Learn to Ski or Ride at Liftopia’s Top-Rated Beginner-Friendly Ski Areas

January 6, 2017
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Smugglers Notch, Vermont, came in #7 for Best Family resorts and #10 for Top Beginner Friendly in the Northeast on Liftopia’s Best in Snow Awards list © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, and Liftopia, which claims to be the largest online and mobile marketplace for lift tickets and other mountain activities, has compiled a list of the top beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas across North America that are ideal for those looking to learn one of winter’s signature sports.

This list is part of Liftopia’s Best in Snow Awards, honoring North America’s most beloved ski areas. The awards, unveiled last week, feature winners across five regions and seven categories (including Beginner-Friendly and Family-Friendly) that Liftopia customers said would be most useful in helping them make the most informed decisions when choosing where to ski or snowboard, regardless of ski area size. You can find the complete list of winners along with methodology here: https://bestinsnow.liftopia.com/#/.

Some highlights:

West Coast:  California has the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the West, including Tahoe Donner (first place in the family-friendly category), June, Boreal, Bear Valley, Snow Valley, Homewood, Donner Ski Ranch, Mammoth, Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows and Sierra-At-Tahoe. Anthony Lakes (OR) is the #1 beginner-friendly ski area in the region.

Northeast: Bretton Woods is the #1 beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski area in the region. In addition to Bretton Woods, New Hampshire has the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the Northeast, including King Pine, Cranmore, Black Mountain, Pats Peak, Ragged and Attitash.

High West: Utah is home to the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the High West, including Eagle Point (#1 Beginner-Friendly Ski Area), Sundance, Brighton, Powder, Alta, Solitude and Brian Head. In the Family Friendly category, Sipapu, NM came in #1 in the region.

Midwest: Michigan ski areas reign supreme in the Midwest, with the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas including Crystal Mountain (first place in both categories), Shanty Creek, Boyne Highlands, Caberfae, Nubs Nob and Boyne Mountain.

Southeast: West Virginia has the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the Southeast, with Canaan Valley the number one Beginner Friendly and Family Friendly Ski Area in the region. Other winners include Snowshoe, Timberline Four Seasons and Winterplace.

Liftopia operates the largest online and mobile marketplace and resort technology platform serving the ski and mountain activity industry. Skiers and riders can purchase lift tickets, equipment rentals, meal vouchers and more from more than 250 ski areas in North America on Liftopia.com and via the Liftopia mobile app, with savings of up to 85% off walk-up window rates when purchased in advance. Founded in 2005, Liftopia is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by leading institutional and angel investors. Visit the Liftopia blog or follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.

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Magic Mountain, Crystal Mountain, Mad River Glen Get Top Spots in Liftopia’s First-Ever ‘Best in Snow’ Awards

January 6, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO– Liftopia, the largest online and mobile marketplace for lift tickets and other mountain activities, unveiled its first-ever 2016-17 Best in Snow Awards honoring the most beloved ski areas in North America. Unlike other awards, the 2016-17 Best in Snow Awards, is the only ranking that incorporates the largest dataset in the industry combined with feedback from thousands of skiers and snowboarders to determine ski areas they are most passionate about in North America.

The 2016-17 Best in Snow Awards, Powered By Liftopia, features winners across seven categories that Liftopia customers identified as most useful for choosing where to ski or snowboard, regardless of ski area size. These categories include Beginner-Friendly, Most Challenging, Family-Friendly, Best Snow Consistency and Quality, Least Crowded, and Best Value in addition to overall Best in Snow. Winners were compiled in five different regions: Northeast, West Coast, High West, Southeast and Midwest.

Magic Mountain in Vermont took the top spot as Overall Best in Snow winner in North America, with customers saying it’s “the best kept secret in the Northeast” and “a true skier’s mountain” that is “steeped in tradition” and “never overcrowded” with “awesome terrain,” “challenging runs,” and “the best staff in the business.” Crystal Mountain in Michigan, coming in second, received raves for their “great atmosphere,” “lifts and runs are fun and varied,” “people are very friendly” and “they’re always doing improvements at the resort.” Liftopia customers love the terrain at third place Mad River Glen in Vermont, saying “Nothing compares to the challenge of Northeast skiing and Mad River Glen. It is simply the best if you are up for it.”

