As travel-focused audiences are booking holiday trips now, we couldn’t think of a better way to spend time with your family or ring in the New Year than a ski vacation, so we polled the experts at Ski.com to recommend their top picks for the most festive holiday resorts for upcoming ski vacations. Here are the top five results.
“The quintessential holiday vacation is a ski trip in the mountains,” says VP of Marketing at Ski.com and industry veteran, Dan Sherman. “From elaborate light displays in quant mountain villages and Santa races to holiday markets and torchlight parades, mountain destinations offer the epitome of an idyllic holiday atmosphere.”
Whistler Blackcomb, Canada Dress like Santa and Ms. Claus and ski for free on the annual Santa Ski Day, this December 17th in Whistler. The first 75 guests to arrive at the Garibaldi Lift Company dressed in holiday garb will be awarded a free lift ticket. The iconic Fire & Ice shows light up the town every Sunday evening as skiers and snowboarders hit a big air jump through a ring of fire. The 33rd annual Christmas Eve Carol Service takes place at the Westin Resort and Spa, bringing to life the story of the birth of Christ along with traditional carols and music.
Breckenridge, Colorado The holidays start early in the charming and historic town of Breckenridge, Colorado. On December 3rd, kick off the holiday season and watch the annual Race of the Santas. One hundred Santa-costume clad runners of all ages race down historic Main Street. If you’ve put off shopping until the last minute, stroll down the Holiday Craft Market, located in the Breckenridge Historic District. From jewelry to ceramics made by local artist, check those last few gifts off your list. The lighting of the town tree turns on the holiday spirit for the weeks to come. There a bit later? Usher in the New Year with a grand fireworks display on the mountain.
Kitzbuhel, Austria An ultimate holiday destination for skiing and festivities, the town of Kitzbuhel transforms into a Christmas market and winter wonderland from November 24th through December 25th. Featuring traditional Tyrolean crafts, food and traditions, the market celebrates the holidays with a variety of musical acts featuring local choirs and musicians, Christmas readings, petting zoos and pony rides. On January 1st, thousands of locals and visitors ring in the New Year with a torch skiing and flame jumping show, complete with a fireworks show put on by fireworks champion, Armin Lukasser.
Sun Valley, Idaho The birthplace of skiing in the U.S., Sun Valley, Idaho is a small town with five-star amenities, but without the crowds. On Christmas Eve, enjoy the Nutcracker on Ice while warming up with free hot chocolate and fresh-baked cookies at the Lodge. Don’t miss Christmas Eve fireworks and a sky-illuminating torchlight parade down Dollar Mountain. Take sleigh rides to Trail Creek Cabin for dinner or amble down Main Street in Ketchum, lit up with a festive holiday gallery walk and festive decorations on all of the beautiful lodges.
Stowe, Vermont An idyllic New England town, Stowe is a winter wonderland. The streets of historic downtown come to life during the holidays with a local artisan market. From candy cane-making demos to the annual winter-themed ice carving, there is plenty to do off the mountain. Catch a holiday concert at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center or take the kids to a community screening of It’s a Wonderful Life.