What to Do on Colorado's Ski Slopes: December 2015

It's here. The winter snow sports season has arrived. Most of the resorts are open — with the rest making plans for this month. But there is already plenty to do out there. You can read about what's new at each resort in the Edge, our winter sports guide, which is available online. Each description lays out what's new, what the signature experience is at each resort, what to splurge on, how to go cheap and, of course, what to drink. In the meantime, here is what's coming in December.

December 1: Rise & Shine Rando Series, Arapahoe Basin. Join us starting at for a four-part series of uphill challenges two Tuesday mornings in December and January. Challenge yourself to all four or pick and choose which morning works the best for you and your workout schedule. Starting at 7 a.m. in the base area, at 10,780’, and finishing near the summit, at 12,474’, with twists and turns along the way, the early morning Rise and Shine Rando Races are a fun and challenging way to start your day (arapahoebasin.com).

December 3: Outdoor Divas Women’s Demo Day, Loveland. This is your chance to come and try all the latest women’s ski equipment before you buy it. To RSVP, contact events@outdoordivas.com, or stop by one of the Outdoor Divas locations. There is no cost to participate, but a driver’s license and credit card are required for deposit, as is a valid lift ticket. Brands available for demo include Kastle, Rossignol, K2, Icelantic, Volkl, Blizzard, Nordica and Dynastar. Please contact Outdoor Divas for specific model information (skiloveland.com).

December 4: 50th Anniversary Kick-Off Party, Purgatory. Come downtown on Noel Night, whee Purgatory Resort will have a special event to kick off its fiftieth-anniversary celebration (purgatoryresort.com)!

December 4-6: Birds of Prey Men’s World Cup, Beaver Creek. See the fastest men of winter vie for bragging rights on what is regarded as one of the most difficult downhill courses in the world, featuring a vertical drop of 757 meters. The 2015 lineup offers a weekend of downhill, Super G and giant slalom, as the only domestic stop for the U.S. men on one of the world’s toughest courses (beavercreek.com).

December 5: Summit for Life Uphill Race, Aspen Mountain. The 10th Annual Summit for Life Uphill Race invites local enthusiasts and regional sports junkies to strap on a headlamp and race up 3,000 vertical feet to the top of Aspen Mountain (aspensnowmass.com).

December 5: Lighting of Breckenridge & Race of the Santas. Participate in the Race of the Santas, when 100s of Santas race down Main Street to benefit Adopt an Angel, and continue the festivities with the Lighting of Breckenridge, when Santa greets holiday revelers from his horse-drawn carriage (breckenridge.com).

December 5-6: Colorado Demo Days, Copper Mountain.

December 6: Bent Gate Mountaineering Day, Loveland. Bent Gate Mountaineering visits Loveland to host a demo day with its line of Telemark and AT gear. Pre-register with Bent Gate to receive a discount lift ticket and lunch package. There is no cost to participate, but a driver’s license and credit card are required for deposit, as is a valid lift ticket. Discount tickets available; inquire at the Bent Gate Demo registration the morning of the event (skiloveland.com).

December 7-11: U.S. Revolution Tour, Copper Mountain. The Copper stop of the U.S. Revolution Tour will include snowboard and freeski competitions for slopestyle and halfpipe. The Rev Tour has proven to be a progressive venue for today’s top junior riders and skiers to take the competitive stage in multiple disciplines and is designed to serve as a stepping stone for athletes making the transition from competing at the grassroots level to the elite level. The series pre-qualifies a portion of its field and then opens registration to any athlete, but is focused on riders 13-19 years old. Top winners may earn an invitation to the U.S. Grand Prix, Junior Worlds, USASA Nationals, and participate in Project Gold camps (coppercolorado.com).

December 10-13: Dew Tour Mountain Championships, Breckenridge. The Dew Tour will descend upon Breckenridge Ski Resort for four days of snowboard and freeski competitions, and will air four hours live on NBC and four hours on NBCSN (breckenridge.com).

December 11: Night Skiing Opening Night, Steamboat. Steamboat expands night skiing and riding operations for the 2015-16 season from three to five nights a week, Thursday through Monday, through April 4 (steamboat.com).

December 11: Premiere of Fade to Winter and release of Crazy Mountain Brewery’s Shane McConkey IPA. Screening and release at the Vail Ale House; all proceeds donated to the McConkey Foundation (crazymountainbrewery.com).

December 11-13: Vail Snow Daze, Vail. The annual early-season kickoff to Vail’s winter season returns for its eighth year! A free weekend packed with activities for all ages, Vail Snow Daze is North America’s largest early-season kick-off bash and features three full days of on-and-off-mountain action, topped with two packed nights of national-headliner concerts and parties (vail.com).