The remaining Overall Best in Snow winners include Alta, Utah (#4); Jay Peak, Vt. (#5); Bretton Woods, N.H. (#6); Wildcat Mountain, N.H. (#7); Powder Mountain, Utah (#8); Snowbird, Utah (#9); and Sugarloaf, Maine (#10). Bretton Woods and Crystal Mountain took top spots as Beginner- and Family-Friendly Ski Areas as well as Ski Areas With the Best Snow Consistency and Quality in their respective regions (Northeast and Midwest); Magic Mountain is the Most Challenging Ski Area in the Northeast; Alta has the Best Snow Consistency and Quality in the High West; and Powder Mountain offers the Best Value in the High West.

“For years people have told us they wanted a ranking system that wasn’t based simply on which resorts were the biggest or relied on a handful of ‘expert’ opinions or advertising dollars. They want to find their next favorite ski area and to know which resorts are most beloved by other skiers and boarders,” said Evan Reece, co-founder and CEO of Liftopia. “We crafted the Best in Snow Awards with details from a consumer survey and combined the results with our proprietary data to uncover the ski areas people love most. We are excited that the findings show what we already believed to be true: consumers do have amazing passion for ski areas of all sizes.”

Methodology

To compile the 2016-17 Best in Snow Awards, Liftopia surveyed their customers to measure their enthusiasm on specific aspects of their favorite resorts such as family friendliness, challenging terrain, crowds, and snow consistency and quality. Respondents took into consideration criteria such as snow quality and conditions, grooming, accessibility, terrain variety and difficulty, vertical drop, learn to ski and snowboard programs, staff and instructors, resort size, crowds and lift lines, accessibility of lifts and beginner terrain, off-slope activities, the surrounding community, and cost of lift tickets, rentals and programs, among others. More than 10,000 responses were then weighted with a proprietary algorithm based on Liftopia’s exclusive dataset that includes skier and snowboarder visits annually, acreage, uphill capacity and average true cost of skiing to surface the best ski areas overall, across seven categories and five regions, based on what matters most to skiers and snowboarders.

Winners for the Overall Best in Snow, Beginner Friendly Ski Areas, Most Challenging Ski Areas, Family Friendly Ski Areas and Ski Areas with the Best Snow Consistency and Quality categories were determined by the total number of votes from survey participants for their favorite resorts in each category, normalized by skier and snowboarder visits annually. Winners for the Least Crowded Ski Areas category were determined by total number of skier and snowboarder visits annually divided by skiable acreage as well as participant feedback and votes on the least crowded ski area. Winners for the Ski Areas with the Best Value category were determined by total number of votes for ski area with the best value, normalized by skier and snowboarder visits annually and the average true cost of skiing based on effective ticket prices per resort, including ticket window, advance purchase and season pass data.

Complete List of 2016-17 Best in Snow Awards, Powered By Liftopia: The winning ski areas in each category and region can be found by visiting http://bestinsnow.liftopia.com/

About Liftopia

Liftopia operates the largest online and mobile marketplace and resort technology platform serving the ski and mountain activity industry. Skiers and riders can purchase lift tickets, equipment rentals, meal vouchers and more from more than 250 ski areas in North America on Liftopia.com and via the Liftopia mobile app, with savings of up to 85% off walk-up window rates when purchased in advance. Founded in 2005, Liftopia is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by leading institutional and angel investors. Visit the Liftopia blog or follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.

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Ski Vermont’s Specialty Food Days Tour Returns to the Mountains for 2017

December 31, 2016
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Ski Vermont’s Specialty Food Tour comes to Okemo Mountain Resort on Friday, February 24, 2017. At Okemo, ride to the mountain top in comfort of the bubble chair © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

From Vermont’s highly recognizable brands like Cabot Cheese, Ben & Jerry’s and Vermont maple syrup to local goodies like Kimball Brook Farm chocolate milk and Gringo Jack’s chips and salsa, enjoy all the flavors of Vermont during the Ski Vermont 2017 Specialty Food Day Tour. This season Ski Vermont’s marketing partners Long Trail Brewery, Woodchuck Cider, Silo Vodka, Mad River Distillers and Caledonia Spirits will bring an added element to the tour with beer, cider and spirits tasting.

“The Specialty Food Days Tour is such an exciting program to oversee,” said Adam Rowe, Marketing Manager at Ski Vermont. “We have some great new spirit sponsors lined up for the 2016-17 season, and some of the best local food producers in Vermont. I can’t wait to watch the skiers and riders enjoy this year’s offerings and tell others about it online through our #SnackSkiVT contest.”

