Vail’s 60th anniversary, ‘The Nutcracker,’ Santa visits, live music and more: Tricia’s Weekend Picks 12/16/22

Vail celebrates 6 decades of skiing and holiday happenings are in full swing

Vail’s 60th anniversary

‘Tis the season to not only celebrate the holidays, but also celebrate Vail’s big birthday which is happening this weekend as well. Vail Mountain opened on Dec. 15, 1962 and the resort will celebrate its impressive history with festivities on and off the mountain.

After a DJ party at Eagle’s Nest and the annual Vail Village Tree Lighting on Vail’s actual birth date on Thursday, the fun continues with more music and revelry on Friday through Sunday.

On Friday, there will be a vendor village set up at the base of Gondola One (No. 1) with DJ Pippen spinning tunes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Look for Nature Valley snacks, Toyota, Bud Light and other booths. After you come off of the slopes, head to the complementary silent disco at 4 p.m. in Lionshead. Make your way over to Solaris Plaza for free music with The Funk District, DJ Chris Cauldron and Mountain Rose.  

On Saturday, The Vendor Village will be set up again at the base of Gondola One (No. 1), DJ Pippen plays tunes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Later that day, make sure to stop by Eagle’s Nest and visit the new Ice Bar. The Ice Bar is a throwback to a popular setup during Vail’s early days where Bill Whiteford would build an ice bar on the mountain, only to be shut down by Vail Associates for not having approval to be there or a liquor license. After they would shut him down, he’d open it again and this went on for months. The U.S. Forest Service eventually shut him down for advertising foreign liquor on the sun umbrellas.

Whiteford was quite a character during Vail’s early years. This Ice Bar does have permission to be on the mountain this time around and is one of two ice bars you’ll find this season. The other Ice Bar will be near the Wildwood restaurant. Mountain Rose will be playing live music at the Ice Bar at Eagle’s Nest starting at 1 p.m.

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After the slopes close at 3:30 p.m. head down to Solaris Plaza for another free concert featuring SunSquabi, Boot Juice and Marvel Years. The music starts at 4 p.m.

On Sunday, the Vendor Village will still be set up for one more day and DJ Pippen will be there as well from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Up on the mountain at the top of Mountain Top Express (No. 4), Northwoods Express (No. 1) and High Noon Express (No. 5) you’ll find Dine with the Dogs. Grab a bite to eat at nearby Buffalo’s restaurant or bring your own food for lunch at Henry’s Hut. The Vail Ski Patrol and the Avalanche Dogs will be doing drills and you can talk to the patrollers about the dogs and get photos from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

For more information, go to

The Nutcracker Ballet

With a combination of beautiful dances, elaborate costumes and colorful sets, attendees of all ages will be transported to a magical wonderland.
Vail Valley Academy of Dance/Courtesy photo

“The Nutcracker” ballet will be performed this weekend with evening performances and matinees. The Vail Friends of Dance presents this holiday classic at the Vilar Performing Arts Center featuring the talents of the Vail Youth Ballet Company and Vail Valley Academy of Dance.

Follow the story as Clara and the Nutcracker prince from the Christmas Eve party battle between soldiers and Mouse Queen’s army to the Land of the Snowflakes and the Land of Sweets. See Clara and the Prince being welcomed by the Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy as they experience dances from around the world.

The costumes, set design, décor and the music of Tchaikovsky will be sure to get you into the holiday spirit. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and there are two matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets run from $38 to $45 each and you can go to for tickets and more information.

In addition to the performances, there is a bake sale, a boutique and an online auction. Plan to do some holiday shopping and pick up some treats and select shopping items that are one of a kind and unique. The Vail Youth Ballet Company is once again selling pointe shoes that the dancers have decorated. The bake sale and boutique are cash only. The online auction goes from now until Sunday.

If you are going to the matinee on Saturday or Sunday, parking in Beaver Creek Village could be tough due to skier and snowboarder parking at the same time. Go early and plan to take the free Beaver Creek shuttle bus up there. The parking at the Bear Lot and the Elk Lot is free after 1 p.m. Parking in Beaver Creek Village for the evening performance is free for three hours with your ticket stub.

Swing into Christmas

The Fabulous Femmes will host a holiday concert at Route 6 Cafe.
The Fabulous Femmes/Courtesy photo

Swing into Christmas with the fabulous sounds of the Fabulous Femmes, the local trio who will be getting you moving and singing along this Saturday night.

The Fabulous Femmes is comprised of Kathy Morrow, Beth Swearingen and Charis Patterson. You may see them singing solo or as part of the Vail Valley Theatre Company but to see them together is something special. This Saturday they will be hosting a special holiday show at Route 6 Cafe in EagleVail. Come grab a bite to eat, a drink, make an evening of it and make sure you have your dancing shoes on because this group gets people up and moving to the beat.

Showtime is 7:30 p.m. and the cost is $15, so start a new holiday tradition with an evening of seasonal favorites done only in the special way that the Fabulous Femmes can. For more information, go to

Santa and a Movie

Santa and a Movie is coming to Riverwalk Theater this Sunday.
Riverwalk Theater/Courtesy photo

Instead of dinner and a movie, it’s Santa and a Movie at the Riverwalk Theater this Sunday. Head to Edwards in the morning for movies, the man in red, mimosas and to raise money for Edwards Elementary.

The Riverwalk Theater will be offering a choice of two holiday movies, Dr. Seuss’ “The Grinch” or “Home Alone.” The admission is $15 and that includes photos with Santa and the movie will follow. Photos with Santa start at 9:30 a.m.

Come hungry because there will be snacks like s’mores, a hot cocoa bar and mimosas if you want to get the party started. This is a fun benefit for the Edwards Elementary School and even if you don’t have kids and just want to show support and see some fun holiday movies on the big screen, get your tickets either at the Riverwalk Theater box office or at

Winter Extravaganza

The Winter Extravaganza will feature ice skating shows, Santa and more on Sunday.
Zoe Warmerdam/Unsplash

The Eagle Ice Rink is hosting its Winter Extravaganza on Sunday in Eagle Ranch. Stop by to check out ice skating performances from the athletes at Skate Club Vail. There will also be ice skating to holiday music and craft stations, holiday cookie decorating and free hot chocolate.

Winter Extravaganza runs between noon and 3 p.m. and word has it that Santa will visit between noon and 1 p.m. The cost is $5 per person and includes skate rental in case you get inspired to skate around the rink.

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