Whether you're possessed by the holiday spirit or prefer Festivus with the rest of us, there's a ski resort with your needs in mind. Killer live music, ski and snowboard comps, craft fairs, kids' activities, drunken revelry, full moon parties, cross-country excursions and more free hot chocolate and s'mores than you can shake a candy cane at…it's all here. Curbed Ski has the best holiday events from Stowe to Mammoth and everywhere in between.
↑ Stowe, Vermont: Despite Carrie Underwood blaspheming the von Trapp family, their dreamy Stowe chalet is reaping the rewards. In between dreaming of whiskers on kittens, how 'bout tasting some wine in the family's cellar? There's also a full line-up of events: a Holiday Artisan Showcase at the mountain, Christmas caroling (visitors are encouraged to participate), and a mountain fireworks and torchlight parade at Spruce Peak. If that doesn't sound like much, just know Stowe in the holidays is like walking into a Currier & Ives print.
↑ Sundance Resort, Utah: This family-oriented resort is presenting daily holiday movie screenings, kids' arts and crafts, and cookie, cupcake, and candy wreath decorating (can you say, "sugar OD?"). There's also night skiing with DIY s'mores, an early breakfast on the summit of Bearclaw, and " Night Owling" on Mt. Timpanogos. On guided snowshoe tours, participants can call for owls and watch wildlife experts work with the birds to teach about the region's winter wildlife. See the whole event calendar here.
↑ Lake Tahoe: In typical over-the-top South Shore fashion, Santa's Workshop is being recreated in a 16-foot snowglobe in Heavenly Village. Hop inside for a photo opp on Santa's lap while a live DJ spins tunes. For a more mellow experience, sign up for a moonlit ski and showshoe tour at Kirkwood or Northstar (hot chocolate and s'mores included). Early risers/lovers will want to join Squaw Valley's Dawn Patrol and Olympic Gold Medalist Jonny Moseley for exclusive access to fresh pow or untouched courduroy (and more complimentary s'mores).
· December is Picture Perfect on a Vacation in Lake Tahoe [Homeaway]
↑ Aspen, Colorado: No surprise Aspen throws down for the holidays. The St. Regis has activities for all ages, from gingerbread house decorating with the pastry chef to a horse-and-carriage ride with Santa. There are elegant, prix-fixe Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Dinners at the acclaimed Chefs Club, and an evening in the Library with the Elk Mountain Rescue Dogs and their handlers. The Wheeler Opera House and Belly Up go all out Christmas week, featuring performances by Burt Bacharach, Weezer, Rufus Wainwright, and the Flaming Lips. There's also the Audi Ajax Cup dual slalom race. The famous tree lighting celebration at The Little Nell includes Santa, live reindeer, and free hot chocolate and cookies. Afterward, put on that regift and hit the Ugly Sweater Party at Chair 9, the Nell's new apres ski bar. The fun doesn't end on Christmas Day: on the 26th, there's more free hot cocoa and cookies at the Cooper Avenue fire pit, and an Apres Ski Holiday Open House at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Hallam Lake.
↑ Crested Butte, Colorado: Colorado's most classic ski town rocks the holidays. December 17 kicks things off with a Full Moon Party at the Ice Bar at Uley's Cabin (snowshoes or uphill gear required; rentals available at the Rental & Demo Center in the Treasury Building). Tickets include a bowl of chili, fresh-baked bread, and a cold beer or hot beverage. A week of live music opens with hip-hop pioneers Blackalicious at the Center for the Arts, and professional ice sculptors will be duking it out at the Rock on Ice carving whole locals compete in the Gingerbread House competition at Mt. Crested Butte. It all culminates with a dramatic Torchlight Parade down the face of the mountain (Santa will lead the procession, towed by a Snowcat). All the details, here.
↑ Mammoth, California: Got the family in tow? Mammoth has something for everyone: Snowcat dinners, live music, live music, live music, outdoor fireside stories, free naturalist tours and transceiver clinics, fire dance troupes, sledding and snowmobiling for families, the grand opening of the new tube and snowplay park, caroling, cooking demos, and an on-mountain dinner with Ggrich Winery. Check out all the fun, this way.
· Need a place to stay? Check out our guide of the 38 Essential Ski Town Hotels
-By Laurel Miller