December events in the Vail Valley: Birds of Prey, Vail Snow Days, New Year’s Eve parties and more
“Back to December” might just be a breakup banger from Taylor Swift’s early discography, but coming back to December in Vail means all our favorite events are back for another season. There’s holiday prep, the holidays themselves, the New Year, and all the winter fun in between. Here’s a list of what’s coming up this month in the Vail Valley. From concerts to holiday cheer to parties and family-friendly activities there’s something here to fit everyone’s wishlist.
Vail is a big town for festivals, with the Burton U.S. Open, The GoPro Mountain Games and more filling up plans every few months. Here’s what December brings us in the way of block-out-your-weekend events.
Birds of Prey World Cup at Beaver Creek
Ranked as the No. 1 overall stop by the athletes and coaches who participate, Birds of Prey brings men’s World Cup super-G, downhill and giant slalom races to Beaver Creek. In addition to the fastest men on skis racing down Beaver Creek’s Birds of Prey, the event includes live music, beer tastings, ski films, parties and more. For more information, visit bcworldcup.com, and check out TKTKT for the entertainment events to enjoy between watching the races.
Vail Snow Days
This four-day festival brings free music to Ford Park in Vail, in-town and on-mountain early season specials, après and after-dark parties, an expo village and more. The main highlight of the weekend is always the headlining shows from big-name acts, and this year, we hit the jackpot. Modest Mouse and The Rad Trads will play on Friday, Dec. 13. The Head and the Heart and Rob Drakin will play on Saturday. Both shows start at 6 p.m. in Ford Park. For more information, visit vailsnowdays.com.
A two-week celebration, Vail Holidays takes place in December and includes Vail Snow Days; activities for kids including ice skating and cookie decorating; the annual tree lighting ceremony and lantern walk at Vail Mountain; a New Year’s Eve fireworks show; and more. Get in the holiday spirit this year with Vail Holidays. Visit vail.com.
Parties & Concerts
Everyone’s feeling a little more inclined to get together and celebrate in December, and work-hard-play-hard is what the Vail Valley is all about. Here are weekend or weeknight parties to enjoy old friends and make new ones this month.
Bindu Sky Pomery Scholarship Movie Premiere
Bindu Pomery was a teacher at the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy who died in a backcountry snowboarding accident last winter. Hosted in the VSSA auditorium from 5:30-9:30 p.m., guests at this memorial event will get to watch three snowsports films, and student-athlete Bindu Spirit Award scholarship winners will be announced. Navigate to the Bindu Sky Pomeroy Memorial Fund page on Facebook for more information.
Ugly Sweater Party with Yoga Off Broadway
This unofficial-official after party to Eagle’s annual Christmas on Broadway parade – in it’s 30th year this year – will feature music by local band The Runaway Grooms. The party is from 7 p.m.-1 a.m. at Bonfire Brewing. Visit yogaoffbroadway.com.
Vail Valley Business Women Holiday Soiree
The organization invites any and all professional women in the Vail Valley to join them for its biggest fundraiser of the year. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to fund college scholarships awarded to female Eagle County high school graduates attending college for business. There will be a cash bar with seasonal cocktails, auction, appetizers and a toy drive at the event, which runs from 5:30-8 p.m. Visit vvbw.org.
40 Oz. to Freedom
Agave’s restaurant-by-day, nightclub-by-night schtick welcomes in acts all throughout the winter, and 40 Oz. to Freedom, the Sublime tribute band, will hopefully be practicing Santeria in Avon that night starting at 9:30 p.m. Visit agaveavon.com.
If you’re frying up latkes, sucking on candy canes or doing any other holiday activities this month, add these events to your busy schedule for an extra dose of holiday cheer. You’re going to need it when planning gets stressful.
Santa’s Workshop (Vail)
Imagination Station in Lionshead is hosting the 2019 edition of Santa’s workshop from 3-6 p.m. Kids and their families are invited to meet Santa and create holiday crafts. The event is free for all children and be sure to sign up ahead of time for a 30-minute timeslot with Santa. Visit vailrec.com/register.
Artists’ Holiday Market
Alpine Arts Center in Edwards hosts this artists’ market each year to help promote buying local and supporting small-time artists. More than 25 artists will feature items handmade in Colorado at the market, which runs from noon-6 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. There will also be hot cider and cookies at the event to really get in the festive spirit. Visit alpineartscenter.org.
Christmas on Broadway
Eagle’s 30th annual holiday parade marches down Broadway, with local businesses decking out floats as festive as possible. There’s the Wassail tasting event, and there will also be awards for the best floats, new this year. Visit eagleoutside.com/events.
Starting at 10 a.m., the Chabad of Vail in Lionshead is hosting a Menorah Workshop at Home Depot in Avon. The 6th annual event will have Hanukah treats and activities for the whole family. All are welcome, and there is no charge, but donations are accepted. Visit jewishvail.com.
