Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Skiing Christmas

Hudson Family at Lake Louise Xmas 2014
Lake Louise, AB, Canada

Having notched up over 30 Christmasses on skis, it's clear that I am an ardent advocate of skiing over the holidays. 

We've been skiing at Christmas since our boys were embryos back in our Verbier days! For me there's something memorably magical about a land of snow and ice with festive fir trees twinkling with real icicles. Not sure if it was from reading Narnia as a kid, or from our family ski trips to Austria and Italy, but for me a Christmas anywhere else but a snowy ski area is just wrong! How else do you work off all that turkey and trimmings?

To add further reinforcement, I asked my friends around resorts all over North America for details of their favourite things to do on Dec 25.

Deer Valley, Utah
Deer Valley, Utah
"We like to 'reverse the order' of the day," says Emily Summers. "I love getting first chair on Christmas morning and skiing until noon. It's usually a quieter time on the mountain and a great way to celebrate the day with family and friends. Then we go home, open presents and cook a big dinner. Some years, if we get to Deer Valley early enough, we like to start with the cinnamon challah French toast (with the house-made banana butter!) at Snow Park Restaurant." 

Breckenridge Ski Resort
Breckenridge, CO
"Breck never ceases to disappoint me during the holidays – falling snow, twinkling lights and big red bows up and down Breck’s Historic Main Street makes for a scene out of a perfect holiday snow globe," says Kristen Petitt Stewart. "It’s one of the reasons I love living here and the town gets visitors from around the world. The best part - I get to enjoy the holiday atmosphere almost all winter long – lights go up in early Dec and stay up well into Feb."

Jasper Park Lodge, Jasper, AB, Canada
Jasper, AB, Canada
"Christmas in Jasper at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is truly an exceptional winter holiday experience," says Teresa Marshall. "When I see the lights go up,I know that Christmas is near, and with over 160,000 twinkling lights throughout the Lodge, I can’t help but be excited. The twinkle, the ambiance, the intense colours, for some reason these beautiful little glowing lamps give me a tremendous amount of joy. After spending four years here, the magic of Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge over Christmas gets better every year."

Christmas shopping in Aspen
“I love skiing over Christmas at Aspen Snowmass because the town and mountains have a certain buzz that really ignites the festive spirit," says Tucker Vest Burton. "I love skiing Aspen Mountain and then heading into Bonnie's for a warm cup of spiced wine, or heading over to Aspen Highlands to enjoy a lap in Highland Bowl (to work off all the extra candy eating) followed by a glass of champagne on the deck at Cloud Nine. It just feels good to be out on the slopes enjoying a white Christmas. And one of the best perks of skiing Aspen Snowmass over the Holidays—you never feel cramped or crowded. You can still head to your favorite run and inhale the pristine wilderness without feeling overwhelmed by too many people!”

Izzy Lynch
With dedicated ski bums as parents, pro skier Izzy Lynch grew up ski racing in Alberta. She was first introduced to backcountry skiing at the age of nine. After many years on the NorAm, FIS, and Freeride World Tour circuits, and coaching the Rocky Mountain Freeriders at Lake Louise, she moved to Revelstoke. "We love skiing Revy on Christmas Day! It is usually a quieter day on the hill, so we can enjoy a nice slow Christmas morning and get out for fresh tracks in the afternoon! It is the perfect way to build an appetite for turkey dinner.” Izzy can be seen in action in many productions, including the Unicorn Picnic film Pretty Faces and Sherpa Cinema's Into the Mind.

Powder Matt with his kids at Nakiska 

Why Powder Matt loves Christmas in the mountains: "It’s not every day you get an excuse to dress up in a red jumpsuit (complete with fur and beard), but skiing at Christmas allows for that," he says. "I love hitting the mountains with my family at Christmas because it’s a great time to reconnect with your loved ones surrounded by the majestic mountains and it also gives you the chance to to (force) your children to dress up like cute elves too." Based in Calgary, Matt skis a lot at Nakiska, the nearest ski resort, but also gets out to all the other RCR ski hills throughout the season - Fernie, Kimberley and Kicking Horse in BC. You can check out his blog at:  for updates, anecdotes, alerts and great photos. 

“I just love Christmas here at Copper Mountain because it’s low-key and comfortable – just like it always was around the tree with my family growing up," says Stephanie Sweeney. "We also offer celebrations that people may not necessarily think say ‘Christmas’ like a torchlight parade, glowstick pageant and fireworks!” All great family fun.

Christmas Torchlight Parade at Copper Mountain

The Hudson family enjoying a Christmas snack at the cosy Chimney Corner Lounge in the Sunshine Mountain Lodge a few years ago. Just look at all that snow piled up outside! On Christmas Day, crowds are so low, you get first, second and third dibs in any powder and endless corduroy!
Christmas Day "crowds" on Continental Divide at Sunshine Village

Sun Peaks, BC, Canada
“Skiing at Sun Peaks at Christmas time is a truly magical experience. There’s nothing quite like waking up on Christmas day to a winter wonderland and being able to enjoy some of my favorite runs with my family. Sun Peaks will always be my favorite place to come to enjoy the holiday season” – Reay Foster, Victoria BC

If you have a favourite ski resort activity for Christmas Day, send me your comments and photos and I will add them to this blog - 

Ever wondered what Millennials really want when it comes to skiing? Check out my article from Dec 13 in The Dallas Morning News:


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