This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
While New Year's Eve parties tend to have a reputation for being wild, events at Utah's ski resorts don't often live up to that reputation.
In fact, they tend to be earlier in the evening, family-oriented and can even occur a night early on Dec. 30.
"A lot of spectators and guests enjoy watching the torchlight parades," said Jessica Kunzer of Ski Utah. "They are visually stunning. We have holiday visitors that come out between Dec. 26 and Jan. 2 and it's fun for them to participate as well. You get a good mix of locals and visitors staying at the resorts."
Powder Mountain east of Ogden hosts one of the most unusual events. It offers deals for $25 or less that include a night ski pass combined with a holiday dinner and features a glow stick parade for kids, bonfires and games for the kids as well as extended hours. The Sundowner lift is open until 12:30 a.m., making that the latest or earliest - an avid skier who wants to bring in the New Year in style can enjoy the slopes.
"It's one of those events that is not too crowded and can be a good quality event for all ages," said Patrick Lundin of Powder Mountain, which hosts one of the bigger celebrations.
In Little Cottonwood Canyon, Snowbird and Alta host similar events that include a fireworks display and a light parade.
In Alta's case, skiers load the Wildcat and Collins lifts between 5:15 and 5:45 p.m. The resort will provide participants with a glow stick or flashlight, and skiers are encouraged to bring their own headlamps. No sulfur flares for skiers will be available this year and alcohol is not allowed on the lifts. The event begins at 6 p.m. That will be followed by fireworks. To participate, bring a can of food for the Utah Food Bank. The Goldminers Daughter parking area is a good place to watch the event from your car.
Snowbird features a torchlight parade at 6 p.m., followed by fireworks. The Plaza Deck is the best place to view that free event.
Solitude hosts Big Cottonwood Canyon's only parade of lights, but it is scheduled on Thursday instead of Friday. Children of all ages are invited to the Parade of Lights, meeting at the Last Chance Mining Camp at 4:45 p.m. A snowcat shuttle takes the kids to the top of Main Street. The parade begins at 5:15 p.m., followed by free hot chocolate and treats from Whole Foods.
In the Park City area, the Canyons and Deer Valley host events.
The Canyons offers the biggest New Year's Eve celebration with fireworks on the mountain at 7:30 p.m. There is an invitation-only Rail Jam in the afternoon. The Red Pine Lodge hosts a family-oriented Western barbecue (reservations required at 435-615-3360), and there is a New Year's Eve Gala at Grand Summit Ballroom featuring dancing, noisemakers, hats, food and a cash bar. Price for that is $55 for adults and $25 for kids.
Deer Valley's annual torchlight parade is Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Big Stick Run, with complimentary hot cider and cookies served.
In southern Utah, Brian Head hosts a New Year's Eve torchlight parade and fireworks at dusk followed by a prime rib dinner (with a children's table available) and a live band with dancing for kids and adults.
Thus, if your definition of a wild New Year's Eve means being outdoors, there are plenty of options at Utah ski areas.