California Launches Winter Offerings

The Golden State has announced its various new attractions and openings for this winter for visitors to add to their next trip itinerary.

This month, ski resorts open statewide with new developments and programs for skiers and riders. Besides on-mountain fun, California is home to snow tubing, ice skating, snowshoeing and more outdoor-adventure activities from now through spring from Big Bear, Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Mountain, Mt. Shasta, and Yosemite. Activities include: snowshoe through Lassen Volcanic National Park, swim or ski in Tahoe, climb Mt. Shasta’s Avalanche Gulch, or take a post-holiday breather at one of the state’s newest accommodations.

Top winter sporting events coming to California in 2012 to 2013 include: the US Freestyle Nationals from March 29 to 31, 2013 and also in the winter of 2014; 2013 US National Alpine Championships on March 17 to 23, 2013; and the Swatch Freeride World Tour on February 27, 2013. Guests will also be able to enjoy real ice skating for the first time at the Alex Madonna Expo Center as part of the annual Winter Wonderland San Luis Obispo celebration. The rink is open every day, including holidays.

Ahwahnee has announced the 86th Annual Holiday Bracebridge Dinner, a four-hour show in the Great Hall of the hotel, featuring a new seven-course banquet menu this winter. Dinners take place from December 13 to 25.

Rancho Las Palmas has completed a $5 million renovation, where there was an upgrade in the meeting and convention space, including the addition of an all-new executive meeting area. The renovation also includes redesigned suites, revitalized spa and expanded fitness center, a revamped plaza with outdoor seating and fire pits, a new look for the popular “R Bar” and a larger lobby.

Land Trust is to open 3,000 acres of Donner Summit for the first time in decades. The Trust for Public Land and Truckee Donner Land Trust have reached an agreement to purchase the land at 7,230 feet of elevation on Donner Summit and build trails throughout the property. This includes the Van Norden Meadow and Royal Gorge ski area, the largest cross-country ski area in North America.

Meanwhile, Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort is offering three new programs for the 2012 to 2013 season. The Burton Star Wars Experience uses the film’s theme to help children learn snowboarding at Yoda's Riglet Park in the Wild Mountain Children's Center. The resort’s Huckleberry Cat Tours offer access to raw, backcountry terrain for skilled skiers and riders for cliff drops, cornice drops, rock chutes, open bowls, gladed runs and powder pillows. The “Ski, Stay, and Soar: Experience Lake Tahoe Like Never Before” overnight hotel package takes guests from gladed tree runs to the skies with Reno Tahoe Helicopter tours.


Other offerings include: Squaw Valley’s lift improvements, combined with Squaw’s new $2.6 million snowmaking and grooming initiative, expected to provide travel and flow for skiers and riders this season; and Alpine Meadows’s new snowmaking upgrades to create better surface conditions for the early season.

Meanwhile, Big Bear Lake has launched a new “Kids. Get Outdoors. Win.” initiative to promote healthy habits and combat childhood obesity. The program introduces kids to activities such as skiing, snowboarding, inner tubing, snowshoeing and animal tracking. The grand prize is an all-inclusive trip to a Big Bear Lake Resort.

Loews Hollywood Hotel has opened to offer guests views of the Hollywood Hills and LA. The hotel features 632 guestrooms, 113 suites and more than 120,000 square feet of event space. It also is pet-friendly and includes a 3,500-square-foot Panorama Suite, rooftop pool terrace and Spa Luce.

The Inn at Schoolhouse Creek, the oldest inn on the Mendocino coast, has undergone a major remodel. The entire property has been upgraded to a contemporary boutique inn. Highlighted improvements include a new sun deck with a fire pit to complement the view and the new Creekside Breakfast Restaurant.

Anaheim Convention Center has been expanding its outdoor and special event space to create a 100,000-square-foot multifunctional Grand Plaza. The project will be completed in January 2013. The new pedestrian plaza will feature landscaping, walkways, water features and fountains, and special lighting. The expansion also includes street improvements and a dedicated transportation plaza with shuttle pick-up/drop-off areas, as well as space for outdoor exhibits and functions.

After a $30 million property-wide transformation, Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa has re-opened. The guestroom villas, event spaces, spa and restaurant underwent significant improvements. The resort is rolling out a variety of new programming, including yoga and exercise physiology sessions, group tennis lessons, wine and tequila tastings and croquet and cocktails.

San Francisco’s new, science-themed walking tour company, Discovery Street Tours, is offering a special holiday outing that explores wintertime light phenomena. The two-mile tour will run three nights a week.

The 59-room Napa Winery Inn is Napa Valley’s newest boutique hotel. The $1 million project has developed an entirely new hotel design, plus newly upgraded meeting and event space, all within easy access to Napa Valley wineries, restaurants and attractions.

For 2013, a selection of ski and stay packages include: Mammoth Mountain ‘Lift + Lodging Packages’; Heavenly Resort’s three-day peak performance academy; Snow Summit and Bear Mountain Resort’s “Kids Ski Free Midweek Package”; and Squaw Valley “4-3-2-1 Package”.