Santa rides into Steamboat for Holiday Festival on the mountain |

Santa rides into Steamboat for Holiday Festival on the mountain

Santa Claus, who will take centerstage at Sunday's Holiday Festival, rips it up on Cyclone at Steamboat Ski Area.
Larry Pierce

If you go:

What: Steamboat Holiday Festival

When: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18

Where: Steamboat Ski Area, 2305 Mount Werner Circle

— With nine chocolates remaining in advent calendars, Steamboat Ski Resort is throwing a festival to ramp up already-lofty local holiday spirit. The Holiday Festival begins at 2 p.m. Sunday and the celebration continues into the night.

It’s fitting that a Santa Claus native to Steamboat Springs would opt to go for a horseback ride down a mountain over lounging in his typical stagnant armchair. The Santa Parade on Horseback begins at Slopeside Grill at 2 p.m. and trots along to Gondola Square, where the rest of the festival will take place.

From 2 to 4 p.m., festival attendees can try their hand at cookie decorating — one of the most prized and important careers of all of Santa’s elves within the North Pole culinary arts department. And since a single round of dessert at a holiday festival is of course not nearly enough, cupcakes accompanied by Korbel champagne will also be available.

And from 2 to 5 p.m., the Stocking Scramble offers festival-goers a holiday version of trick-or-treating. A tent in Gondola Square provides stockings to be filled with free treats, gathered from participating mountain village shops and restaurants.

After his horseback adventure, Santa goes back to work in his workshop, but he won’t be too busy to say a cheerful hello to any and all visitors who stop by from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. His friendly, fuzzy reindeer will also be grazing nearby, stocking up on grassy energy and head pats before their next high-endurance flight. They’ll be eager to meet new human friends from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

From 2:30 to 4 p.m., the Boulder-based, internationally recognized acappella group Face will sing like Christmas angels — and, depending on the song, also like Pink Floyd, Linkin Park, Mumford and Sons, Simon and Garfunkel, Garth Brooks, Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson. Face is comprised of tenor Ryan Driver, countertenor Stephen Ross, bass Forest Kelly, tenor Cody Qualls and vocal percussionist Mark Megibow.

Likely to conveniently match the timing of festival-goers’ sugar crashes, a peaceful, restful Story Time on the Steamboat Stage is set for 4 to 4:30 p.m.

Then at 5:30 p.m., Steamboat’s signature Torchlight Parade and Fireworks will rally its crowd and light up the mountain.

Once the last firework has fizzled, trails open for night skiing to round out another December day in Steamboat.

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