Specialty Food Days for 2017 are scheduled for:

  • Saturday, January 14, 2017: Quechee Ski Area
  • Friday, January 27, 2017: Jay Peak Resort
  • Saturday, January 28, 2017: Burke Mountain Resort
  • Tuesday, January 31, 2017: Mad River Glen
  • Saturday, February 11, 2017: Bromley Mountain
  • Saturday, February 18, 2017: Middlebury College Snow Bowl
  • Tuesday, February 21, 2017: Smugglers’ Notch Resort
  • Friday, February 24, 2017: Okemo Mountain Resort
  • Saturday, March 4, 2017: Pico Mountain
  • Sunday, March 5, 2017: Magic Mountain
  • Saturday, March 11, 2017: Killington Resort
  • Saturday, March 18, 2017: Sugarbush Resort
  • Sunday, March 19, 2017: Bolton Valley
  • Saturday, March 25, 2017: Stratton Mountain Resort
  • Saturday, April 8, 2017: Stowe Mountain Resort

Skiers and riders can participate in a contest this year during Ski Vermont’s Specialty Food Day tour. Samplers will be encouraged to take photos of their food and beverage experiences and tag them #SnackSkiVT on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Ski Vermont will choose one winner at the end of the season and send them a prize bag full of swag from Ski Vermont partners and two lift tickets for the 2017-18 season.

Returning Vermont food vendors include: Cabot Cheese, Vermont maple syrup makers, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Kimball Brook Farms chocolate milk, Gringo Jack’s chips and salsa, Karen’s Artisan Popcorn, It’s Arthur’s Fault sauces, and Ambrosia Confections. New vendors include Vermont Peanut Butter Company, Caledonia Spirits, Mad River Distillers and Silo Vodka. 

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Ski Vermont Welcomes 2017 with New Ways to Hit the Slopes, Save and Win Big

December 31, 2016
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Skiing at Pico Mountain Resort, Vermont. Vermont ski resorts are welcoming 2017 with a host of special programs and events © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Montpelier, VT – Ski Vermont pairs with partners in Vermont and across the country to provide great programs and incentives to get on the slopes this season. Long time skiers and riders, as well as those looking to learn a snowsport for the first time can win great prizes like lift tickets to Vermont resorts, skis from Rossignol and snowboards from Burton, among many other prizes this season.

Longtime participants in the national Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month initiative, Vermont resorts offer $49 beginner packages during the month of January. Ski Vermont also offers the Take 3 Pass this season, which includes 3 beginner lessons for just $129. Ten participants in this program are eligible to receive a pair of Rossignol skis or a Burton snowboard at the end of the season.

Ski Vermont aims to reward already established Vermont-loving skiers and snowboarders this season with the new Bring-a-Friend program and the 2016-17 Season Scavenger Hunt. For those that want to introduce a friend or family member to skiing or snowboarding, they simply need to refer them (or gift them) a Ski Vermont Take 3 Pass and help get them to the slopes and into their first lesson. The first 100 participants will receive 2 lift tickets to a resort in Vermont.

Social-savvy skiers and riders can participate in the inaugural Ski Vermont Scavenger Hunt this season. Each week, starting on Thursday, December 29th, Ski Vermont will announce the resort, product and prize of the week on Instagram and Facebook. Participants post photos of the resorts and/or product that week to be entered to win prizes from Ski Vermont partners like Darn Tough socks, Skida headwear, Vermont maple syrup and more. Two lucky participants will walk away with a Burton Process Flying V snowboard or a pair of Rossignol Soul 7 HD skis at the close of the season.

“We are extremely excited to launch new initiatives for both beginners and established skiers and riders this season,” said Ski Vermont’s Director of Marketing and Communications Sarah Wojcik. “With great incentives provided by our partners and Vermont resorts, Ski Vermont aims to reward those visiting our Green Mountains and reveling in the state’s official winter sports – whether for the first time or hundredth.”

For the 17th year in a row, Ski Vermont is offering the Fifth Grade Passport, allowing fifth graders to ski virtually for free up to 88 days at Vermont alpine and Nordic resorts. For more information on Ski Vermont’s programs and incentives to slide, visit skivermont.com.

