Saturday, December 31, 2016

5 Fun Ways to Celebrate the New Year in Aspen (without the hangover)

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New Year's Eve Fireworks
New Year’s Day is approaching quickly, and as always, Aspen is ready to celebrate!

Of course, holiday activities in this little “party town” ski resort abound. And as you might guess, many of them revolve around New Year’s Eve nighttime revelry and libatious good times. Many locals and visitors spend New Year’s day nursing anything from a mild, dehydrated headache to a vicious, full-blown hangover, perhaps emerging only late in the day into the bright, burning sunshine of the new year.

There are, however, many non-drinking related events and activities to enjoy during the holiday as well. If you are more into starting the new year doing something refreshing rather than just sleeping it off, here are 5 fun ideas to get you started:

1.    Get outside

On New Year’s Eve day, take a walk on the wild (bird) side with the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count, hosted by the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) -

On New Year’s Day, wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and take advantage of the abundant winter recreation activities the area offers. Be one of the first up the lift in the morning, and beat the crowd to all of that newly-fallen or newly-groomed snow. Or, if alpine skiing’s not your thing, break out the skinny skis and hit one of the awesomely prepared cross-country trails, courtesy of the Aspen Nordic Council -

 Cross-Country Skiers in Aspen

Rather not slide down a hill, but still want some fresh air, good exercise, and a great view? Take a midday hike on Smuggler Mountain or the Sunnyside trail just west of town.

2.    Get Centered

Attend the workshop, “The Heart of Centering Prayer”, with Cynthia Bourgeault at the Aspen Chapel. Learn about the Centering Prayer and how this demonstrates “a pioneering development within the Christian contemplative tradition”, and is a “path to a wonderful and radical new way of seeing the world.” ( )

There is a suggested donation of $65 for this workshop.

Follow this bit of new year serenity with the Aspen Chapel 2017 Sankalpa Ritual hosted by Aspen Shakti -

“The New Year is a potent time to reflect and direct ourselves closer toward to what we want to experience and achieve in life.  Too often we've seen a New Year's resolution formed as little more than a wish.

Intention setting as inspired from the yoga tradition starts from the radical premise that you already are who you need to be to live life as your most soulfully centered and radiant self. All you need to do is focus your mind, connect to your most heartfelt desires, and channel the divine energy within.”

3.    Check out the Arts

Be inspired by the totemic wall sculpture works of Adele Seltzer at an art exhibit at the Andi-Le Aspen Gallery. Informed by an interest in archeology and nature, Adele has created these works from stone, recycled metals, and a variety of other found materials.

This exhibit is free and open to the public:

4.    Be entertained

Take in a film or two courtesy of the Winter Film Series with Jon Busch, held at the Pitkin County Library Cinema.

New Year’s Eve - “Sun Valley Serenade”:  In order to support the World War II effort, the Glen Miller Band takes in an orphan child who turns out to be none other than the three-time Norwegian Olympic skating champion, Sonja Henie.

-    $8 per person
-    For more information, call 970.429.1900 or visit

New Year’s Day - Aspen film Academy Screening at the Wheeler Opera House: “Gold”. This film, starring Matthew McConaughey and inspired by real events, tells the epic tale of “…one man’s pursuit of the American dream and everything he’ll do to keep it from falling apart.”

5.    Be Wowed

Of course, the New Year’s Eve highlights for many are the fireworks show over Aspen Mountain, the accompanying torchlight parade down Little Nell, and a free Bonfire and DJ held downtown at Wagner Park.

The events run from 8:00 pm to Midnight, December 31, 2016.

Not to be outdone, Snowmass now has its own New Year’s Eve fireworks and torchlight parade. Visit for details.


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