Celebrating the holidays in Aspen, Snowmass

Jill Beathard
The Aspen Times
Santa's reindeer come back to play from 12 to 4 p.m. Monday on the Cooper Avenue Mall. The reindeer visit is one of the activities in the 12 Days of Aspen, a collection of activities and entertainment happening in town over the next two weeks.
Aspen Times file. |

It’s the most wonderful time of the year to be in Aspen-Snowmass.

As the Christmas and New Year holidays approach, tourism officials in Aspen and Snowmass Village make sure there’s plenty of activities for the many visitors and second-home owners arriving to vacation in the valley as well as local families enjoying some quality time together.

The Aspen Chamber Resort Association’s annual 12 Days of Aspen starts today. While the chamber is not responsible for organizing all the events, it creates a schedule of all the holiday-themed entertainment around town during the next two weeks and markets it under the 12 Days of Aspen umbrella.

When 12 Days of Aspen was created in 2009, “The goal was really to bring vitality to downtown over the holidays and to offer a memorable experience for our visitors and our locals, as well,” said Jennifer Carney, who’s organizing this year’s program.

Locals usually plan to attend the events, but many visitors just sort of stumble upon activities such as having s’mores at the fire pit on the Cooper Avenue Mall as they’re walking to the gondola, Carney said.

“It becomes more of a surprise, which is kind of fun,” she said.

The 12 Days of Aspen schedule includes everything from readings at the Pitkin County Library, carolers at the Hotel Jerome and craft-making to the Aspen Film Academy Screenings and other nighttime entertainment. ACRA is responsible for a visit with Santa’s reindeer on the Cooper Avenue pedestrian mall on Monday, free ornaments at the Information Center on Christmas day and the s’mores activity on Dec. 28, Carney said.

The schedule is posted throughout town and in the newspaper, but for the most up-to-date information, visit

Snowmass Village is not left in the dark this time of year. The Very Important Kid program launches today, offering child-friendly activities every afternoon and evening now through the end of the season.

In addition to the usual Very Important Kid schedule this week, Santa Claus will be available for pictures in the Snowmass Mall and Base Village on Monday through Thursday, and carolers will provide entertainment throughout the core Wednesday and Thursday.

“For the holidays, it’s such a great time to be here for visitors and locals alike,” said Rose Abello, director of Snowmass Tourism. “It’s an opportunity for us to showcase ourselves and our hospitality to all those people.”

This year is the first time Snowmass will have its Torchlight Parade and fireworks on New Year’s Eve. (Aspen has fireworks at 8 p.m. and midnight on New Year’s Eve annually.) Snowmass Tourism officials are excited to have more to offer that night this year, Abello said, and bars and restaurants will offer specials, prix fixes and parties to coincide with the activity.


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