New York City's Times Square isn't the only spot to ring in 2013. OK, it might be the most well-known place, between the ball dropping, the crowds lining the streets for hours, and the television coverage. But what city, theme park (like Disney World and Disneyland), or holiday hot spot (like resorts, from snow to sun) doesn't try to offer at least some New Year's celebration? And we're not talking noisemakers and party hats here.
If you have skiing on the brain--and you'll take any and all holidays to hit the slopes--the last place you want to be is cramped between millions of people to maybe catch a glimpse of that infamous glimmering ball. You'd rather be skiing. But that doesn't mean missing out on the New Year's parties--you just get to start the partying before, way before, the clock strikes midnight. From fireworks to torchlight parades, ski resorts go all out to help usher in the new year. Here's where you can find some of Colorado and Utah's biggest bashes:
Deer Valley. You're going to have to wait until next December to catch some of the revelry at this Utah resort. Deer Valley gets its New Year's started on December 30 with a torchlight parade down the mountain featuring instructors and local synchronized skiers. Deer Valley's mascots entertain children and adults alike, and the resort serves cookies and hot chocolate to attendees (yum!).
Breckenridge. In Summit County, Colo., to ring in the New Year? Don't miss the torchlight parade and fireworks at 9,600' in altitude. At 6 p.m., the torchlight parade, put on by the Ski & Ride School, winds down Peak 9. But stick around until the fireworks light up town at 9 p.m. There's a concert at the Riverwalk Center and the band takes a break right before the fireworks go off so attendees can rush out to catch the blaze in the sky. Read more about it here.
Alta. Not to play favorites, but if there's a must-do New Year's Eve event it's Alta's torchlight parade. Why? Because anyone who can brave the cold chill that arrives when the sun sets, navigate successfully on skis without poles, and ski slowly and in control down a not-super-wide cat track, can participate. Don an extra layer and leave your poles at the base, ride the Wildcat or Collins lift (it's varied the years I've done it) to the gathering spot outside of Watson's Shelter, grab a torch and get it lit before you follow the maze of people down the mountain. And if you didn't think it could get any better, it does: fireworks go off while you're skiing down and there are more to watch once you hit the base and extinguish your flame.
Vail. New Year's caps off Vail's two-week Holidaze celebration. Golden Peak is where you want to watch the torchlight parade and fireworks, and sip hot chocolate. Those events are followed by a family party at Adventure Ridge and a New Year's Eve party that goes until 1 a.m. at Dobson Ice Arena. Read more about it here.
Snowbird. This resort isn't letting Alta have all the fun in Little Cottonwood Canyon. There's also a torchlight parade and fireworks at the 'Bird, and often you can be driving down from Alta and catch the Snowbird display. If you're 21 or older, the best spot to watch the fireworks is at Wildflower Lounge where you can enjoy microbrews and listen to the beats of DJ Jesse Walker.
Beaver Creek. Like Alta, Beaver Creek opens its New Year's Eve torchlight parade to skiers and riders. The only catch is you have to be at an intermediate level or above. This ski down is set to music and the ski instructors parade down afterward. To cap off the evening, look up in the sky for the firework display, try the disco skate night or party at the Hyatt's family carnival. Read more about it here.
Canyons. Whether you missed the Deer Valley festivities or you want a double dose of New Year revelry in Park City, you'll find more partying on New Year's Eve at Canyons Resort. The fireworks start at 7:30 p.m., but that's practically last on the New Year's agenda. Canyons events start at 3 p.m. and cap off with a NYE gala that runs from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Read more about it here.
Aspen. The town of Aspen doesn't fall short when it comes to ringing in the New Year. Ski or ride all day, chill out, dine out with one of these specials, check out a party or two, and then stay awake for the fireworks that illuminate the sky at 8 p.m. and midnight with Aspen Mountain as the backdrop. Read more about it--and some of the parties--here.
Don't forget: Even if you miss these parties and can't sing Auld Lang Syne to 2012 while welcoming 2013, you can always wait 365 days. We survived the Mayan calendar's end of the world, so these events, give or take a few special happenings, should be good to go to ring in 2014.
Where will you be ringing in the New Year? What are your favorite festivities at Colorado and Utah resorts?