Free skating kicks off ’12 Days of Aspen’ |

Free skating kicks off ’12 Days of Aspen’

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
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. |

ASPEN – The dry start to the winter season and the lack of fresh powder may be keeping a few locals and visitors from hitting the slopes right now, but there’s still plenty to do in Aspen from now until the end of the month.

The Aspen Chamber Resort Association’s third annual “12 Days of Aspen” – a holiday-inspired series of mostly family-friendly events downtown – begins Tuesday with free ice skating at the Silver Circle Ice Rink from 2-4 p.m. The rink is located off Durant Avenue across from the Rubey Park bus depot and next to CP Burger.

Speaking of CP Burger, the local eatery will kick off a new adult-themed event Tuesday from 5-7 p.m: the “12 Bars of Aspen” happy-hour drink specials.

Julie Hardman, special events manager for ACRA, said the 12 Bars of Aspen is one of a few new offerings this year.

“We like to add new events every year to keep it interesting and fun for everyone,” she said. “The ’12 Bars’ came up because we decided that ’12 Days’ is such a family-oriented event, we thought we’d do something a little more 21 or older and highlight some of our restaurants in town.”

Another first-time event is the s’more parties on Saturday and Dec. 28 starting at 2 p.m. at the Wagner Park clock tower, on the west end of the Hyman and Cooper pedestrian malls, where kids and adults can make their own versions of the popular campfire treat. A holiday photo shoot at the same location starts at 1 p.m on Dec. 29. Both the s’more parties and the photo-taking sessions are free and open to the public.

Back by popular demand, Hardman said, are events featuring Santa Claus and his reindeer. The first opportunity to visit the bearded, jolly man will be Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the Limelight Lodge on South Monarch Street, an event that coincides with the Aspen Art Museum’s ornament-making session at the same location.

The reindeer will make their first appearance at the Wagner Park Clock Tower on Thursday from 12:30-4:30 p.m. The Aspen Chamber Resort Association will hand out cookies and cider.

“The skating party is one of the biggest events on the calendar, and wherever Santa appears is usually a big hit, too,” Hardman said.

A full schedule of ACRA-coordinated offerings and other local events can be found at

Entertainment options also are on the list, including Theatre Aspen’s production of the musical “Annie” at the Wheeler Opera House, which runs Tuesday through Friday; concerts by singer-songwriter Rufus Wainright on Thursday at Belly Up Aspen; New Orleans musical prodigy (now an adult) Trombone Shorty on Dec. 27 at the Wheeler Opera House; apres ski parties and more.

The 12 Days of Aspen culminates Dec. 31 with a nighttime bonfire and DJ party at Wagner Park to be followed by fireworks on Aspen Mountain that can be seen from most locations within the downtown area.

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