Winter Park is magical any time of year, but December offers unique adventures that make it an extra special time. Aside from the usual world-class skiing and unbeatable views, here are the top 10 reasons to visit Winter Park in December.
1. Cut your own Christmas Tree
It’s the most wonderful time of year… so bring the holiday magic in full force with a new (or maybe just improved) holiday tradition! Don’t just go to any old tree farm to pick out your Christmas tree; mix in a little adventure with a tree hunt in the Arapaho National Forest. Hop in the car, turn up the holiday tunes, and don’t forget a thermos full of hot cocoa. We’ll also add that this is the perfect opportunity to get decked out in your plaid flannel and snap the perfect holiday card photo. Need a place to stay? Book lodging and we’ll throw in the tree cutting permit here. Make it a full weekend with this fun 48-hour itinerary!
2. Great Deals for First Time Skiers
Is this your first time on the slopes? Do you have a friend or family member you’ve been trying to convince to learn to ski? Here’s your golden ticket! This early-season limited time offer gets new skiers on the hill at a hugely discounted rate. We’re talkin’ a lesson, lift ticket, and rentals for $99 (which is typically the cost of the lesson alone)! Need we say more? Go on, get your First Timer Lesson here!
3. Live Music
December marks the kickoff of live music season, which compliments a day of skiing perfectly! After your last lap, cozy up by the campfire to for free music in the Village Gazebo every Wednesday from 4-5pm. Sip hot cocoa or bring a thermos of your own beverage of choice for this acoustic treat. After the last string has been strummed, warm up from the inside out with freshly made soup at Back Bowl, just steps away. Our new Mountaintop Music Series also gets going in December! We have Trout Steak Revival opening the series on December 30th at Sunspot Mountaintop Lodge. That means you’ll get great music with incredible mountain views! Get your tickets here!
4. Torchlight Parade
Sure holiday cheer is nice and joyful festivities are fun, but the Torchlight Parade is next level! After skiing the day away, don’t cozy up for the night just yet… bundle up and gather around the massive bonfire to watch this spectacular, dare we say explosive, display to the tune of Christmas classics. I wish we could put the experience into words, but it’s best enjoyed in person. Join us on Christmas Eve for this must-see Winter Park tradition. Pair it with Christmas dinner at Sunspot; book here before it fulls up!
5. Mary Jane Opens
This is practically a holiday in and of itself. Mary Jane Territory is home to legendary bumps, steeps, and tree skiing, so it’s no surprise that it’s hands down the local favorite. Not an advanced skier or rider? There are still plenty of blues to cruise. And did we mention the views? Take a break on the sunny, scenic patio at Lunch Rock between runs to grab some food and a drink. A stop at the Jane is a must (even if it’s just to experience après like the locals with a beer and a slice of pizza at Pepperoni’s).
6. Santa in the Village
Young or old, here’s your chance to sidle up next to Santa and wish for snow! Stroll through the brand new Village plaza beneath twinkling lights, and maybe kick back in a chairlift swing for a moment as you meander to the gazebo to chat with the man in the big red suit. Santa will be in the gazebo December 15,22, and 23 from 3-5pm and December 24 from 2-5pm. Get info on all the other events here!
7. Night Snowcat Tours
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Snowcat tours are pretty cool to begin with, but throw in a sky full of countless stars, twinkling town lights in the distance, and moon rising over the Continental Divide setting the white snow aglow, and you’ve got an unforgettable experience on your hands. New this year, our new night snowcat tours give you the opportunity to stop into Sunspot for evening drinks or dinner, then the option to hop on the gondola or get back in the snowcat for the ride back down.
Satisfy your inner speed-demon—without the skis. The best part? Your whole group can hit the tubing lanes together… skiers, boarders, or just a bunch of friends, you’re all part of the tubing crew now. Team up, go head to head, or put everything on hold to fill up on freshly baked cookies and the best hot chocolate in the Valley in the Hill House.
9. Multiweek Programs
Talk about a win-win situation. Setting up the kids in a multiweek ski program is a great way for them to make friends and start their quest toward matching (or even surpassing) your skills—helloooo family laps that are actually fun for everyone! Plus, while they’re perfecting their parallel turns on skis or seamless s-curves on a snowboard, you can cash in on the laps you love. Treat yourself to all of the smooth groomers or powdery trees you can squeeze into the day, then catch up on the day’s highlights and get excited to do it all again next weekend!
10. Holiday Goodies
Find a great gift for everyone on you list this year. You can’t go wrong with a stop at James & Parry’s, where you’ll find logo wear for the Winter Park die-hard, decor for the skier who wants to bring a touch of the ski slopes to their home, or the season’s coolest mountain attire. Check out more stocking stuffers here. If you want to stock up on Winter Park souvenirs, check out Trail’s End Mercantile for mugs, candles, sweatshirts, magnets, you name it! You can also get locally made Colorado goods straight from the source at our Holiday Market!