December 11-13: Mascot Stampede, Steamboat. College mascots from around the country will be coming to Steamboat for a weekend of friendly competition and rivalry (steamboat.com).

December 12: 3rd International Women’s Ski Day, presented by SheJumps, Arapahoe Basin. Come out and celebrate the 3rd International Women’s Ski Day with SheJumps and some of Arapahoe Basin’s skiing and riding women (arapahoebasin.com)!

December 12-13: SoGnar Snowboard Camp Tour, Loveland. The 10th annual SoGnar Snowboard Camp Tour kicks off with a weekend of lessons with the pros to help you progress on a multitude of terrain-park features. Boulder’s Evol Burritos will provide lunch, and tons of swag will be handed out all weekend long. Camp and ticket pricing TBD (so-gnar.com/camptour; skiloveland.com).

December 12: Opening Day, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk (aspensnowmass.com).

December 12: Opening Day, Ski Cooper (skicooper.com).

December 12: Kidtopia Snow Fort Opening Day, Keystone. This year, the World’s Largest Snow Fort is even bigger! Join us from atop
Dercum Mountain as we celebrate the grand opening of the Kidtopia Snow Fort for the winter season (keystoneresort.com).

December 12: Santa Ski & Crawl, Crested Butte. Crested Butte Mountain Resort is sponsoring the “Santa Ski and Crawl” in hopes of breaking the world record for the most number of skiers in full Santa costumes. Participants need to be decked out in a full Santa suit in order to participate, and CBMR will offer amazing discounts on lift tickets and lodging for participants. Santa suits are available for purchase as part of the event ticket at cbsantacrawl.com. All Santas will meet at the Ice Bar at Uley’s Cabin by 3 p.m. for a group ski to the base area at 3:30 p.m. (skicb.com).

December 15: 7 a.m. Rise & Shine Rando Series, Arapahoe Basin (arapahoebasin.com).

December 16-20: Rock on Ice, Crested Butte. The Rock on Ice team returns to Mt. Crested Butte for an ice-carving festival in celebration of the holiday season. Be amazed as two of the world’s most renowned carvers create larger-than-life sized sculptures of animals, holiday characters and other iconic figures out of blocks of ice. The event will feature daily ice-carving demonstrations, including interactive sculptures perfect for family photos, and a dazzling ice sculpture garden in the Courtyard at Mountaineer Square (skicb.com).

December 17: Opening Day, Powderhorn (powderhorm.com).

December 17: I Ski with KBCO, Winter Park. 97.3 KBCO invites you to join the station for I Ski With KBCO at Winter Park Resort, where you can ski, win great prizes and enjoy world-class rock. Go to KBCO.com for details, and visit the KBCO tent at the bottom of the Zephyr Lift (winterparkresort.com).

December 17-31: Chocolate Village, Keystone. Don’t miss this delicious homemade creation from Keystone Resort pastry chef Ned Archibald. The handcrafted holiday tradition features 8,000 pounds of chocolate crafted into a miniature alpine village, a working chocolate gondola, a cascading chocolate waterfall, and a four- foot-tall white-chocolate Christmas tree with chocolate presents, with a special new addition every year (keystoneresort.com)!

December 19-20 & 31: Vail Holidaze, Vail. Vail Holidaze is the perfect place for family celebration, as the town and mountain come alive with lights, sounds, events and cheer during the month of December. Embrace the holidays with the annual tree-lighting ceremony, lantern walk and New Year’s Eve torchlight ski down and fireworks, all free and open to the public (vail.com).

December 19: Lift 8 Grand Opening, Purgatory. We’ve got a brand-new, high-speed chair ready to take you to some of the best terrain on the mountain. Come join us for the grand opening (purgatoryresort.com)!

December 19: Demo Day, Monarch (skimonarch.com).

December 19-20: 81433 Bootpackers Union Stompathon, Silverton. For each full day you stomp down the snow with the ski patrol, you’ll earn a free day of unguided skiing. Reservations are not required; check-in is at 8:30 a.m. each day in the tent (silvertonmountain.com).

December 19-January 2: Beaver Creek Loves Teens Too. The mountain is all the entertainment teens need during the day, but what happens when the sun goes down? Beaver Creek is proud to announce the fifth season of BC<3T2, evening programming for teens only! Designed for ages 13-17, the Beaver Creek Loves Teens Too programs will entertain and engage teens in all things Beaver Creek and beyond. Registration available soon at beavercreek.com/teens.

December 20: Steamboat Holiday Festival, Torchlight Parade & Fireworks (steamboat.com).

