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Fourth of July in the Mountains

Fourth of July in the Mountains

From Tahoe to Stowe, resorts celebrate with a bang.
By Connor Davis
posted: 07/01/2012
Squaw Valley's Fireworks Extravaganza
Photo by Court Leve

There's no doubt that ski resorts host some of the best holiday celebrations. Christmas, New years, and St. Patrick's Day memories tend to trace back to the mountains. But the fun doesn’t melt away with the snow. In fact, the Fourth of July is one of the best holidays to celebrate among the purple mountains’ majesty. As we salute America's independence, let's recognize there's no better place to celebrate our freedom than the mountains we love to explore. Check out these resorts that host more than a pancake breakfast and parade to help make the season bright.

 

HEAVENLY/ LAKE TAHOE

Officially coined "Red, White and Tahoe Blue", Heavenly's Fourth of July has more to offer than your average backyard bonanza. The community gathers in the morning at Incline Beach for the Optimist Club carnival and barbeque. After food and games, there’s a veterans tribute followed by a National Guard air show, which features an MC-130 helicopter demonstration of a training mission, complete with parachute jumpers. The air show is followed by the Fourth of July Freedom Concert, also hosted by the Optimist Club.

Because the Lake Tahoe region goes above and beyond the traditional sparklers and firecrackers, the American Pyrotechnics Association deemed the area’s fireworks display among the best in the nation. Its shows are also recognized by USA Today, Travel & Leisure, and Forbes Traveler. Over 100,000 spectators gather to watch the lights over the lake, all done from barges on the water. The barges are usually rented, but this year Tahoe locals collectively chipped in to purchase their own. Now that’s patriotic.

PARK CITY

If you don’t have plans for the Fourth yet, follow Park City Resort’s schedule. Open to both kids and adults, the day commences with the Cole Sport 5k Fun Run followed by, a barbeque, live music, and rugby games in City Park. Shortly after, the parade begins, featuring more than 70 floats that celebrate Park City's history. An Air Force fly-over will conclude the parade, and then it’s back to City Park for more live music, games and a lush beer garden.

After the sun sets, lay out your blanket at the base of Park City Resort for fireworks.

JACKSON HOLE

In a town that thrives upon tradition, holidays like the Fourth of July are extra important. Jackson, Wyoming, is one of those towns, and as usual, they have plans to prove it.

Following the annual Howdy Pardners Parade through downtown, the community gathers at Alpine Field for Music In The Hole by the Grand Teton Music Festival. The event is free but has also been a huge success as a fundraiser in the past. Friends and family come here to grab a nice patch of lawn and listen to the sounds and songs of independence.

Staying true to its antiquity, Jackson continues its tradition of the Town Square Shootout. This reenactment is the longest continuously running shootout in the country, a title they are rightfully proud of. 

The Jackson Hole Rodeo is another favorite., Many attend the century-old rodeo before concluding the day with America’s favorite Fourth of July activity, fireworks.

STEAMBOAT

Because of extremely high fire risk, Steamboat is canceling its fireworks celebration but not to worry, the town’s unconventional celebration makes up for it.

The day kicks off with a cross-country roller ski race, followed by the 20th Annual Steamboat Sprint running series. Then a parade hits the streets, featuring traditional and local themed floats that lead up to the main event: The Pioneer Block Party. 

The party includes kids’ games, free live music, free food, and free admission to the Tread of Pioneers Museum. After the free concessions are consumed, which undoubtedly won’t take long, the Independence Day Ski Jumping Extravaganza and Nordic Combined begins. Athletes roller ski through the streets for the first leg, then soar off a plastic jump at Howelson Hill to complete the second leg. Some participants are U.S. Olympians, making this an even more unique exhibition.

Steamboat tops off its celebration with the Pro Rodeo Series at Romnick Arena, and more free music at the Howelson Hill Amphitheater. With so many activities, you won’t miss the fireworks.

BIG SKY

It looks like Big Sky doesn’t want their guests to have a minute of downtime over the Fourth, as their agenda is jam-packed: an open golf tournament, 10-mile mountain bike race, 10-mile trail run, 5k run/walk, fly casting clinics, kids tennis, tournament, skate park jam, three-on-three basketball tournament, disc golf, home run derby and an all-star softball game. 

ASPEN/ SNOWMASS

Understandably, Aspen is canceling their firework show due to fire bans. Rumors of replacing the fireworks with a light show and street dancing are surfacing, but we haven’t received confirmation yet. Don’t let the speculation deter you from the confirmed fun filled schedule. 

Aspen will get the ball rolling with the Boogies Diner Buddy 5-Mile Charity Run/Walk Race.  Kids and canines are welcome. 

The 12th Annual America's Birthday Carnival offers a barbeque, bake sale, silent auction and bicycle painting for kids who wish to ride in the town’s parade. 

Following the parade is the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club's Annual Fourth of July Picnic. Load up with more barbeque, live music, kids’ games and beer garden. The Aspen Music Festival Band then takes the stage at the Aspen Art Museum playing patriotic classics at their own picnic.

CRESTED BUTTE

Crested Butte is another town known for its local pride which, unsurprisingly, parallels its national patriotism. The day commences with a parade, followed by live music in town. Two- to three-year-olds then strap up for the Strider Cup, a pedal-free bike race that’s always a crowd pleaser. 

The momentum continues with a sawdust coin hunt, hot-dog-eating contest, and pie-eating contest. Try not to stand too close to the participants—the dogs and pies may attempt an encore

Hours of live music highlight the afternoon in Crested Butte, leading up to a fireworks display on the mountain. As of right now the fireworks are still a go, but with the recent extremity of Colorado's fires, nothing is certain.

STOWE

Stowe is coming in hot with its Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration.

After the Moscow Parade, gather for the Old-Fashioned Village Festival where you’ll find street performers, musicians, face painters and caricature artists. Other events include a dunking booth for local dignitaries, "The World's Shortest Marathon", a co-ed softball tournament, a four-on-four soccerfest, free fly-casting clinics and kids’ carnival games. Keeping true to the old-fashion theme, Stowe will feature activities such as pedestal jousting, hay-rides and antique truck viewing, also known as "Touch a Truck."

Also check out Seven Miles of Sales, Stowe’s version of a giant ski-garage sale along Stowe Mountain Road. Food until dark leads to a fireworks display at Mayo Farms, a great final scene to an East Coast extravaganza. 

KILLINGTON

Another option for New Englanders is Killington’s Fourth of July celebration.

True to its simplistic Vermont style, the town’s celebrations will all take place in the same area – the Johnson Recreation Center. Here, the Fireman’s barbeque, a daylong pool party, makes a splash with its cannonball and belly flop competition. Outside the pool, lawn games such as water balloon tosses and potato sack races will keep the kids occupied until the day ends with a fireworks display on River Road.

Whether it’s to salute Lady Liberty or kick back with the family, head to your local ski resort to celebrate the wonderful country that we’re fortunate enough to live and shred in.

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