It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and December in Vail is no exception. The winter season is still fresh and new. Back Bowl openings are cause for great celebration. Christmas lights everywhere create a magical winter wonderland ambiance, and two of Vail’s signature events will take place.
Vail Snow Days – December 8-10
Even though Vail Mountain has been open since Thanksgiving week, Vail Snow Days is considered the official kick off to ski and snowboard season. The weekend festival is traditionally known for free live music, but this year will also include wellness and transformation opportunities, family-friendly activities, and more.
First and foremost, The Greyboy Allstars will headline the free Saturday concert. The Greyboy Allstars came together in 1994, when the individual members were asked to perform at a record release party. The guys so enjoyed playing together that they decided to continue on as a band.
The Greyboy Allstars started playing weekly at San Diego’s now defunct Green Circle, weekends at San Francisco’s Elbo Room and various clubs throughout Europe. By playing danceable boogaloo music within the soul jazz genre, they became a national and international phenomenon.
The lineup of the band remains nearly the same as it did on their breakthrough, Denson on horns and vocals, Robert Walter on keyboards, Elgin Park (aka Michael Andrews) on guitars and vocals, and Chris Stillwell on bass. Original drummer Zak Najor has passed the baton on to Aaron Redfield, an old friend of the band and frequent collaborator.
Denver-based Eminence Ensemble (prog rock, funk and soul) will open the show that evening at the concert venue – Solaris in Vail Village. The Gates will open at 5:30pm and show starts at 6pm. Get there early for the best spots in the crowd!
Beyond music, the Vendor Expo Village will return to the base of Gondola 1 both Saturday and Sunday. It will feature brand information and product samples from Vail Snow Days sponsors. New wellness offerings include free Mountaintop Yoga on Friday morning at Eagle’s Nest, and a guided snowshoe tour on Friday afternoon. On Saturday, there is free Family Skating ‘n S’mores from 4-5:30pm at Solaris, right before the free concert. Finally, apres ski parties with take place throughout Vail and Lionshead for the grownups all weekend.
Vail Holidays, December 16-31
If you need a little help getting in the holiday spirit, Vail will come alive with lights, sounds, events and cheer all month long. What I love about Vail Holidays is that it is a series of smaller, charming events, so you can go at your leisure without fear of missing out. There are even events prior to “Vail Holidays” proper. Next door at the Vail Library, there is a Holiday Harp Concert, Dickens Carolers, Meet Santa (for tots under 3), and Family Fireplace Holiday Party with crafts and Santa for all. All of these events take place prior to December 16th.
Starting the 16th, there is a Holiday Fun Run to burn off all of the holiday goodies you know you’ll be eating. If you don’t feel like breaking a sweat, stop by the Kris Kringle Market instead. From December 16-17, you can shop at this holiday version of the popular summer Vail Farmers’ Market. On the 17th, families can enjoy ice skating and cookie decorating at nearby Vail Square in Lionshead. Santa will also be stopping by! Vail’s Holiday Tree Lighting immediately follows, so the evening will be full of Christmas cheer.
On the winter solstice (December 22), there is a free paper lantern making workshop next door at the Vail Library from 1:30-4:30pm. Aren’t we lucky to be located so close to the Library? Participants can take their completed lanterns on the Holiday Lantern Walk in Vail Village at 5pm. The short jolly procession through Vail Village will include illuminated lanterns and live music, as guests make their way to the Gore Creek Promenade for the opening celebration of the Eleventh Annual Vail Winterfest Ice Theater. This working theater is carved completely out of ice! You can lounge in oversized ice chairs while enjoying the scenic Gore Creek during the day and film projections on a screen created in ice in the evening. The Vail Winterfest Ice Theater will feature the classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at the opening celebration. Afterwards, projection begins daily at dusk until 10:00 p.m. and will be on view until the ice melts!
Finally, Vail Holidays will go out with a bang on December 31st. At 6:15pm, Golden Peak will be ablaze with the light of red torches as ski instructors and Vail locals make their way down the mountain. Once the skiers are off the slopes, the skies above Golden Peak will fill with fireworks to celebrate to say farewell to 2017, and Happy New Year to all!
December Vail Lodging Specials
Still searching for accommodations? Lodge at Lionshead has condo rentals available in early-to-mid December, as well as over the Christmas holiday. We also have awesome specials (up to 40% off) right now! Christmas weekend you could stay in a Platinum 1 Bedroom, Platinum 2 Bedroom or Gold 3 Bedroom depending on the size of your party. A 2 night minimum stay is required. We also have about three 2 Bedroom condos open for 3 night stays over New Year’s. You can check out all rates and availability for December right here on our website.