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8 Ways to Enjoy Christmas & the Holidays in Vail

‘Tis the season to be jolly! Merry and bright! But maybe your home holiday traditions — like watching “Love Actually” — are getting a little stale. Maybe all you want for Christmas is to be in a winter wonderland. We know the perfect place: A holiday vacation in Vail.

Vail certainly knowns how to deck the halls. This destination mountain town decks the ski runs, restaurants, cobblestone streets and, sure, all the hotel halls, too. North America’s premier ski mountain has oodles of holiday spirit, so strike the harp, join the chorus and plan a Vail holiday sojourn that will fill your cup until it runneth over. Fa, la, la!

Here are eight ways to enjoy Christmas and the full holiday season around Vail:


A couple lounges before a fireplace holding hot chocolate in their hands. They wear sweaters, long pants and festive socks.

Speaking of cups, you’ll find holiday bliss in a cup at the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail. This is not any regular cup of hot chocolate like the powdered mix you make at home with the faux mini marshmallows. This exquisite cup of cocoa is decadent, rich and some might say “life altering.” “Haute Chocolate” at the Remedy Bar is just the prescription following a long day on the slopes.

This luxe cup of chocolatey warmth is made with Swiss chocolate (is there any other kind?), marshmallow and Chantilly cream. It is served in a traditional French hot-chocolate pot. The steamed milk and Valrhona chocolate are churned right next to your table. Much like skiing the summit, what is on top of the cup is the best — a dark-chocolate lattice and homemade marshmallows. You will find yourself fast walking the cobblestone streets to Remedy Bar to get your Haute Chocolate fix after each ski day. Sample more decadent desserts at delicious Vail restaurants.


Kringle Crossing holiday village on Vail's International Bridge with a-frame ski school building and a gingerbread home

The annual Revely Vail Tree Lighting happens at the Sunbird Park in Lionshead Village in late November. The magic continues with Kringle Crossing, Smile with Santa and more into Vail Holidays.  This long-standing tradition of a torchlight ski down and fireworks completes the year  with sparkling lights, bringing together locals and visitors alike. Learn about more signature Vail events happening in winter.


A family of five are out shopping in the Vail village during winter. They are leaving a store and two girls carry white shopping bags.

Nothing says, “Happy Holidays,” like a gift from one of Vail’s unique shops and boutiques. Here you can shop for everyone on your list, naughty or nice. Hand-tooled cowboy boots from Kemo Sabe for Dad? Check. A pavé diamond Mama Bear necklace from The Golden Bear for Mom? Check. Burton snowboards for the kids? Check. Check. See a full list of Vail shops.


New Years Eve fireworks over Vail Village in Vail, Colorado. The fireworks burst in bright colors of green, pink and yellow.

A quintessential Vail holiday activity — aside from the popular photo opportunity at the Christmas trail sign — is the annual New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade ski-down event that’s part of Vail Holidays at Golden Peak. Ring in the New Year, Vail style. Usually starting as the sun sets, locals and tourists alike gather at the base of Golden Peak to watch ski instructors ski down with torch lights in a serpentine configuration. After this festive parade, a fireworks display brightens the starry sky and welcomes the new year with gusto. Explore New Year’s resolutions you’re going to want to keep.

5. Eat, Drink & Be Merry

A couple in winter clothing dines outside at an après-ski restaurant. The woman holds a glass of red wine and the man holds a forkful of fish.

From Golden Peak, there is easy access to walk along holiday-decorated cobblestone streets over to the plethora of Vail Village bistros, cafes and fine-dining spots. Try rack of caribou for two in the Antler’s Room at Pepi’s, Italian truffles at La Bottega, traditional fondue and raclette (fun for the whole family) at the Swiss Chalet, and dover sole for two prepared à la meuniere and deboned tableside at the Left Bank. Splurge and satisfy your inner gourmand with an unforgettable meal in Vail. Find tips for a romantic evening dining out.


Bright lights and lively crowd at winter outdoor concert in Vail, Colorado

Stroll across Vail’s festively lit covered bridge and stop to gaze at the puffy, snow-covered boulders on Gore Creek. On the other side of the bridge, the magic begins at The Red LionShakedown BarThe George10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits BarRoot & FlowerEl SegundoBully Ranch and more. Or head over to nearby Lionshead Village where Garfinkel’s and Bart and Yeti’s serve holiday cocktails slopeside. From casual to trendy, New Year’s Eve — really, the whole holiday season — is done right in Vail. Learn about Vail’s cool nightlife scene.


Back shot of man holding his child and facing stage in winter clothing.

Live music with Phil Long at the Vail Chophouse in Lionshead is a fun après-ski option followed by a sumptuous steak dinner. Phil has been a fixture in the Vail après party scene for decades and encourages sing-a-longs, requests and nonstop entertainment. Shakedown Bar in Vail Village features live music and has the best live rock ‘n’ roll shows in the valley. Check out Vail’s après scene.


The Vail village is blanketed in snow in winter. A brightly lit pine tree stands tall in the square.

The North Pole has nothing on Vail — it’s like being in your own personal snow globe surrounded by the most amazing dining, shopping and outdoor winter fun you could ever dream of. There’s nothing more magical than Vail for the holidays.

So, what are you waiting for? Are you ready to swap presents under the tree for untracked powder, fireworks, fondue, ice bars and Haute Chocolate? Ring in the new year with a shake and a stir and a few turns on Vail Mountain. Admit it — all you want for Christmas is Vail!

More ideas for planning your Vail holiday getaway: