.com.

1. Strings or Jane's Addiction in Aspen For a more sedate evening, head to the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, where the David Bromberg Quartet will be providing the tunes; the evening includes drinks, treats and surprises. It starts at 8:30 p.m., and tickets are $49.50 to $59.50; call 970-920-5770 or visit www.wheeleroperahouse.com. And everyone should know by now that the best music venue in the high country -- that's Belly Up in Aspen, for those who've been spending 2011 in a dark cardboard box -- will be rocking it out on New Year's Eve, and the headliner this year is no less than Jane's Addiction. Tickets are $265 in advance and $275 at the door; call 970-544-9800 or visit www.bellyupaspen.com.

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