New Year's Eve a big to-do

Ski area plans parties abound for adults, children

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— Few places ring in the New Year like the Steamboat Ski Area.

Although the ski season officially began Nov. 22, the traditional New Year's Eve torchlight parade and fireworks display provide a formal kickoff to the more than three months of skiing remaining in the 2006-07 season in Steamboat.

"This season, the resort is off to a great start with the debut of more than $7 million in remarkable guest enhancements, including the Sunshine Express high-speed quad chair, $1 million in food court renovations and snowmaking/grooming upgrades," said Chris Diamond, president of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.

The torchlight parade, which features members of the ski area's Ski and Snowboard School, begins at 7 p.m. and includes a fireworks display. The best viewing area for the free event is in Gondola Square.

This year, the Steamboat Ski Area's food and beverage department has an acoustic evening planned with musician Becky Alter. The cost is $45 a person and includes a gondola ride to the Stoker Bar, an appetizer buffet and live entertainment. At midnight, guests can walk upstairs to the Champagne Powder Room on the third floor of the Thunderhead building for a champagne toast and celebration.

Doors open at 8 p.m.

While partygoers leave 2006 behind atop the Steamboat Ski Area, there also are several events planned at the base area.

The Bear River Bar and Grill is hosting a New Year's Eve party featuring the local band In-Co-Nito, which plays original and cover songs in rock, blues, reggae and jam band styles. The cost is $30, which includes two drinks, a champagne toast and a midnight buffet.

"We like to start ringing in the New Year with music to kick off all our January music fests," said Heidi Thomsen, a spokeswoman for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.

The Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel will welcome country rock bank Banks & Shane for its New Year's Eve party, which starts at 9:30 p.m.

For more information on the party at Stoker Bar or at the Bear River Bar and Grill, call 871-5150 for reservations or more information.

For information or tickets for the party at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel, call 879-0740 or visit www.steamboat.com/concerts.

For children who want to have their own New Year's Eve party while their parents are out celebrating, the ski area's Kids Vacation Center is offering the chance to celebrate the holiday in style.

Entitled "Kids Night Out," the Sunday festivities start at 6 p.m. and last until 12:30 a.m. Monday. In addition to the normal camp environment with supervised snacks, games, movies and rest time, children can ride the gondola, watch the torchlight parade and fireworks and participate in such activities as tubing and making pottery.

Reservations are required by 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Call 871-5375.

Walk-in guests will be accommodated if space is available. Dinner and snacks will be served.

The cost is $65 a child, and the program is for children ages five to 12. Young teens also can register.

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