We’re heading into the first, full month of skiing in New England, and with that comes plenty of ways to experience the holidays on and off the slopes. Here’s a look at some of the dates when you can celebrate and experience the season.
— If there’s an idyllic feel in Stowe, Vermont, then might as well crank it up to 11 come the holidays. Tree lightings, a lantern parade, wagon rides, Santa, and carolers await visitors at the annual Traditional Christmas in Stowe (Dec. 6-8), with a full calendar of events throughout the weekend. Learn how candy cane twisting is done, decorate a gingerbread house, and experience a new exhibit at the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum. Full details at gostowe.com/signature_event/traditional-christmas-stowe.
— Cannon Mountain holds its Ski for Hunger Food Drive on Dec. 7. Bring four, non-perishable food items to guest services in the Notchview Lodge, and receive 50 percent off your lift ticket that day. That would be $41 for adults.
— Wachusett Mountain’s Snow Bash takes place Dec. 7 from 6-10 p.m., allowing for some early-season warm-up runs while enjoying appetizers and free Polar samples. Your $15 admission includes ski and snowshoe demos, an outdoor fire dance show, and $10 off a ski or board tune-up at MTNSide Ski and Ride Shop. Drop your gear off when you go to the party and it will be ready to pick up afterward.
— Vermont and beer go together like breathing and air, which makes Smugglers’ Notch’s annual Brewfest weekend an attractive option for hopheads everywhere. The 25th annual edition this year (Dec. 6-8) celebrates some of the state’s finest breweries, as well as other crafts from across the country. Tickets will be available at the door; a $22 entry includes eight samples and souvenir sampling glass.
— Ah, December. The time when visions of skiing Santas becomes a reality. At least, that’s the case every year at both Sunday River and Bolton Valley, where Santa Sunday offers opportunity to channel your inner Kris Kringle. At Sunday River’s event (Dec. 8), 250 pre-registered Santas will get together for a photo shoot. Registration takes place Dec. 2 at noon, with a fee of $20. All money raised goes to the River Fund, a non-profit organization that supports youth education and recreation.
There’s no registration required at Bolton Valley. Just show up dressed like the big guy and you’ll ski free for the day. Please note: Full costume is required. A hat and beard won’t do.
— Mount Snow’s annual Founders Day, in celebration of founder Walter Schoenknecht, takes place Dec. 13. Lift tickets, purchased in advance, are available for only $12. Note that quantities are limited and tickets must be purchased ahead of time. The rate at the ticket window on Founders Day will be $49.
— Sunday River is celebrating its 60th birthday this winter, and kicking things off for the season-long party with Winterfest Weekend (Dec. 14-16). Saturday night will be the first bout of night skiing in Bethel this season, with Santa on hand, of course, followed by a torchlight parade and the Birthday Bash at the Foggy Goggle. Free cake gets handed out at 10 p.m., followed by a 10:30 birthday piñata. What a smash.
— Visiting Santa is one thing, but have you ever had the chance to ski with him? That’s the deal at Attitash and Wildcat on Dec. 21, when Mr. Claus will be making turns with the guests at both Mount Washington Valley ski areas (9:30-11 a.m. at Wildcat, 12-2 p.m. at Attitash/Bear Peak).
— As for New Year’s Eve, there are no shortage of parties to choose from in ski country. Loon’s end-of-the-year party will feature a DJ, midnight champagne toast, and appetizers at the Bunyan Room ($30). Space is limited and 21-plus. Fireworks will kick off the festivities at Jay Peak, followed by a 90’s-themed party. Tickets are $15 in advance for adults, $20 at the door. Jay will be announcing some kid-friendly options for the evening in the next few weeks.
Wachusett will offer skiing and riding from 4 p.m. until midnight as part of its celebration, coupled with a countdown celebration with a full buffet dinner menu in the Maple Room. The evening will also boast fireworks and a midnight balloon drop. Pricing varies. See wachusett.com for combo packages.
Sugarloaf will be showcasing the newly-remodeled Widowmaker, with live music and an inside view of the fireworks. $25 (21-plus) includes a midnight toast, one cocktail, and appetizers. Limited availability.