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North America’s Highest Chairlift Opens at Breckenridge; Book by Jan. 1 for 25% Savings on Lodging

December 31, 2016
Breckenridge Resort

Breckenridge Resort © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo.Thanks to the more than six feet of snow that has fallen on Breckenridge Ski Resort throughout December, Breckenridge is excited to announce the opening of Imperial Express SuperChair, the highest chairlift in North America. Imperial Express SuperChair gives skiers and snowboarders access to some of Breck’s famous above tree line terrain in Imperial Bowl.

The Imperial Express SuperChair tops out at 12,840 feet after a quick 2.7 minute ride to the top of Imperial Bowl. The chairlift offers easy access to three high-alpine bowls and hike-to access to the renowned Lake Chutes, Snow White, Whale’s Tail and Peak 7 Bowl areas, once those areas open.

Breckenridge Ski Resort expects all of its five peaks to be open by Friday, Dec. 23 just in time for holiday skiers and snowboarders. More than 70 inches of snow has fallen in December, total month-to-date snowfall to 183 percent of average – favorably above average. Breckenridge is also at more than 100 percent of average snowfall season-to-date with more than eight feet of snow so far this season.

Watch Breckenridge’s live snow stake cam to see the snow pile up throughout the season or visit Breckenridge.com for the latest terrain updates, snow reports and more.

Breckenridge Ski Resort requires all skiers and riders to observe all posted signs and warnings. Closed trails may contain hazards due to limited natural snow coverage and snowmaking operations. Please keep off closed trails and out of closed areas for safety reasons.

Book by Sunday, Jan. 1 and Save up to 25 Percent on Lodging
Ski season is here and it’s time to lock in a Breck vacation with the beautiful white snow and sunny days Colorado is best known for and save up to 25 percent on lodging. Choose from an in-town condo, a slopeside retreat or anything in between. Book now at www.BreckResorts.com.

Purchase Lift Tickets In Advance to Save the Most
Skiers and snowboarders looking for the best prices on lift tickets can use their smartphone or computer to purchase tickets online in advance at www.snow.com/lifttickets. By purchasing lift tickets seven or more days in advance online, guests will receive the biggest savings – up to 25 percent – and the lowest price, guaranteed. Advance purchase tickets can be sent directly to a guest’s mailbox, allowing them to bypass the ticket window. Or guests can easily pick up their tickets at the resorts’ Epic Day Express windows. Once a guest has a hard card ticket, they can even load more days onto the card by purchasing additional days online. Guests can also save by booking ski school lessons online in advance at www.snow.com/skischool.

Stay Connected
Visit Breckenridge.com for terrain updates, snow reports, lodging deals, event details and the lowest priced lift tickets guaranteed. Stay connected all year long at Facebook.com/Breckenridge and follow @Breckenridgemtn on Instagram and Twitter.

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Kennebunkport Resort Collection Rings in the New Year With 20% Savings

December 31, 2016
One DockKennebunkport, Maine

Once a tea merchant’s mansion, the Kennebunkport Inn has been a renowned landmark hotel in the heart of Dock Square since 1899.

The upscale and luxury boutique hotels of the Kennebunkport Resort Collection (KRC) are ringing in the New Year with special savings on room rates at all eight boutique properties. During KRC’s New Year’s Day sale on January 1, 2017, hotel rates will be discounted 20.17% off with the promotion code NY2017.

Discount is valid for stays throughout the 2017 season, based on availability. For more information and reservations, visit www.kennebunkportresortcollection.com. Offer must be booked online by 11:59pm EST on 1/1/2017. Certain restrictions, minimum stay requirements and blackout dates may apply.

Travelers can save on stays at any of the following properties for an idyllic Maine getaway:

