Reason to celebrate | SteamboatToday.com

Reason to celebrate

Ski area toasts new year with variety of activities

Melinda Mawdsley

The Steamboat Ski Area will light up tonight with the traditional torchlight parade and fireworks show to celebrate the New Year.

— Chris Diamond looks back fondly on 2006, but said he is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for the Steamboat Ski Area in 2007.

As president of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., Diamond has been busy this past year – enjoying the spectacular snow of last winter and dealing with the proposed $265 million sale of the ski area.

“Last season was truly an epic Steamboat winter,” Diamond said Thursday. “More than 400 inches of Champagne powder blanketed the slopes, which added up to more days than I could count skiing in waist-deep snow. Here’s hoping that 2007 provides as many powder days.”

Anyone looking to toast to Diamond’s wishes and the New Year can turn to the Steamboat Ski Area tonight.

The traditional New Year’s Eve torchlight parade and fireworks display, which start at 7 p.m., provide a formal kickoff to the more than three months of skiing ahead in Steamboat. Both events take place at the ski mountain. The best viewing area for the fireworks and torchlight parade is in Gondola Square at the base of the Headwall ski trail.

The Bear River Bar and Grill, also in Gondola Square, is hosting a New Year’s Eve party featuring local band In-Cog-Nito, which plays original and cover songs in a variety of genres. The cost is $30, which includes two drinks, a champagne toast and a midnight buffet. Doors open at 10 p.m.

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The Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel, located a short walk from Gondola Square at 2300 Mount Werner Circle, will welcome country rock bank Banks & Shane for its New Year’s Eve Party, which starts at 9:30 p.m. For information or tickets for the party, call 879-0740 or visit http://www.steamboat.com/concerts.

Also tonight, the Steamboat Ski Area’s Food and Beverage department has an acoustic evening planned at the Stoker Bar atop Thunderhead, where Becky Alter will perform.

“This year, the opportunity came up to do an acoustic show up there,” said Heidi Thomsen, public relations manager for Ski Corp. “Music is such a big part of the community here. It should be a great fit up there – great acoustic music, great views, great way to ring in the New Year.”

The cost to attend the acoustic evening is $45 a person, which includes a Gondola ride to the Stoker Bar and a buffet with heavy appetizers such as egg rolls, vegetable crudites, hot wings and cheese and crackers.

At midnight, guests can head upstairs to the Champagne Powder Room on the third floor of the Thunderhead building for a champagne toast and celebration. Doors to the Alter show open at 8 p.m.

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

For parents looking for a New Year’s Eve activity for their children, the ski area’s Kids Vacation Center is offering a chance for youths 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. 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. today by calling 871-5375.

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

The cost is $65 a child.

– To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

New Year’s bus service

In addition to the locals who plan on enjoying New Year’s Eve in Steamboat Springs, more than 14,300 visitors are expected to stay in town this weekend.

Steamboat Springs Transit officials say the city’s free bus service is prepared to accommodate the influx of passengers tonight. Eighteen buses are available, and George Krawzoff, the city’s transportation director, said his staff will offer enhanced late-night service because of likely demand.

The free bus service typically ends at about 2 a.m. both downtown and in Ski Time Square.