Santa’s Workshop (Edwards)
Join Santa from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Mountain Recreation Fieldhouse in Edwards for brunch treats, holiday music, crafts, a silent auction and the world’s tallest elf. Eagle Valley Child Care Associaton and Mountain Recreation have partnered for this event. Visit mountainrec.org.
Cocktails & Canvas: Chocolate Making
Hosted by the Vail Recreation District and held at Imagination Station in Lionshead, this event welcomes guest instructor Felicia from Cornerstone Chocolates & Confections as amateur chocolatiers learn how to make the world’s favorite sweet. All materials are included, as are light appetizers and drinks at the cash bar from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Visit vailrec.com/register.
Hygge Life, EagleVail’s best Danish-inspired home décor store, will be hosting a holiday pop-up market from 5-8 p.m. Local business including Wild Heart, The Rose, RiverBee Floral, Mountain Art Collective, Fresh Tracks Pet Shop and VELA Apparel will be on hand providing treats, special gift items and more. There will also be a giveaway. Visit hyggelife.com.
Community Shabbat Dinner
The Chabad’s weekly Shabbat dinners bring together the Vail community over a meal starting at 6 p.m. This dinner at 6 p.m. is with the Brothers For Life Israeli Defense Fores Wounded Veterans. All are welcome, and there is no charge, but donations are accepted. Visit jewishvail.com.
Ugly Sweater 5k Fun Run
Pre-empt the inevitable post-holdiay weight loss plan by participating in this 5k. Starting at Bart & Yeti’s in Lionshead, the 3.1 mile run will end with prizes for the best ugly sweaters, which you should definitely wear while you run. The Battle Mountain High School choir will be out caroling and Santa will lead the race on his bicycle. Visit vailrec.com to register.
This costumes-required event invites locals and visitors aged 21+ out to Lionshead and Vail Village to celebrate Christmas spirit by skiing in costume and completing a bar crawl from 2-5 p.m. Cash is recommended for the bars. Navigate to the Vail Santacon Facebook page for more information.
Chanukah Shabbat dinner
This special edition of the weekly Shabbat dinners at the Chabad of Vail will feature traditional foods and celebrations on the sixth night of Hanukah and the last Shabbat of the year. The suggested donation for entry is $36, though there is no charge and all are welcome. Visit jewishvail.com.
New Year’s Eve
Saying goodbye to the year gone is a fun night for most, especially if you’ve not had the best year and are planning on drinking it all away. Be sure to stay safe if you are going out: use a designated driver or take advantage of the Eagle County bus system. And keep an eye out for more parties as Dec. 31 grows clser
Ski Down Torchlight Parade & Fireworks
The annual Torchlight Parade in Vail Village will have locals and ski instructors whooshing down the slopes of Golden Peak, carrying glow sticks, while spectators watch. There will then be a fireworks display. The event starts at 6:15 p.m. Visit vail.com.
20th Anniversary New Years’ Eve at Larkspur
There is an early seating and a late seating at the Vail restaurant, including buffets, live music, photo booths, Champagne toasts, fireworks and more. The kid-friendly seating starts at 5 p.m., and the adults-only party starts at 8 p.m. When calling to make a reservation, tell the host(ess) which seating you’d like and (s)he will give you times within that window. Bonus, this year marks 20 years of New Year’s celebrations at Larkspur. Visit larkspurvail.com.
Tropical Paradise Party at Bonfire Brewing
Bonfire in Eagle hosts plenty of free events year-round, and are finishing 2019 off with a no-cover event dedicated to forgetting the cold and the snow – if only for the night. Summery, beachy, even mermaid-y costumes are encouraged, and there will be prizes for the best dressed. DJ Dooooog Funtskey will spin tunes from 8 p.m.- 1 a.m., and the first 50 customers in the door will get to take advantage of Happy Hour pricing all night.
New Year’s Eve at the Sebastian
From 8:30 p.m.- 1 a.m., try some elegant food, lavish cocktails and dance along with DJ Maestro Hughes at the party. There will also be a photo booth and a midnight Champagne toast. Visit thesebastianvail.com.
Pop Fizz Clink
The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, starting at 9 p.m., will have dancing, appetizers, canapes, desserts, Champagne and New Year’s fun. The attire, they cleverly state, is “mountain cocktail casual.” Visit ritzcarlton.com.
New Year’s Eve Celebration of The Rolling Stones
The Stones can’t get no satisfaction, but hopefully Shakedown can on New Year’s Eve. Featuring a 7-piece lineup including bar owner and former roadie – with Dave Matthews, Blues Traveler and Lenny Kravitz – Scott Rednor and company will play tributes to The Rolling Stones starting at 9 p.m. Visit shakedownbarvail.com.