  • Hidden Pond Resort: Reminiscent of summer camp, Hidden Pond is a secluded 60-acre resort with 16 two-bedroom cottages, 20 bungalow cottages, a Tree Spa (treatment rooms are literally eight feet off the ground, nestled among the birch trees), an on-site 800-square foot organic Farm, two pools (one for families, one adult only) and the onsite farm-to-fork restaurant, Earth.
  • The Tides Beach Club: Sister property The Tides Beach Club is located just a mile down the road from Hidden Pond on Goose Rocks Beach – the only boutique hotel in southern Maine right on the beach. A gut-renovation of a 100-year old Victorian inn, this stylish hotel has brought ‘seaside chic’ to Kennebunkport with 21 luxurious rooms, two suites featuring Jonathan Adler designs, and a vibrant bar and restaurant serving contemporary New England food.
  • The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel: Located on a prime waterfront site on the har­bor side of the Kennebunk River, just steps from Dock Square in central Kennebunkport, The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel features 25 nautically inspired guest rooms and a 200-seat restaurant, David’s KPT, overseen by celebrated Portland chef and restaurateur David Turin. With panoramic windows, private balconies, an expansive outdoor deck, and Kennebunkport’s only raw bar, The Boathouse is the newest waterside social scene in Kennebunk­port.
  • Cape Arundel Inn & Resort: The Cape Arundel Inn & Resort is made up of two distinct settings – the Cape Arundel Inn, located on exclusive Ocean Avenue with 14 unique guest rooms, seven with private balco­nies, and panoramic windows overlooking the crashing surf of the Atlantic, and the Old Fort Estate, set on 15 wooded acres in a secluded cluster of vintage Kennebunkport summer estates. Both locations are in walking distance of each other and share a variety of amenities for guests, including a pool, club house featuring a vintage pool table, and Ocean, a French-inspired restaurant helmed by Pierre Gignac.
  • The Lodge on the Cove: With a vibrant mix of vintage, classic and contemporary furnishings, bold patterns, and an upbeat color palette, The Lodge on the Cove has a welcoming, playful vibe that invites families to enjoy its cove-side location. The Lodge on the Cove is a completely refurbished classic motor lodge with 30 rooms, many of which are adjoining and all with semi-private decks, a large outdoor pool, and a social tiki bar and restaurant called The Dory.
  • The Kennebunkport Inn: It offers 35 casually sophisticated hotel lodging accommodations, vibrant social spaces and an acclaimed restaurant, One Dock, which serves classic steakhouse fare and a creative small plates menu.
  • The Cottages at Cabot Cove: The Cottages at Cabot Cove features 16 unique cottages with distinctive personalities located on an idyllic cove fed by the Kennebunk River and the sea beyond. Whimsically intimate, each of the petite cottages was decorated by a different local Maine interior designer and features a small patio amid lush landscaping. Guests enjoy breakfast delivery to their cottage each morning, kayaking in the cove, and strolling into nearby Kennebunkport.
  • The Grand Hotel: The Grand, a commanding new structure set atop Chase Hill that marries classic New England shingle-style architecture with low-key Southern Maine ambience, is thoughtfully designed with generous windows and a wide array of both private balconies and public decks. Its 17 guest rooms offer a front row seat to sweeping views of the Kennebunk River and downtown Kennebunkport. On the ground floor, the hotel features Gallery at the Grand, a contemporary, light-filled space in which Art Collector Maine highlights works from local Maine artists.

The Kennebunkport Resort Collection comprises a diverse portfolio of luxury and upscale properties, including Hidden Pond, one of the finest luxury boutique hotels in the Northeast;  The Tides Beach Club, Southern Maine’s only beachfront luxury boutique hotel; the Kennebunkport Inn, centrally located in downtown Kennebunkport; Cape Arundel Inn & Resort, a grand, oceanfront summer estate in nearby Cape Arundel; The Cottages at Cabot Cove, featuring individually designed luxury cottages; sister property The Lodge on the Cove, a family-oriented boutique resort; the Grand Hotel, located on Chase Hill in Kennebunk; and The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel, a social locale situated harbor side on the Kennebunk River.  KRC also owns and manages restaurants and catering venues in the area. Information on all KRC hotels and resorts can be found at www.kennebunkportresortcollection.com or follow @kennebunkportmaine on Instagram.

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Boston’s Colonnade Hotel Frosty Fridays Package: Pay the Temperature Outside

December 31, 2016

The Colonnade Hotel, a landmark in Boston’s Back Bay, celebrates winter’s chill with its signature cold weather package, Frosty Fridays! The two-night weekend deal where the Friday night room rate is determined by the 5 pm outside temperature reading and a special rate of $289 for Saturday is available through March 29, 2017.  That means if the temperature is 18 degrees at 5 pm on Friday night, guests pay just $18 for their room that night.

The package also bundles some of Boston’s best wintertime revelries and a cozy cocoa bar to warm up after a day of exploring Beantown:

  • Overnight accommodations for two
  • Choice of: admission and ice skating rentals for four at Boston Common Frog Pond ortickets for Old Town Trolley Tour
  • “Make your own” hot chocolate bar, which includes marshmallows, cinnamon sticks, candy canes, caramel, milk, etc.
  • Complimentary overnight parking in The Colonnade’s onsite garage
  • Add connecting rooms to make it a family affair, starting from $159.00 per night.

