Wednesday, December 27, 2017

New Year Cheer Around the Ski Slopes


This year, I'm spending New Year in the delightful town of Canmore (New Year's fireworks on Canmore skating pond pictured above) just 15 minutes away from Banff. I mention Banff not to suggest that I shall be racing off there at every opportunity (although I do pop in for the odd day's shopping, lunch, dinner or wintry walk), but to give you an idea of the kind of scintillating scenery Canmore is also located in, with towering snow-drenched Rocky Mountains intersected by the densely tree-banked Bow River. Although Banff has the big name and is a major international tourism destination year round, its more subtle next door neighbour has morphed over the past 20 years from a defunct mining town with tumbledown saloons, rickety cabins, and basic infrastructure (which I actually adored even so) to a flourishing resort town in its own right (which I still love) with views like this one below taken from the hiking path around Policeman's Creek......

Even diehard Banff-ites find themselves drawn to the upscale eateries, craft beer pubs, fancy boutiques, glamorous galleries and state-of-the-art rec centre, Elevation Place. Not to mention the Olympic and World Cup facilities at the Nordic Centre and the new hand-made ski centre 93 North (scroll down to April and you'll see an article all about this) which specializes in hand-crafted skis built specifically for the Rockies. 

New Year in Canmore centres around skating and fireworks at the 10th Street Party on the Pond followed by midnight displays at Millennium Park. In between, everyone frequents the parties at The Drake PubTavern 1883, or posh nosh at the Canmore hotels

Although I enjoy all the partying, one of the best things about New Year in the Banff Lake Louise area for me is that Jan 1 is typically the last crowded holiday-horde day on the surrounding slopes - Mt Norquay, Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and also nearby Nakiska, (all easily drive-able from Canmore). From Jan 2 follows a sensational month of crowd-free, selfish skiing. Over the first two weeks of Jan I'm off on a terrain tour along The Kootenay Rockies' Powder Highwaytaking in Kicking Horse and Panorama. More to follow about all of these altitude adventures over the next few weeks, as well as my Revelstoke report.

Here are some New Year's highlights from around North America where torchlight parades, parties and fireworks are trending:

Revelstoke Mountain Resort - NYE Firework Display

Revelstoke Mountain Resort hosts a rollicking Rail Jam Dec 28. There's a fabulous firework display on Dec 31, backlit by the Selkirk Mountains, but the festive focus is on party hopping around the resort. Three unique parties combine to form Revy's New Year's Eve Extravaganza, at the Rockford Restaurant, Mackenzie Common Tavern and an inflatable igloo on Rockford Plaza. Each venue will have its own distinct vibe, ambiance, live entertainment and its own special NYE-worthy signature cocktail. Complimentary shuttle service home will be provided for the 'over-served' and one ticket gains entrance to all three events.

New Year's Torchlight Descent - Courtesy of Lake Louise Ski Resort
After a great day on the slopes, Lake Louise's European-style New Year's Eve party kicks off with cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and live music at the mid-mountain Whitehorn Lodge, followed by a first tracks torchlight ski on a freshly-groomed run down to the Sitzmark Lounge in the Lodge of the Ten Peaks. Next is a wonderful smorgasbord dinner, entertainment and dancing - in ski gear unless you've been savvy enough to stash your party pants or festive frocks at the lower lodge. Non-skiers can join in the base activities. Later, shuttles deliver revelers back to all the Lake Louise and Banff hotels. 

Fireworks are foremost at Panorama's New Year's Eve celebration (pictured above). The resort runs a three-day package including deals on accommodation, lift tickets and New Year's Eve Dinner. Family activities include Fairy Cabin night, painting, guided snowshoe, twilight 'Smores, tubing, craft and swim, learn to tie dye, free movies and jam night. 

Fireworks at Fernie - Tourism Fernie
The place to be at Fernie Alpine Resort on Dec 31 is Cirque Restaurant in Lizard Creek Lodge. A great vantage point for all the fireworks, it is also an upscale venue for a four-course dinner and late-night party with DJ and dancing. 

NYE Fireworks at Mont-Sainte-Anne
NYE this year at Mont-Sainte-Anne means lighting animation, inflatable games, ice rink and campfires with coffees, marshmallows and hot chocolates. The highlight of the evening will be the countdown to 2018 and the free firework display. 

