7 Reasons to Spend the Holidays in Grand County

A group of people in winter gear walk behind horses in the snow at C Lazy U Ranch.

Looking to create an unforgettable holiday experience for your family? Consider this: when you transport everybody to a real "winter wonderland" (and actually go "dashing through the snow" on a sleigh), your usual holiday moments will become indelible holiday memories.

Grand County is such a place. By mid-November, the snow begins to pile up on our mountains and valleys, creating a magical backdrop to this most festive time of year. In addition to several holiday-themed events, you can partake in an abundance of unique Rocky-Mountain pastimes:

1. Two Ski Resorts: Winter Park Resort and Granby Ranch

Around the country, mention the word "Thanksgiving" and many people will also think of football, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade or Black Friday sales. Up here, we simply think about powder. That's because Winter Park Resort opens a full week before Thanksgiving, giving many of us plenty of time to get back into a skiing rhythm in time for the holiday. After all, nothing burns off those Thanksgiving calories better than a day of turns on Black Friday. Additional good news: Ski Granby Ranch opens just one month later!

2. Tree Lighting Ceremonies

Once Thanksgiving passes and attention turns to Christmas, consider attending any of the community tree-lighting ceremonies throughout Grand County. Kremmling, Granby, Winter Park, Hot Sulphur Springs and Grand Lake all kick off their holiday season with a festive celebration of lighting the lights. If you want to get more up close and personal with your own Christmas tree, you can even spend a weekend selecting one and cutting it down to take home in the Sulphur Ranger District. Visit our full calendar to see details for this year's tree lighting ceremonies!

3. Cultural Holiday Activities & Events

Throughout the valley, several festivals to commemorate the season draw visitors in from around the country. The Rocky Mountain Repertory Theater and the historic Kaufman House each host special holiday-themed events, while the Grand Chorale Christmas Concert in Grand Lake attracts festive visitors from far and wide. You won't want to miss the festive Holiday Craft Fair either: with more than 20 vendor displays, you're sure to find that perfect, unique gift for someone on your list.

4. Holiday Shopping

With charming and unique shopping areas in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, Grand County offers an incredible holiday shopping experience. Grand Lake offers an authentic, historic boardwalk along Grand Avenue. Find novelties, gifts, sports equipment, clothing, jewelry, crafts, art and much more on this shopping trip!

For a change of scenery, try Granby's quiet main street: with shops selling everything from souveniers to handmade log furniture, you're sure to find something perfect for that special someone on your list.

Or head over to Fraser and shop around the extensive shops in the Fraser Valley Shopping Center. If you enjoy the busier shopping experience with plenty of holiday cheer, try shopping at Winter Park's resort village or at Cooper Creek Square. With the incredible selection, your most difficult decision will be whether to give your purchases as gifts or keep them for yourself!

5. Dog Sledding

If you really want to set the mood for this holiday season, bring your family to Grand County and schedule a guided dog sled adventure through our pristine forests. You'll go dashing through the snow — albeit, with Alaskan huskies instead of a one-horse open sleigh — and experience winter in the Rockies in an entirely different way.

6. Christmas at a Ski Resort

If you are looking to spend Christmas on a ski vacation, Winter Park Resort and Granby Ranch are spectacular places to be. In addition to some of Colorado's deepest snowpack each year — and an incredible 3,000 acres of skiable terrain — Winter Park Resort puts on an amazing spectacle each Christmas with a Torchlight Parade on Christmas Eve night. Watch a fleet of skiers make their way down the mountain, torches in hand, to cap off your Christmas celebration.

If you're interested in a lesser-known, but incredible ski vacation, visit Granby Ranch. Make sure to attend Granby Ranch's New Year's Eve Party, Torchlight Parade and fireworks event this year, and make it a new tradition!

7. Grand Fireworks Displays

No matter where you stay this new year in Grand County, Colorado, you won't want to miss the fireworks displays! Attend a glowstick parade and fireworks show at Granby Ranch or sit back and relax at Hideaway Park in Winter Park for a traditional fireworks show. Or watch the spectacular bursts over Grand Lake alongside history: go the the Kauffman House for a fireworks experience you won't soon forget. Visit our events calendar for more details on our fireworks events.