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This Weekend In Stoke: Top five mountain New Year's celebrations

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This week we brought you nearly 100 great reasons to stay in town for New Year's Eve. Here are five equally good excuses to get out of Dodge:

1. Work for it! Get an early start on your resolution to get in better shape this year by snowshoe-hiking to 11,500 feet at Arapahoe Basin (or ride the new Black Mountain Express lift up, you lazy bastard) for the Black Mountain Lodge New Year's Eve Celebration, where chef Christopher Rybak will wine and dine you with a seafood raw bar, gourmet buffet and some sinful desserts (you didn't think that resolution was going to last long, did you?) before ringing in the New Year on East Coast time at 10 p.m. Tickets are $89 for adults or $49 for kids ages 7-14 (gratuity included). Keep your resolve in 2011 with upcoming events in the Full Moon Snowshoe Dinner Series on January 19, February 19, March 19, and April 16.

2. Light 'em up! There are New Year's Eve torchlight parades at Beaver Creek, Keystone, Monarch, Powderhorn, SolVista Basin, Vail and Winter Park, a mountain tradition that helps bring some symbolic light to the dark of winter and gives you a great excuse to try the time-lapse tool on that new camera you got for Christmas. 3. Bring the kids! If you're spending New Year's with the kids this year, check out the Disco Tubing and other events at Keystone's Kidtopia Family Week, where a giant snow fort, kid-sized terrain park, and new Family First Tracks program (wake them up early to get freshies with the fam an hour before the lifts officially open) are helping carve the resort's family-friendly reputation in ice. 4. Shred! Winter Park got its superpipe open this week and finished work on its Rail Yard terrain park, just in time for this weekend's Burton Super Demo Tour and Am Series and Winter Park Snowboard Team camps. Also at Winter Park this weekend: Mary Jane TeleDaze (January 2), and the Winter Park Open NCSD Disabled Race (January 2-4). 5. Hire a pro! January is Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month and, coincidentally, the Lakewood-based Professional Ski Instructors Association/American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI) is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2011. There are learn-to-ski-and-ride promotions going on this month at every ski area in Colorado, so if you've been living here all this time without getting on the slopes... What are you waiting for?

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