Fireworks on the docket in Aspen and Snowmass — subject to change, of course |

Fireworks on the docket in Aspen and Snowmass — subject to change, of course

Festivities are still a go but could be impacted by weather, virus, staffing

People watch the Fireworks Extravaganza after reaching the base of Aspen Mountain from participating in the Torchlight Descent during the 69th annual Winterskol on Saturday, January 11, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Sure, you could spend a few hundred bucks to partake in one of the many, many New Year’s Eve parties at Aspen’s swankiest restaurants or clamor for the waitlist for Diplo tickets at Belly Up or drop a cool 12 grand to bring a crew of 10 to the top of Aspen Mountain in one of three private snowcats.

Or you could just go outside and celebrate for free in Aspen or Snowmass Village. Both towns are slated to offer festivities and fireworks Friday evening — with a big “subject to change” caveat, of course.

Concerns about the spread of COVID-19 already have led to a spate of closures or cancellations this week at facilities like the Pitkin County Library, Aspen Art Museum and Wheeler Opera House. Staffing challenges were the reason Snowmass Village had to cancel fireworks on Christmas Week. And the latest winter storm warning that includes the Aspen area projects snowfall totals nearing 3 feet by Saturday morning, which could put a big damper on fireworks and outdoor festivities.


In Aspen, Wagner Park is the hub of free activity with a bonfire and a DJ slated for 6 to 9 p.m. The pyrotechnics blast off over Aspen Mountain at 8 p.m. and can be viewed throughout town.

Those who wish to watch the show from the slopes should “exercise extreme caution” due to the massive snow accruals from the current and recent storm cycles, according to an email from Jeff Hanle, Aspen Skiing Co. vice president of communications. There will not be any after-hours services on the hill; that includes ski patrol, Hanle wrote.

Skico asks that uphillers to stick to low-angle terrain at Buttermilk or the lower slopes of Snowmass, Hanle emphasized.

Aspen Highlands will be closed to uphill traffic Friday and Saturday until 9 a.m. and Aspen Mountain will be closed to uphillers all day and night on Friday and Saturday as crews conduct snow control work and avalanche mitigation, according to emails from Aspen Skiing Co. communications manager Hannah Dixon.

The “Groom Report” on the Aspen Snowmass app and online “Grooming and Snow Report” page are often updated with closures and uphill route status.

People hoping for a different vantage point will have good luck hiking up Smuggler Mountain Road but should bring a headlamp or flashlight and extra layers for the descent.

Pitkin County Library has canceled a New Year’s Eve screening of “When Harry Met Sally” (originally scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday). The library is closed through at least Jan. 2 due to safety concerns related to COVID-19 and inclement weather, according to their website.


In Snowmass Village, a torchlight parade and fireworks show make up the main event Friday night.

Spectators can watch skiers and snowboarders cruise down the hill from the Village Express chairlift with bright flares starting at 6 p.m.

Participants must check in before 4:45 p.m. at the ticket pavilion on the Snowmass Mall to sign a waiver and receive instructions. Riders will board the Village Express chairlift at 5:30 p.m. Anyone age 8 or older with at least intermediate skiing or snowboarding skills is welcome to participate.

Fireworks blast off at 10 p.m. over Fanny Hill.

The Collective in Base Village also will offer free New Year’s Eve festivities with apres-ski reggae from the duo Prezence from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. and a New Year’s Eve celebration with mix6 and moxiBar from 7 to 11:30 p.m. The party will offer a photo booth, champagne toast, live music with DJ Tenza and an East Coast ball drop. Black and gold attire is encouraged and all ages are welcome.


The city of Aspen also will host a virtual “Trash the Past” event that encourages people to “release the past and embrace the new year,” according to a description posted on the Aspen Chamber and Resort Association website.

Anyone can anonymously submit “old resolutions, unmet goals, or anything negative that is weighing you down that needs to be released” through the end of the day on Dec. 31 at

Participants can opt to “burn” their message, “send it down the river,” “release it into the wind,” “send it to outer space” or “release it into the snow.” The information will not be collected or stored in any way and will disappear after participants submit their entries.

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