The Colonnade Hotel has provided thoughtful hospitality to Boston visitors and residents for more than 40 years. A Back Bay landmark whose opening launched the neighborhood’s renaissance in the early seventies, The Colonnade is home to the city’s only outdoor Roof Top Pool and the award-winning Parisian-style restaurant, Brasserie JO. The property boasts 285 sophisticated guest rooms, including nine luxury suites. Ideally located, The Colonnade is in close proximity to Newbury Street, The Shops at Prudential Center, Hynes Convention Center, Northeastern University and many of Boston’s finest museums, galleries, and iconic sites including Symphony Hall and Fenway Park. The Colonnade Hotel is a member of the Preferred Hotel Group representing over 650 of the world’s finest luxury hotels and resorts with an extensive global collection in more than 85 countries.

The Colonnade Hotel, 120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, 617-424-7000, www.colonnadehotel.com.

 

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WalletHub Report: Best & Worst Hotel Rewards Programs

December 18, 2016
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Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

With roughly half of all holiday season hotel goers waiting until mid-December to book reservations and the right loyalty program capable of providing significant savings, WalletHub today released its 2016 Hotel Rewards Report to help travelers make an informed choice.

WalletHub examined the rewards programs operated by the 12 largest U.S. hotel chains based on 21 key metrics, such as the average value of a point, point expiration policies and the volatility of award night pricing. You can find a handful of highlights below.

  • For the second year in a row, Wyndham Rewards is the best hotel loyalty program for travelers of all spending levels, earning an average WalletHub Score of 71.10.
  • La Quinta offers up to $14.17 in rewards value per $100 spent – most among major hotel loyalty programs.
  • The value in purchasing hotel rewards points varies widely from program to program. With some, it’s a rip-off, while others make it a no-brainer.
  • Best Western is the only major hotel chain whose rewards points do not expire due to account inactivity.

In addition to identifying the best and worst hotel rewards programs, WalletHub’s report features a custom calculator that allows users to personalize the results based on their own hotel budget.

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White Christmas for Lake Tahoe Means More Skiing, Festive Holiday Celebrations

December 18, 2016
Ski Heavenly

Heavenly Mountain Resort which already has a blanket of snow for great skiing, is set to host its annual Heavenly Holidays at Heavenly Village, a two-week festival featuring ice sculptors, live music, 16-foot snow globe inside which kids can get their picture taken with Santa, culminating with New year’s Eve concert, LED dance show, Gondola ball drop and dazzling fireworks show © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Lake Tahoe, Calif. & Nev. – Another round of snow-laden storms delivered close to two feet of fresh snow to the Northern Sierra, a timely gift atop the Christmas wish lists of Lake Tahoe-bound skiers and snowboarders. The entire destination has been transformed into a festive winter wonderland as the region readies to welcome holiday travelers and New Year’s Eve revelers during the action-packed weeks leading up to 2017.

Benefitting from an active weather pattern off the Pacific Coast over the last two months, Lake Tahoe resorts continue to open additional chairlifts and terrain with season snowfall totals recently surpassing the 100-inch mark. Powder-minded skiers and snowboarders will find plenty of fresh snow over the holiday season as forecasters are calling for a perfect blend of sunny skies and intermittent storms to freshen up the slopes.

“This latest round of storms ensures a White Christmas in Lake Tahoe with miles of open trails and skiing and snowboarding options for every ability level,” said Mike Pierce, President of Ski Lake Tahoe. “The beauty of Sierra Nevada storms is all it takes is one monster measured in feet rather than inches to open the entire mountain.”

The holiday season in Lake Tahoe is brimming with family-friendly celebrations and Santa sightings on the slopes, altogether creating winter vacation memories certain to last a lifetime. The festivities include torchlight parades, firework shows and East Coast NYE parties timed to celebrate the arrival of 2017 at 9:00pm PT so the younger revelers can still get their sleep before hitting the slopes the next day.

For the adult crowd, New Year’s Eve in Lake Tahoe is truly a sight to behold as the evening climaxes with the biggest slope-side block party on the planet with thousands of revelers spilling out into the Stateline casino corridor to celebrate the stroke of midnight. Music festivals, boundary-pushing nightclubs and Vegas-style entertainment await fun-seeking travelers who consider last chair to last call one of the high points of a great ski trip.

