We all know ski towns throw great parties: all the more reason to venture to these world-class resorts for the biggest party night of the year.
Whether your 2017 resolution is to ski big lines or find the perfect snow bunny partner, ski resorts can set the stage for an epic ring-in to the new year. The last big night of the busiest vacation week of the year brings live concerts, torchlight parades, epic firework shows and fantastic parties. Shindigs start at après hour and lead long into the nights. Pick your pleasure of outrageous themed parties or elegant mountaintop dinners. Wake up before 10 am New Year’s Day to ski empty slopes, or lounge (heated) poolside with a luxury brunch. Here’s our short list of this years must-go-to resorts for New Year’s.
Breckenridge offers something for everyone on New Year’s: kids can partake in the evening glow worm parade, après lovers can watch the Ski & Snowboard school’s torchlight parade from favorite bar Maggie’s, and party-goers will find plenty of opportunity downtown to pop bottles and dance the night away. For an elegant dinner, make reservations at Blue River Bistro. Cecilia’s nightclub boasts the best DJ’s and dancing. The Breckenridge Free Ride program offers free transportation around the village and special late night service on New Year’s Eve. Stay safe, have fun, kiss a stranger at midnight and pray for fresh pow to ring in 2017.
Whistler sets up the perfect New Year’s schedule for its guests through a family-friendly venue-hop around the Village starting at 6pm. Celebrations include games, live entertainment, pre-midnight kids countdowns, ice skating, and the famous Fire & Ice Show in the Village Plaza. For the party-oriented crowd, Whistler Village nightclubs will be rockin’ through the night with world-renowned DJ’s and themed parties. Hard core skiers can count on solid early season conditions and the most skiable terrain in North America.
South Lake Tahoe knows how to live the good life, and Heavenly is the epicenter of holiday events. The resort is split between California and Nevada, so that dipping into a miniature mountain town version of Vegas is a possibility for club and casino fans. On December 31st the resort kicks off festivities with live music, games, fireworks, fire dancers, face painting, and the world’s only Gondola Ball Drop. South Lake Tahoe offers tons of options for late night New Year's shennanigans, including exclusie parties at casinos Montbleu and the Hard Rock.
For a small town in northwest Wyoming, Jackson Hole puts on some impressive New Year’s shindigs. Gather around the gondola base at 6 for the Mountain Sports School torchlight parade, or earlier if your kids are participating in the oh-so-adorable glow worm parade down Teewinot. From there you have your pick of parties, the vibes of which are determined by whatever live music act is playing. Piste is the place for an ultra-elegant ring in to 2017, while hot spots like the Town Square Tavern draw younger local crowds. Note that the “cool” place to be shifts year to year: best ask a local Jacksonite where to go, and buy tickets at the venue at least 3 days before.
Beaver Creek knows New Year’s for families, and they’ve designed their entire WinterFest to pack the holidays full of enough options to keep little ones happily entertained. The New Year’s Eve Bash ends the 2-week long festival with dancing, DJ’s, games, fireworks, and two balloon drops at 10pm and midnight. The night kicks off with fireworks at 6:45; tickets at 75 USD per person, with special pricing for kids and free admission for those under 4. Be sure to register your kids with the Ski & Snowboard School ahead of time if they’d like to participate in the pre-fireworks glow-worm parade.
If there’s one resort in the Rockies for a glitz and glamored-out New Year’s Eve, it’s Aspen. This humble yet happening mountain town boasts some of the hippest bars and clubs in Colorado, each of which boast their own themed party come December 31st. Hit the Dom Perignon Party at The Little Nell for world-class DJ’s and live music, or the free outdoor party with bonfire at downtown Wagner Park. Opt for an elegant midnight toast at the St. Regis, or family-friendly sledding and ice skating at the Aspen Recreation Center. There’s something for everyone (and yes, fireworks too).
We love Big Sky as a New Year’s destination because it gives skiers and riders two options: ringing in 2017 in understated resort town, or getting rowdy with college students and locals in (sort-of) nearby Bozeman. At the resort, start with a mountaintop dinner at Everett’s 8800, then toast at any one of the local hideaways. For a bigger party scene, book a room in Bozeman and enjoy a good old-fashioned bar hop around downtown. For something a little more unique, head to the Bozeman Hot Springs party: live DJ starts spinning at 7pm.
For New England ski resorts, Okemo is our top pick for a perfectly planned family New Year’s or a raucous night out on the town (or both, if you get a late night sitter). Jackson Gore Village hosts a family celebration starting at 5pm, which features magic show, wagon rides, pizza, DJ dance party, and countdown at 9pm. Adults can get out on the town and mingle with locals at The Loft or Killarney, which boast less formal and super lively parties. Another good option is ringing in 2017 with friends at your private condo.