If you’ve never visited Aspen, Colorado before, then you should consider making it a future Christmas destination. Not only is an Aspen Christmas very beautiful, but there are so many festivities and thrilling activities that will help get you in the Christmas spirit.
Header Photo courtesy Snowmass Tourism/ Hal Williams.
Maybe you’re looking for wonderful shops where you can get the last of your Christmas shopping done? Aspen has plenty of charming shops that will help you cross off the last name on your list.
While Christmas in Aspen may look slightly different this winter due to Covid regulations, that isn’t going to stop the merry festivities and Christmas cheer from spreading throughout. Here’s a closer look at what you can expect this holiday season while visiting Aspen, and also neighboring Snowmass.
Aspen Christmas Activities
12 Days of Aspen
With only 12 days left in the year, the Aspen chamber throws an exciting 12-day festival unlike any other. Each and every day there’s plenty of activities that are fun for the whole family. There are sure to be workshops that participate in ornament, stocking, and cookie decorating. Also ice skating, and a chance for your kids to meet Santa Claus and all his beloved reindeer.
On the final night of the celebration, there’s a spectacular firework show that takes place at Aspen Mountain that creates countless postcard-worthy moments for you. Here are more details on what you can expect each day. You and your kids are sure to have a joyful and triumphant time.
Skiing, Snowboarding, and Other Thrilling Outdoor Activities
Aspen is world-renowned for its beautiful snow-covered Rocky Mountain slopes that create perfect conditions for skiers and snowboarders alike. So, if thrill-seekers are willing to travel from all over the world to get their chance at it, you should too.
There’s just something about ice skating out in the cold night air that brings magic and anticipated excitement to the season. Starting in December and running through February, the Silver Circle Ice Rink can provide you with skate rentals for a fun night out on the ice. For those of you that would rather skate indoors, there’s the Aspen Ice Garden and Lewis Ice Arena that allow public skating.
The Nutcracker in Aspen
Nothing screams that the holiday season is upon us more than Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet. Bring the whole family out to the Wheeler Opera House for a masterful performance and a night filled with wonder and amazement. Sadly, you may have to wait until 2021 for this to return.
Aspen Meadow of Lights
Aspen’s Meadow of Lights is something that everyone visiting Aspen looks forward to each year. Unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions, they’ve decided to close and move their annual lighting celebration to the winter of 2021. Should you return then, you and your family will thoroughly enjoy, while feeling the warmth and love that they have been displaying for over 30 years.
The Little Nell Christmas Eve and Christmas Dinners
If you’re visiting Aspen on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, and are in the mood for a luxurious dining experience, head over to The Little Nell at Element 47. The elegant dining includes a 3 course dinner, followed up with a delicious dessert at the end. A couple of the main dish choices include hand-made pasta, venison, squab, escargot, wagyu beef, and foie gras. They also have wine pairings available as well.
Snowmass Christmas Activities
Further up north on Highway 82, you’ll head into the charming community of Snowmass, another winter getaway destination that’s famous for its skiing and snowboarding opportunities. Snowmass also does a splendid job in making the Christmas season the best time of year.
Even during a pandemic season guests can enjoy a variety of holiday activities, treats, and holiday experiences in Snowmass.
When you’re visiting Snowmass, be sure to stick around till after dark. That way you’ll come across their Snowmass Luminescence, a beautiful display of lights and art that runs from December 18th all the way through February 28th.
Skiing in Snowmass
If you’re wondering where the best skiing opportunity is in that area, look no further than Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort. In the past, it’s been voted as “the best in the west” ski resort. Differences in their slopes accommodate every skill level, along with their ski school, and wonderful lodging experience.
Elk Camp on Snowmass (Ullr Celebration Nights)
On select nights this year, Elk Camp on Snowmass puts on a Ullr nights celebration. This honors Ullr, the Norse snow god. Your night will include a gondola ride up to Elk Camp. Here you can go tubing, snow biking, and have unlimited access to their alpine coaster.
To wrap up this fun and exciting evening, be sure to grab a cup of hot chocolate. Then make gooey s’mores while warming yourselves around a giant bonfire. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, there will be a limited amount of visitors able to attend. So be sure to purchase your activity passes ahead of time.
The annual Snowmass S’mores returns with a new, COVID friendly s’mores iteration. Guests of all ages can enjoy Snowmass S’mores, free starting at 3:30pm every day throughout the winter season.
Guests can find branded s’mores carts which resemble oversized marshmallows. In Snowmass Base Village, you can enjoy a S’mores Cup, complete with chocolate ganache, created by mix6. On the Snowmass Mall, you can experience a S’mores Bar. A secret recipe made of chocolate graham cracker crust topped with layers of rice crispy, homemade toasted marshmallow, and chocolate drizzle. Sprinkled with graham crumbs, this was concocted by Slow Groovin’ Chophouse.
While you won’t be able to toast your marshmallow over the fire, kids are sure to enjoy trying these special treats.
The ScholARTship Event
Anderson Ranch Arts Center debuts The ScholARTship Event December 7-January 22. In lieu of the annual Holiday Open House, Anderson Ranch Arts Center will host a holiday art sale this season. Proceeds benefiting Anderson Ranch’s scholarship programs.
Artwork is framed, ready for purchase and display. In addition, many works are offered at special holiday pricing. Enjoy temporary art installations on the trees throughout the grounds. Each tree is decorated by a commissioned local artist.
This interactive art and light display, immerses visitors in a dazzling world of light and art. Stroll through The Tunnel, an interactive series of LED illuminated walkways and arches that will ignite the senses.
In addition, experience two large-scale interactive LED installations by acclaimed artists. Submergence by Squidsoup (December 18 – February 28) and Prismatica by Creos and Raw Design (February 1 – February 28). Snowmass Luminescence runs December 18 through February 28 from sunset to 9:00pm daily. These twinkling lights are sure to get you in the holiday spirit.
Christmas Dinner in Snowmass
Celebrate Christmas with a special dinner at restaurants and hotels around Snowmass Village. TORO at the Viceroy Snowmass offers a prix fixe menu for $189/person starting at 3:00pm.
Enjoy festive fireworks on select Saturday nights throughout the season, including on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. The display is launched from Fanny Hill. You can take in the colorful show from socially distanced balconies, trails, and restaurants around Snowmass Village. December 25, December 31, January 30, February 13, March 27 (subject to change). Times vary with the sunset. Visit www.gosnowmass.com/events for details and specific times.
Christmas is the most magical time of the year, especially when you choose to stay in downtown Aspen. Venturing up to Snowmass is something for those that are seeking a thrill. There’s just so much for you to see and do in this area, that you can’t possibly enjoy it all in one visit. This is why many travelers make it a Christmas tradition to vacation here year after year.
If you get a chance to do any of these activities this year, leave a comment below. Describe your favorite winter wonderland experience for Christmas in Aspen, Colorado.