Ski town holiday celebrations abound
The holidays are a bit different in a ski town. While most businesses in other cities nearly shut down for Christmas, ski resorts remain in full swing, with instructors teaching, liftys pulling chairs and restaurants still running.
At the same time, a crush of guests descends upon the town, coming for a holiday vacation or to see families and friends. So, come Christmas time, Park City can be a very busy place.
The holiday celebrations began this past week with Park City’s annual Christmas in the Park and continued on Saturday with the Strike the Motherlode celebration, which concluded the Historic Main Street Business Alliance’s Strike the Motherlode promotion and saw Santa and his reindeer riding down the Town Lift and into Park City.
All of the resorts in town including Deer Valley, The Canyons, and Park City Mountain will continue to celebrate the season this week, featuring a range of activities.
At The Canyons, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on the slopes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, spreading some Christmas cheer and providing their share of photo opportunities.
The event follows The Canyons’ annual "Santa Skis Free" day, on Saturday, when the first 50 guests in Santa suits were treated to free lift tickets for the day.
According to The Canyons’ spokesperson Katie Eldridge, the resort plans the events to provide a bit of holiday cheer on the slopes.
"The holiday season is a major time for a lot of people and a lot of families," she said, "and when people come here on vacation, we want to make their time as special as possible."
Park City’s other resorts have similar events on their slate.
Saturday, Dec. 24, Santa will visit Deer Valley resort. He will be available for pictures from 9-11 a.m. at Snow Park Lodge and, higher up on the mountain, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Silver Lake Lodge.
"We do it just to give kids a last chance to see Santa before he heads out to deliver his presents," said Deer Valley spokesperson Erin Grady.
Park City Mountain Resort will also host Santa on Saturday.
"On the 24th, Santa will be skiing around the mountain," said resort spokesperson Krista Rowles Parry.
When the lifts close for the day, the resort will hold its annual Traditional Christmas Eve Celebration. From 5-6 p.m., free hot beverages will be available in the resort plaza, and shortly after 6 p.m., the Park City Mountain Resort Ski and Snowboard School will present its annual torchlight parade on the PayDay.
"Hundreds of people come out for this, and that’s because it’s such a tradition," said Parry.
The celebration, she noted, offers an opportunity for the community to get together on Christmas Eve.
"It’s a gathering," Parry said. "It’s just that holiday cheer especially as you anticipate that torchlight parade."
That night, The Park City Community Church will offer services at 4, 5:30, 7:30, 9 and 11 p.m. with a special choir cantata, "The Wonder of Christmas" for the 7:30 p.m. service. The Christmas Day services will be held at 9 and 10:30 a.m.
St. Mary’s of the Assumption Catholic Church will offer two Christmas Eve masses, at 5 and 7:30 p.m., at the Eccles Center, followed by 9:30 and midnight masses at the St. Mary’s location on S.R. 224.
On Christmas day, the church will hold an 8 a.m. mass in St. Mary’s Old Town Chapel, with a 10 a.m. children’s mass at the church on S.R. 224.
Also on Christmas Day, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will host Christmas Musical Services at each of its four Park City-area chapels, which are located on Monitor Drive and in Kimball Junction, Jeremy Ranch and the Trailside area. The services will take place at 11 a.m. and like all LDS chapel services they are open to the public.
"They’ll be singing Christmas carols and there will just be a brief message from the bishop," said Karen Marriott, the spokesperson for the area LDS wards.
The services will last about an hour.
"Because it’s Christmas day, and we want people with their families, we’re giving people an opportunity to come to church together," said Marriott.
This year, Dec. 25 will also mark the beginning of Hanukkah. Temple Har Shalom will cap off Park City’s celebrations and mark that eight-day-long holiday on Dec. 29 with a party at The Yarrow Resort Hotel. That event is open to the public and includes a buffet dinner, cash bar, youth entertainment and dancing.
From there, Park City will make its move toward New Year’s and the accompanying revelry, which will likely be just as busy if not busier than the Christmas weekend. So the ski resort holidays go.
Information about events at the respective ski resorts is available at their Web-sites: http://www.parkcitymountain.com, http://www.deervalley.com and http://www.thecanyons.com. For information about the LDS Christmas Musical Service, call 901-4172. Tickets to the Temple Har Shalom Hanukkah party are $25 for adults and $12 for youth ages 6-12; children five and under are free. To purchase them or for more information, call 649-2297.
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