With new flights being added this season from important gateway air markets such as New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles, the Reno-Tahoe International Airport now offers nonstop service from 23 major cities across the U.S. and Mexico with one-stop service from almost anywhere in the world. Destination travelers can visit www.SkiLakeTahoe.com for complete details on planning a winter getaway to Lake Tahoe and read on for an overview of festive events and fun-filled celebrations planned over the Christmas holidays and New Year’s Eve.

Holiday Festivities and Family-Friendly NYE Celebrations

Heavenly Mountain Resort is set to host its annual Heavenly Holidays at Heavenly Village, a two-week festival from December 19 through December 31 featuring ice sculptors, live music and a 16-foot, oversized snow globe inside which kids can get their picture taken with Santa. The two-week festival culminates on New Year’s Eve with an outdoor concert, LED dance show, 9:00pm Gondola ball drop and a dazzling firework show.

Skiing is believing at Homewood Mountain Resort as Santa Claus will take to the slopes each day from December 21-24 at 11:00am-2:00pm with the cobalt blue waters of Lake Tahoe serving as the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable Christmas card. The resort will also be celebrating the last runs of 2016 with its New Year’s Eve-ning celebration from 3-5:00pm on December 31 with live music, champagne toasts, s’mores, firepits, snowcat photo opportunities and poster signings by Homewood’s ski patrol dogs.

Taking advantage of its spectacular setting atop the Pacific Crest, Kirkwood Mountain Resort will be welcoming in the new year with its annual Torchlight Parade and New Year’s Eve Firework Show beginning at 6:00pm on December 31. The festivities include an on-snow bonfire and guests looking for the ultimate firework viewing experience can reserve a seat aboard the resort’s enclosed Expedition: Kirkwood snowcat for a ride to the top of Caples Crest for a complimentary champagne toast and hot chocolate.

Northstar California looks like a scene straight from a Charles Dickens novel as The Village Ice Rink and festive storefronts at the Village at Northstar have been decorated with thousands of twinkling lights and holiday garlands. Guests can enjoy Noel Nights on Thursdays in December with classic ways to celebrate the season including ice skating, sleigh rides and hot cocoa and s’mores beside a fire pit. These holiday traditions expand to nightly celebrations from December 15 through December 24 along with the addition of Santa Sightings and Ripperoo Parades. The resort will be ringing in 2017 on December 31 during its annual New Year’s Eve Fire & Ice Celebration featuring a David Bowie tribute band and a firework show at 9 pm.

Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe was one of the first Lake Tahoe resorts to get into the holiday spirit as hundreds of skiers and snowboarders dressed as Santa took over the slopes on December 10 to take part in the resort’s annual Santa Ski Day. Long known for its laidback atmosphere and family-friendly vibe, Mt. Rose will be celebrating New Year’s Eve from 4:30-6:30pm on December 31 with a kids’ torchlight parade, a snowcat parade and its crowd-pleasing firework show.

Tis the season to shred at Sierra-at-Tahoe as the resort is set to host its Holiday Hollapalooza, from 12-2:00pm on December 18, a festive GS race pitting families and friends dressed up as Santa’s elves and Mrs. Claus in head-to-head heats. Sierra Saxmas also takes place on December 18 featuring some of California’s best saxophone players performing in the Solstice Plaza from 12-3:00pm. Sierra will be celebrating Christmas Eve on December 24 with an Apres Ski Ugly Sweater Party before Santa hits the slopes on Christmas Day, December 25.

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is rolling out Santa’s red carpet to commemorate its first annual Merry Days & Holly Nights from December 17-31, two-weeks of fun-filled holiday festivities featuring ice sculptor demonstrations, moonlit snowshoe tours, farm-to-table dinners with Olympians and legends, horse drawn carriage rides, a mini-Polar Express train for kids and a giant singing Christmas Tree. Special performances will include two nights of the Holly Feet & Grinch’s Groove show featuring the Utah Ballroom Dance Company, Truckee Dance Factory and a Grinch Look-a-Like contest for kids judged by Santa True himself. Guests can ski or ride with Olympic gold medalist Jonny Moseley on select days and the two-week celebration climaxes with a New Year’s Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Show on December 31.

SnowGlobe Music Festival, Boundary-Pushing NYE Parties

The Sixth Annual SnowGlobe Music Festival returns to South Lake Tahoe from December 29-31 bringing together a passion for music and mountains with multiple stages of world-class DJs and headlining acts combined with big air exhibitions by local skiers and snowboarders. This year’s lineup has doubled in size with scheduled performances by The Chainsmokers, Flume, Major Lazer, Odesza and many more.