December 24: Torchlight Parade & Fireworks, Winter Park. One of our most beloved traditions, the Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade begins with Christmas carols around the bonfire at 4 p.m. at the base of Winter Park Resort, next to the Zephyr Lift. At 5:30 p.m, a procession of torch-bearing skiers and riders begin their way down Lower Hughes trail, followed by Santa Claus and his merry helpers. A spectacular fireworks display and snowcats adorned with Christmas colors light up the slopes in a Christmas tree formation to conclude the festivities. Immediately following the show, at 6 p.m., visitors are invited to attend Christmas Eve interdenominational services in the lower level of the Balcony House and Catholic Church services in West Portal Level 4 (winterparkresort.com).

December 24: Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade, Copper Mountain (coppercolorado.com).

December 24: Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade, Crested Butte. Get in the holiday spirit as Santa comes down the mountain on a sleigh pulled by a snowcat and hands out candy canes to all the good little girls and boys. Then stay to watch the Crested Butte Ski and Ride School perform their famous torchlight parade down the front side of the mountain (skicb.com).

December 24: Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade, Telluride. Watch as skiers and snowboarders take a run down Coonskin and Telluride Trail carrying blazing red torches (tellurideskiresort.com).

December 24-30: Ragnar’s Holiday Sleigh Ride Dinners, Steamboat. Visit steamboat.com or call 970- 871-5150 for pricing and reservations.

December 25: Christmas Eve and Christmas dinners at Uley’s Cabin, Crested Butte. Tickets are $125 per guest and include a five-course prix fixe dinner and a scenic sleigh ride; alcoholic beverages, tax and gratuity are additional. The sleigh departs at 5:30 p.m. from the Guest Service Cabin at the base area. Reservations required. Additional sleigh departures available for special events. Learn more at 970-349-4554 or skicb.com.

December 31: 6:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade & Fireworks, Crested Butte. Join us at Butte 66 for live music, drink specials, fireworks and a torchlight parade put on by Crested Butte’s finest ski and snowboard instructors. During the torchlight parade, there will be a fireworks show, best seen from the base area of the mountain on the Butte 66 deck (skicb.com).

December 31: New Year’s Eve Bash, Beaver Creek. Voted among the Travel Channel’s top ten family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebrations, New Year’s Eve in Beaver Creek begins with a public glow-stick ski down, torchlight parade and fireworks over the village. At 8 p.m., the New Year’s Eve Family Bash gets under way, with a DJ, games, dancing, raffle prizes and two balloon drops. Tickets go on sale in early November, and this event sells out, so purchase yours early (beavercreek.com/newyearseve)!

December 31: Moonlight Dinner Series: New Year’s Eve, Arapahoe Basin. Ring in 2016 with a special dinner by Chef Christopher Rybak in a beautiful mountain setting. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with New York at 10 p.m., with live music, a glass of champagne, party favors, a balloon drop, and a classic dinner with seafood appetizers and entrees of beef and lobster. This is a lift-service-only event; no snowshoeing permitted before or after dinner. Tickets are $100 plus tax. Learn more at 888-ARAPAHOE or arapahoebasin.com.

December 31: New Year’s Eve, Keystone. Join us for an evening full of activities, including a Torch Light Parade on Dercum Mountain (visible from River Run Village), a firework shows in Lakeside Village, cookie decorating downstairs at the Adventure Center and much more still to come! Call 800-354-4386 for more information or to make reservations (keystoneresort.com).

December 31: New Year’s Eve Celebration, Copper Mountain. Say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016 at Copper! Activities include a rail jam, fireworks, and a torchlight parade (coppercolorado.com).

December 31: Korbel New Year’s Eve Party, Steamboat. Join us after dinner for the Korbel New Year’s Eve Party. Take the gondola and celebrate New Year’s in the Champagne Powder Room, overlooking the Yampa Valley and the sparkling town lights below. Dance the night away to live music and make merry with a balloon drop and Korbel® toast to ring in the New Year. Festive libations are available throughout the evening, including a complimentary desert bar, chocolate fountain and dim sum appetizer station (steamboat.com).

December 31: Torchlight Parade & Fireworks, Monarch. Join us for our annual Torchlight Parade & Fireworks show. Family-friendly festivities from 4 p.m. to dark, parade starts at dusk (skimonarch.com).

December 31: Torchlight Parade & New Year’s Eve Celebration, Powderhorn (powderhorn.com).

December 31: New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade (tellurideskiresort.com).

December 31: Torchlight Parade & New Year’s Eve Fireworks, Purgatory. Durango loves a party, and we have a great one on New Year’s Eve at the mountain. Enjoy the torchlight parade down the mountain, followed by fireworks and a party to ring in the new year (purgatoryresort.com)!

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