Around the USA:

Dom Perignon NYE Party at The Little Nell, Aspen - by Jamie Jaye/Aspen Skiing Company
Aspen Snowmass
On Sunday, December 31 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., Snowmass will ring in the New Year by lighting up the slopes with fireworks and a Torchlight Parade. Skiers and snowboarders ages eight and older will be welcome to ski in the parade, which begins at 6 p.m., followed by fireworks over Snowmass at 10 p.m. 

Northstar at New Year - Courtesy of Vail Resorts
Northstar's New Year’s Eve Fire & Ice Celebration rings in 2018 around the outdoor ice skating rink with The Who Show cover band, an ice bar, warm fire pits and fireworks. The best thing coming up in 2018 here? I'm going in February!! Look out for lots of articles about it this season. 
On Sunday, December 31, guests savour the last moments of 2017 by taking the American Eagle chairlift up to mid-mountain where a delicious buffet dinner awaits in Solitude Station. After dinner, guests will be able to ski back down the mountain under the light of the moon and stars. Also NYE is a children’s glowstick pageant, a torchlight parade and a mountainside fireworks display. 

Breck's Torchlight Parade - Courtesy of Breckenridge Ski Resort
For NYE Breck puts on a Torchlight Parade on the slopes from the top of Peak 9 down American to the Village. As well as fireworks later at the resort, there's also a Glow Worm Parade for kids to ski green terrain with glow sticks to give the appearance of a New Year’s glow worm. 

Cooper honors 75 years of operations this season with a New Year’s Eve Celebration complete with a torchlight parade, birthday cake, balloons and live music. 
Starting at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec 31, Crested Butte offers a new take on New Year’s Eve celebrations with a self-guided skin or snowshoe tour to the top of Ten Peaks and warm up inside the Umbrella Bar while watching the fireworks display from 5:30 p.m. Includes appetizers, champagne and dessert.

Telluride Torchlight Descent Dec 31
On Sunday, December 31 skiers and snowboarders can take a run down the mountain on Coonskin and Telluride Trail into Mountain Village, carrying blazing red torches, while non-skiers can view the parades on both sides of the resort.

Granby Ranch
Celebrating the transition from 2017 to 2018, Granby Ranch will host a New Year’s Eve party to ring in the New Year on the slopes. 

Monarch Mountain features a New Year’s Eve fireworks and torchlight parade as does Powderhorn Mountain Resort, which also hosts a New Year’s Rail Jam and live music at the SlopeSide Inn with drink and food specials.

Silverton Mountain's New Years’ Eve package includes three days of guided skiing, parties each night, lunch and après drinks every day December 29-31. This coincides with opening weekend at Silverton Mountain, so conditions will be untouched and on steep terrain. 

New Year Torchlight Parade and Fireworks at Steamboat - Courtesy of Larry Pierce/Steamboat Ski Resort
From 5:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. NYE, the Steamboat Snowsports School will treat folks to a spectacular on-snow parade down the mountain lit only by torches. Along with the torchlight parades, a fireworks display will illuminate the sky providing a perfect ending to the evening. Following the Torchlight Parade, guests will ring in the New Year at a kid-friendly event with the Family Fun New Year’s Eve bash at the Steamboat Grand. The festivities will kick off with a family-style buffet dinner in the Grand Ballroom followed by magic, juggling and comedy. Other children’s activities and face painting will fill the time before the 2018 countdown, complete with noise makers and party hats, happening at 9 p.m. Another option is the Korbel New Year’s Eve Party at the top of the gondola in Thunderhead Lodge from 6 p.m. on Dec 31 to 1 a.m. Jan 1. Dance the night away with DJ entertainment and indulge in a desert bar, chocolate fondue station and small bite appetizers before ringing in 2018. 


Partying at Purgatory on New Year's Eve is accompanied by fireworks, a torchlight parade and a New Year’s Eve special dinner-buffet with carving stations and decadent desserts.  

Heavenly Mountain Resort - Dec 31 last year 
Heavenly Holidays culminates on Dec 31, with a live band and brightly-lit gondola that descends over the crowd, signaling the start of the New Year and a festive fireworks show.

Solitude Torchlight Parade New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve kicks off with a Magic Show at the Last Chance Lodge at Solitude, followed by the light show provided by a synchronized team of Solitude staff bearing torches as they ski down the mountain in the dark.

