12 days of Christmas

December 21, 2006
You know the drill. Twelve days of Christmas. Birds in fruit trees, ladies dancing, drummers drumming. But all you can think of is snow, glorious snow, and long, wonderful vacation days.
In honor of the classic 12 days, we’re sharing these tips for making the most of the holidays, snow-style. Today: Start planning your best new holiday tradition. We’ve had some of our best ski days ever on Christmas Day, when most Coloradans stay home. Organize Monday’s trip now. Saturday: Read the fine print on your season passes. Some have blackout dates between Christmas and New Year’s Day. If that’s your pass, expand your horizons and visit one of the more affordable resorts — Ski Cooper is just $27 with a Gems card (if you don’t have one, ask your friends). Sunday: Think about gas and food for your trip on Monday. If you use the interstate, you’re probably OK. But the back way, on U.S. Highway 24 through South Park? Plan ahead: Hartsel basically closes down Christmas Day (Badger Basin, the town’s only gas station, is closed, but will be open New Year’s Day). If it’s ceremony you’re after, head to Winter Park, where there is a torchlight parade at dusk with carols and hot chocolate (winterparkresort.com); Copper, also featuring a torchlight parade (copper colorado.com); or Monarch (skimonarch.com), where Santa will ski. Monday: Just for fun, break your routine at the ski area. Always take your lunch? Splurge on pizza or soup in a bread bowl. Always hit the cafeteria line? Pack a cooler with your favorite fancy foods. Tuesday: Be prepared to be aware. The slopes will be home to Josh and Tom from Oklahoma, who have dragged their friend Dave up to the T-bar on Breck’s Peak 8 . . . and he just picked up his rental skis. Wednesday: Expand your horizons. Go ice skating at Evergreen Park’s lake or tubing in Fraser. Evergreen Park surrounds a picturesque mountain lake with a historic warming house. For hours and information, call 1-303-512-9300. The Fraser Tubing Hill features a smooth alpine slope. For information, call 1-970-726-5954. Thursday: Try a different kind of skiing. Take a lesson in telemarking or snowboarding. Or visit a Nordic center and put on the long boards (coloradocrosscountry.com for list of centers). Dec. 29: Go, ski racer, go. Try your hand at racing on a NASTAR course, set up at almost every Colorado resort. For times and other information, go to nastar.com. Dec. 30: Let this be Kid’s Day. Let your kids decide where they want to ski, and once you’re there, let them be the leaders and the decisionmakers. No kids? Pick a resort you’ve never skied or a resort with new terrain. Dec. 31: Celebrate year’s end with more torchlight parades and fireworks, at Breckenridge’s Peak 9 (breckenridge.com), Beaver Creek (bea vercreek.snow.com), Monarch (skimonarch. com) or Keystone (keystone.snow.com). Or watch the pros and the not-yets at the Jingle Rails Rail Jam, 4 to 8 p.m. at Winter Park (ski winterpark.com). Jan. 1: Make this your New Year’s resolution: Never pay for parking. At Beaver Creek, park free at Arrowhead; at Breck, park downtown (look for free lots). Keep in mind, when the gondola opens, Miner’s lot won’t be free anymore, but city-owned lots will be. Jan. 2: Feeling a little left behind in the gear department? Buy a new hat. It will do wonders. If you’re on break from college, head to Crested Butte for the Butte Bash, which includes five nights’ lodging and four days’ skiing and “spa gatherings” from about $400 (skicb.com). If you’re not in college, beware.
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