Guides, Holiday Guide

Thanksgiving – Go Beyond Tradition

There are some traditions that make Thanksgiving a treasured day, like spending time with family, indulging in a dinner with all the fixings, settling in for the night as your food coma hits. You know, the memories you hold the dearest. And then, there are the traditions that you could do without: trashing and then subsequentially, cleaning your kitchen, your mother-in-law’s critique of your turkey basting, and Uncle Timmy drinking a few too many eggnogs, passing out on the couch, and then not leaving your house until sometime the next morning.

This year, keep the traditions you love and swap the ones you could do without for some new experiences. Make Thanksgiving a holiday filled with fun family memories and go beyond the typical dining room chaos. Spend turkey day staying in a slopeside condo, taking a ski lesson while conditions are still early season, eating dinner at our Mountain Top Lodge or try your hand at dog sledding! Maybe even fit in a crisp morning hot air balloon ride to really mix things up! Here are some other ways to refresh your Thanksgiving this year:

Tradition to Ditch: Spending All Day In the Kitchen


Even while family fills the living room, there is always someone stuck in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on the food or hoping the turkey was put in the ice bath in time to defrost.


New Tradition: Spend All Day Enjoying the Great Outdoors

Why not spend some time with the local canines and try out dog sledding. The kids will not forget how much fun these puppers were or the experience of being a real musher! And if that’s not on your bucket list, we have plenty of winter fun! Take a winter hike or try out snowshoeing, enjoy a magical sleigh ride, or try out a fat bike!

Tradition to Ditch: Cleaning Up

If you are a budding Master Chef, by all means, book a condo with a kitchen and whip up the family classics. But if not, ditch the dishes this year.

New Tradition: Sunspot Mountaintop Lodge

Start a new tradition by kicking off Thanksgiving with a gondola ride to our chef-driven menu at Sunspot Mountaintop Lodge for the annual Thanksgiving Dinner Buffet. Share what you are grateful for while you take in views of the Continental Divide.

What awaits inside? Roasted Turkey and Prime Ribeye carved right in front of you, Jalapeno-Honey Glazed Salmon, along with all the traditional fixings, with a classic Colorado twist, and a dessert bar full of pies, cakes and more. After dinner, enjoy hanging out for the moonlit views or a cocktail by the fireplace.

Tradition to Ditch: Stress

Don’t settle for writing off this time of year as a stress magnet. Thanksgiving kicks off the most wonderful time of the year. It should feel like that.

New Tradition: Spa Day

Instead, if the serenity of the mountains and escape from real life isn’t enough to bring you inner peace. Book yourself a lil’ something-something right in the Winter Park Village at Alpenglow Massage. You can get anything from a Traditional Thai Massage, to a Hot Stone Massage, or Sports Recovery Massage.  Looking for a full day of pampering? Head over to Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa to the Ranch Creek Spa. If hot tubs, saunas and an 18,000 square foot spa with a Rocky Mountain backdrop doesn’t do it for you, we don’t know what will.

Tradition to Ditch: Not Having a Place to Go for Friendsgiving

Your apartment is cramped, your old college roommate doesn’t have a working stove, and your friend of a co-worker’s friend who offered to host has 4 cats in her studio.

New Tradition: Spend the Day Riding & Get Dinner in the Village

If you call Denver home, but your family lives across the country, why not spend a day or two with the gang skiing. Avoid the awkward small talk and hit the slopes instead. Then, catch the afternoon of football down at Doc’s or grab dinner at Vertical, or go on a brew and spirits tour through downtown Winter Park. The whole gang can then spend the night and hot tub with a bottle of wine instead of fighting over the lumpy futon.

Tradition to Ditch: Big Fuss for Family Photos

Is an explanation needed?

New Tradition: Get Christmas Card Worthy Shots on the Mountain

Skip the matching sweaters and the begging and pleading to get everyone to look at the camera. This year, have Parry’s Peak as your backdrop, and you can’t take a bad photo. Well, no promises.

Tradition to Ditch: Arguing with Family

We can’t totally promise this one, but we all should have goals.

New Tradition: Tubing and Hot Chocolate after Dinner

Keep the family busy, and instead of allowing downtime to be filled with bickering, get on the tubing hill. You cannot be mad when having this much fun!  Everyone in the family can join in – young or old! Watch from the slopes or the live video indoors where you can enjoy warm cookies, gourmet hot chocolate or a Colorado craft beer from the cozy Hill House.

Tradition to Ditch: Black Friday Insanity

Is that discount toaster really worth the two hours in line?

New Tradition: Spend Friday at Holiday Market and Tree Lighting

If you really have the itch to shop, support small businesses at our Holiday Market in the Village. And then grab a hot chocolate, listen to carolers, and join us for the magical moment when we light our tree by the ice skating rink.

We all have traditions that make the holidays feel like, well, the holidays. And with a Thanksgiving spent in the mountains, you don’t have to sacrifice the turkey and mashed potatoes, the family time sharing what you are grateful for, or the jump start on Christmas shopping. But maybe this year, you can drop the chaos and instead focus on the traditions that really matter.

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