Mountain Merrymaking: Doing the Holidays Right

Words by John Caldwell 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Mountains are filling in with that cold, fluffy white stuff we love. Towns are decked out in bright lights. Family members young and old, from far and wide, are coming together. Good times and celebrations are aplenty! If you’re on the same page that we are, you know that the best places to spend the holidays are our beloved mountain towns. Below is a list of when and where to get the most out of this year’s holiday season.

Lake Tahoe, CA – Heavenly Holidays

November 29 – January 1

Heavenly Village will once again invite you and the entire family to do the holidays right with this one-of-a-kind celebration that spans the entire month of December. Experience tree lighting, fireworks, live music, rail jams, train rides, special holiday performances, and much more. Everything culminates with a massive New Year’s Eve celebration featuring the world’s only gondola ball drop.

Aspen, CO – 12 Days of Aspen

December 20-31

The Aspen Chamber Resort Association invites you and the entire family to revel in the spirit of the winter holidays with the 12 Days of Aspen celebration. Each year, downtown Aspen comes alive with all kinds of free holiday activities, special treats, and appearances by Santa himself. Enjoy art exhibits, holiday-themed concerts, charity benefits, theatrical performances, giveaways, ice skating, and much more.

Vail, CO – Vail Snow Days

December 12-15

Reign in a new winter with this 4-day festival featuring free concerts at Ford Park. Aside from the music, take advantage of in-town and on-mountain early season specials, après and night parties, the Pray For Snow Bonfire and Pub Crawl, an expo village with free demos, and much more. The 2019 music lineup features Modest Mouse and The Head and the Heart.

Sun Valley, ID – Holidays in Sun Valley

December 1-31

America’s first destination ski resort knows a thing or two about merrymaking. Enjoy all kinds of holiday happenings including night skiing on Dollar Mountain, the Papoose Club Christmas Bazaar, the Ketchum and Sun Valley Tree Lighting Ceremonies, a Wood River Orchestra Holiday Concert, the Winter Solstice Soiree, the Sun Valley Ice Show and Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade, the New Year’s Eve Bubbly Bash, and much more.

Missoula, MT – Missoula Holiday Made Fair

December 8-11

Experience the best offerings from over 200 local artists and makers based in the Missoula area. Recently listed as one of the best craft fairs in the entire country, MADE is the best place to discover new artists and revisit old favorites. Attendees can enjoy free entry and additional discounts during Happy Hours from 4 to 6 pm.

Bend, OR – A Swingin’ Tower Christmas

December 20

One of the greatest holiday traditions in the West is back with family-friendly renditions of Christmas stories and songs backed by Jim Tennant’s 18-piece live big band. Host Mollie Tennant will welcome special guests Heather Salvesen, Gary Fulkerson, Bob Shaw, and Alastair Jaques. And don’t miss the return of Olive the Elf and jolly old St. Nick himself. It all takes place at Bend’s Tower Theatre.

Park City, UT – Snowfest

December 20 – January 5

Park City Mountain invites you to take part in the most wonderful days of the year with Snowfest. Do the holiday season right with all kinds of live music, ice sculptures, s’mores roasting, the 57th Annual Torchlight Parade, and much more. And don’t miss Santa coming down the Town Lift to Main Street. Snowfest is the best of times for the whole family.

Jackson Hole, WY – Holidays in Jackson Hole

November 22 – December 31

Things kick off early in the welcoming Western town of Jackson with the Town Square Tree Lighting with cookies, hot chocolate, other treats, and an appearance from Santa himself. Other festive events include Santa “dropping in” at the base of the Aerial Tram on Christmas Eve, cookie decorating, ice skating, horse-drawn sleigh rides through the magnificent National Elk Refuge, the Holiday Art Bazaar, 12 Days of Christmas at The Wort Hotel, and the New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parades and Fireworks. /