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Michael Franti plays a free concert on Friday (Dec. 9) as part of Vail Snow Daze, the biggest ski season kick-off party in North America.

It’s here! (The ski season, that is.) And with December upon us, Vail and Beaver Creek opening terrain at a rapid clip, more snow in the forecast and the holidays just around the corner, it’s about to get crazy.

Given that this week is when we really start to rock and roll (literally, with Vail Snow Daze opening this weekend), kick your December off with a free half hour of guided meditation to focus and center yourself for adventures ahead. Hosted by Edwards-based Dogma Athletica on Wednesday (Dec. 7), it’s a calming moment in what is sure to be a crazy month. Free. Dec. 9, 7-7:30 p.m., Dogma Athletica, 137 Main St. Unit G-001, (Riverwalk) Edwards.

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Escape from the crowds and get close to nature with a Thursday (Dec. 8) guided backcountry snowshoe tour organized by Walking Mountains Science Center.

You’ll also be able to snatch a few moments of tranquility on Thursday (Dec. 8), via a guided backcountry snowshoe hike organized by the folks at the Walking Mountains Science Center. Ideal for locals or visitors who don’t ski or who want a break from the lift lines, this leisurely half-day outing in the White River National Forest is led by a certified guide who educates participants on local fauna and flora as the group travels through the silence of the winter forests. While snowshoes are provided, you’ll need to have some winter boots and clothing to ensure you’re ready for the day. Bring some snacks, too, because nothing tastes better than some chocolate or a granola bar when you've been tromping through the snowy woods. $45. Dec. 8, 9 a.m., Walking Mountains Science Center, 318 Walking Mountains Lane, Avon.

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Lettuce headlines a free Saturday (Dec. 10) show at the Solaris as part of the season kick-off party known as Vail Snow Daze. 

Not into the tranquility of the woods in winter? That’s OK, because Vail Snow Daze rolls into town on Friday (Dec. 9) with an action-packed three days of concerts, après ski parties and gear demos. The event village is at the base of Vail Mountain, with free outdoor concerts happening at the Solaris. And this year’s lineup packs a punch, with Michael Franti of Spearhead headlining Friday’s gig, followed by Lettuce on Saturday. On Sunday chill out at one of many après or after dark parties. Free. Expo Village runs from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., at the base of Gondola One; concert doors open at 5:30 p.m. (shows start at 6 p.m.) at the Solaris, 141 East Meadow Drive, Vail Village.

If rock and roll isn’t your thing, that’s fine, too, as the Vilar Center For the Performing Arts hosts Friday and Saturday (Dec. 9 & 10) performances of Peter Pan, The Ballet presented by Vail Friends of the Dance and featuring featuring 80 students from Vail Valley Academy of Dance. Guaranteed to delight and inspire, the evening’s performance of this timeless story is not to be missed. $35. Dec. 9, 7 p.m.; Dec. 10, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m., Vilar Center for the Performing Arts, 68 Avondale Ln., Beaver Creek.

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If you stop by the Christmas market in Vail Village on Sunday (Dec. 11) you might get lucky and see this guy.

Finally, wrap up the week with some Christmas shopping on Sunday at the Vail Kris Kringle Market. This traditional holiday bazaar is the perfect place to find a unique gift or souvenir, with handmade toys, ornaments and decorations, cookies, chocolate treats, roasted nuts and other creations by local artisans complemented by live music, authentic food, and the true spirit of the holiday season.  Free. 11 a.m – 3:30 p.m., Willow Bridge Rd., Vail Village.

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