’Tis the season for family-friendly fun in Vail and Beaver Creek
It’s the time of year for holiday cheer, and the Vail Valley’s jolly fun spreads far and wide. It’s not just about snowsports, either — the alpine setting and family-friendly vibe lends itself to memorable experiences that your kids will remember for years to come. Visiting and local families will love all these chances to play, so get out there every day this snowy season to make some memories.
✴ Vail Snow Daze – Dec. 19-21, Vail Village
Snow Daze is an annual early winter event, bringing locals and visitors together in Vail to celebrate the season. It’s also a fun experience for older kids.
“Early season is such a great time to visit the resort. There is a palpable energy in the air when guests return to Vail and get back on the snow for the first time, and what better way to celebrate the kick-off of winter than with free concerts at Vail Snow Daze,” said Davy Ratchford, director of marketing at Vail Mountain.
Snow Daze began in Vail on Dec. 13 and continues on Friday, Dec. 19, with apres at The Red Lion from 4 to 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 20, apres is at Los Amigos from 4 to 5:30 p.m., and doors open at the Solaris at 5 p.m. for a free live concert with Rusted Root and 10,000 Maniacs.
✴Vail Holidaze – Dec. 21 and 31, Vail Village
The whole family can ring in the holiday season with Holidaze. The annual Vail Tree Lighting Ceremony is Dec. 21 at 5 p.m. near the Covered Bridge in Vail Village. The open-air event will include a short a cappella show, along with appearances by special guests and the mayor of Vail.
Free hot chocolate will be served, and following the tree lighting program, a lantern walk will move from Bridge Street into Mountain Plaza. Families can participate in the paper lantern making workshop on Sunday, Dec. 21, from noon to 2 p.m. or from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Visit http://www.artinvail.com for more information.
On Wednesday, Dec. 31, the Vail torchlight parade will be held on Vail Mountain beginning at 6:15 p.m. Families can bundle up and watch the skiers come down from the base of Golden Peak. Stay after the parade for a fireworks show to ring in the new year. (Hint: If you’re planning to watch from inside, Lord Gore restaurant in Manor Vail has the best view, but make reservations early.)
✴Adventure Ridge, Vail Mountain
You know winter memories are good when they’re made on snow. Adventure Ridge sits on the top of Vail Mountain at Eagle’s Nest, and it’s a fun place for families to go tubing, ski biking, snowmobiling and more. Spend some time playing in the snow park, or stop at Bistro Fourteen for lunch or dinner between adventures.
Adventure Ridge is open from noon to 8 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays, and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays and Mondays. To access the area during the day, guests must either have a ski lift ticket or they must purchase a scenic ride ticket: $34 for adults, $21 for kids. Activities access is purchased separately.
Call 970-476-9090 or visit http://www.vail.com/activities/adventure-ridge.
✴Bearcat Stables Sleigh Rides and Dinner, Edwards
Go dashing through the snow at Cordillera’s Bearcat Stables. Bearcat’s Cabin is the original cabin of the Bearden family, who laid homestead on the land in Cordillera’s Squaw Creek Valley during the early 20th century.
Sleigh rides and dinner are offered Wednesday through Saturday evenings during the ski season, and seven days a week between the Christmas and New Year holiday. Sleigh rides with dinner are $75 per person for adults, children 4 to 12 years are $50, and children 3 and younger are free. Two seatings are available: 5:30 p.m. sleigh with 6 p.m. dinner, or 7:30 p.m. sleigh with 8 p.m. dinner. Call 970-926-1578 to make reservations.
Visit http://www.bearcatstables.com or call 970-926-1578.
✴Dog Sledding, Wolcott
Load up the car and head 10 minutes west of Beaver Creek to Wolcott for 2-hour guided sled dog rides with Mountain Musher. The dogs can run up to 60 miles per hour, and the designated trail for the tour is on a private ranch with no snowmobiles and a lot of wildlife.
The company has been family-owned since 1989, and trips are known for free dog kisses, homemade pumpkin bread and hot cocoa. Two tours are offered per day — one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
If you’re staying in a hotel, transportation to and from your hotel can be arranged. Reservations are required, and kids must be at least 4 years old to participate.
Visit http://www.mountainmusher.com or call 970-653-7877.
✴“A Christmas Carole” on Dec. 23, Beaver Creek
Bring a Christmas tradition to life with a visit to the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek on Tuesday, Dec. 23, at 6:30 p.m. The holiday classic is being presented by the Nebraska Theater Caravan, featuring a cast of 24 and accompanied by live musicians and creative costumes and stage design. Tickets are $55 for adults, $35 for children. For more information and tickets, visit http://www.vvf.org/arts/vilar-performing-arts-center or call 970-845-8497.
Lace up and head out to one of the valley’s ice rinks, including the Solaris rink in Vail Village, the Arrabelle at Vail Square in Lionshead, the Black Family ice rink in Beaver Creek and Nottingham Lake in Avon.
✴Get Your Cookies
Make sweet memories in Beaver Creek during their Cookie Time every day at 3 p.m. Fresh cookies are served daily at the base of the Centennial Express chairlift and the second level of the escalators by cookie servers dressed in chef whites. Just follow the gaggles of kids, and adults, to find the cookies.
✴WinterFest, Dec. 20 – Jan. 3, Beaver Creek
Beaver Creek Loves Kids WinterFest brings characters, parades, holiday lights, contests and more to the Village Plaza during apres ski hours. Check out a full schedule at http://www.beavercreek.com/winterfest.
And there’s Beaver Creek Loves Teens Too — winter programming designed for ages 13-17. Activities include a twilight snowshoe trek, tubing at Adventure Ridge in Vail or a visit to the trampoline center in Edwards. Register for activities at http://www.beavercreek.com/teens.
✴New Year’s Eve Family Bash, Dec. 31, Beaver Creek
Bring the family to Beaver Creek for New Year’s Eve, a celebration that 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 at Powder 8 Kitchen & Tap gets going with a DJ, games, raffle prizes, dancing and balloon drops. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at http://www.beavercreek.com/newyearseve.
The glow stick ski-down is at 6:15 p.m. and open to intermediate and above skiers and riders. For more information and registration, call or visit Children’s Ski and Snowboard School at 970-754-4636. The ski instructor’s torchlight parade starts at 6:30 p.m., and fireworks begin at 6:45 p.m.