Park City, Utah New Year's Eve Fireworks Show
Park City, Utah
Park City Mountain is ringing in the New Year on Sunday with its annual New Year’s Eve celebration and fireworks show at the Canyons Village. Festivities begin at 2:30 with complimentary family après ski activities including a magician in the village. Popular Utah cover band Metro Music Club will take the stage at 5:30 with two hours of live music before the grand finale fireworks show at 7:30. All New Year’s Eve activities are complimentary and open to the public.  

Sun Valley - New Year’s Eve Bubbly Bash Winter White-Out Party
Lots of options at Sun Valley on Dec. 31 including a Family Bowling night and a Family Night-skiing Party on Dollar Mountain which features face painting, New Year’s Eve party hat decorating, photo booth, and bouncy twister. There's an Ice Skating party with DJ and also Après Ski Live Music at the Warm Springs Day Lodge. Ring in 2018 with family fun and festivities and the NYE countdown and fireworks at 9:00 pm. 
NYE Fireworks at Okemo Mountain Resort
December 27 Okemo Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Display at Okemo Mountain Resort
A spectacular pyrotechnics show starts at 7:30 pm in the Okemo Clock Tower base area following a torchlight parade of skiers and riders traversing Okemo’s Open Slope trail. Naturalist Joe Karl leads a snowshoe hike up the mountain to offer a birds’ eye view of the fireworks.

Dinner via Snowcat at Stratton
December 27 – Snowcat Ride with Dinner at Stratton Mountain Resort
Visitors can reserve a unique dining experience highlighting Stratton's winter beauty and culinary expertise. Price is $120 per person plus tax and gratuities and includes a snowcat ride to and from the Mid Mountain Lodge, seasonal beverage and snacks upon arrival, and a three-course meal. This event is 21+ only. All dinners are weather dependent, and require a minimum of 10 people prior to departure.

December 27 – Grommet Jam #1 at Mount Snow Resort
This three-part event series is a great way for kids to get out and learn from Mount Snow’s coaches and ski school instructors. Training Center and Ski & Snowboard School coaches and instructors will help little jibbers in the Grommet park at Carinthia in the morning, followed by a break for lunch, and then a friendly afternoon park competition in the Grommet park. After the competition an awards ceremony will be held in the Carinthia Base Lodge. A lift ticket is required and not included in registration.  

December 30 – Telemark Primer Clinic at Bromley Mountain Resort
Start your season off right! A primer clinic is a warm up for the great season to come. Refresh your techniques and build up your strength and endurance slowly throughout this fun and encouraging telemark weekend. Bromley's top PSIA/NATO trained telemark coaches will provide an individualized coaching environment that fosters a fun and challenging day of early season skiing and learning.
December 31 – Okemo’s Family New Year’s Eve at Okemo Mountain Resort
Midnight arrives early for friends and family enjoying a variety of activities. Following early evening ice skating, snow tubing, mountain coaster rides, horse-drawn wagon rides, party-hat decorating, bingo games and a trivia tournament, families can ring in the New Year early with a DJ dance party - and still get the kids to bed in time for a full day on the slopes the next day. Party games, balloons, noisemakers and fireworks add to the New Year celebration, complete with a pizza party dinner in the Roundhouse at Jackson Gore. Tickets prices vary based on level of participation.

December 31 – New Year’s Eve Celebration at Stratton Mountain Resort
Spend the evening with family and friends, celebrating the New Year with fun events and activities plus a spectacular fireworks display. View the firework display from the Mid-Mountain Lodge as part of the 7-9 pm Snowshoe Hike. After the hike indulge in a campfire, hot cocoa and marshmallows for roasting. At 8:30 pm the Torchlight Parade, 21 jump salute and fireworks will begin in the Main Base Area.

Mount Snow 
December 31 – Grand New Year’s Eve Celebration at Mount Snow Resort
This family-friendly nightclub event features a live DJ in the Grand Summit Resort Hotel Ballroom, Saturday, December 31 from 10:30 pm - 1:00 am after the Family Dinner Party. The Grand New Year's Eve Celebration 2018 includes: party favors, a champagne toast at midnight (for ages 21+) hors d'oeuvres stations and a cash bar starting at 10:30 pm. 

Tourism Fernie

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