Most of the major resort casinos in and around Lake Tahoe will be hosting over-the-top, Vegas-style New Year’s Eve parties with live music, international DJs, VIP booth service and no shortage of go-go dancers. The entire Stateline casino corridor turns into the biggest slope-side block party on the planet as thousands of revelers spill out into the barricaded streets to celebrate the arrival of 2017.

On New Year’s Eve, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino will be hosting an 80’s Flashback Party featuring Glam Cobra in its Vinyl Event Venue as well as a DJ Extravaganza and Plaza Countdown. MontBleu Resort Casino will be throwing three parties for the price of one in its Blu and Opal Ultra Nightclubs as well as its newly renovated 16,000 square foot convention center. Four Color Zack will be behind the turntables at the Edge Nightclub in the Peppermill Reno with complimentary champagne toasts and a massive balloon drop at midnight.

Surrounding North America’s largest alpine lake, the collection of resorts that make up Ski Lake Tahoe are Heavenly, Homewood, Kirkwood, Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe, Northstar California, Sierra-at-Tahoe and Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows. Lake Tahoe boasts some of the highest annual snowfall totals in the entire country while still averaging more than 300 days of sunshine each year. The seven resorts, all offering breathtaking lake views and panoramic mountains vistas, are conveniently located near the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. For further information on how to book airfare, lodging, lift tickets and transportation for Ski Lake Tahoe resorts and their travel partners, visit www.SkiLakeTahoe.com

 

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San Diego’s Westgate Hotel Puts on ‘Return to Versailles Palace’ Masquerade for New Year’s Eve (Costumes Encouraged)

December 14, 2016

(San Diego, CA)– San Diego’s very own Parisian palace, The Westgate Hotel, invites guests to ring in the New Year by stepping back into the 18th century for an alluring evening of timeless decadence with a Masquerade Night in Versailles. A five-course dinner, elegant masked ball, Moët & Chandon Champagne toasts, and luxurious guest rooms to sleep in late on New Year’s Day are all part of the experience.

Upon arrival, guests will make their way up the Westgate’s grand staircase to be whisked away from the modern age and transported to a haven of French aristocratic elegance. The Versailles Court will begin check-in at 7 p.m. and at 7:30 p.m. guests will indulge in French crafted libations such as Champagne, French 75 and Side Cars. Following the reception, at 8:30 p.m., guests will sit down to a lavish five-course Parisian Royale Dinner prepared by Executive Chef Fabrice Hardel, accompanied by flutes of Moët & Chandon, France’s very own 18th century Champagne creation; live music from a quintet combining French standard, contemporary, jazz and more; dancing; and masked opulence. Masked revelers can dance the night away to welcome 2017 with a champagne toast.

“We are beyond excited to be throwing the most elegant and memorable New Year’s event San Diego has seen,” said Richard Cox, General Manager at The Westgate Hotel. “A masquerade ball set in Versailles couldn’t be done anywhere but here. Guests will truly get the sense of 18th century France as it was, and ring in 2017 in a very special way.”

It is the perfect occasion to transform yourself into a French Royale, King, or Queen – someone Marie Antoinette herself couldn’t resist. Costumes and masks are encouraged. The cost to attend is $259 per person. Tax and gratuity are additional.

Overnight accommodations are available for guests interested in extending the party to New Year’s Day. Luxurious guestroom and amenity options include:

  • Le Versailles: One night stay in a premier room, five-course wine pairing dinner for two for $850.
  • Marie Antoinette: One night stay in a premier room, five-course wine pairing dinner for two, brunch for two, Versailles snack delivered at midnight and in-room party favors for $1,055.
  • Forever Your King: Overnight stay in the Presidential Suite or Governor Suite, five-course wine pairing dinner for two, macaroons and a bottle of Moët & Chandon Champagne for $3,500.

Following the night’s merriment, the Westgate will welcome 2017 with a New Year’s Day Brunch in Le Fontainebleau Room on January 1. Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. guests will enjoy a special menu priced at $69 per person.

Toom prices include gratuity and valet parking with room tax additional. Rooms can be booked at www.westgatehotel.com.

Tickets to The Westgate’s Masquerade Night in Versailles are limited and early reservations are encouraged. For reservations, call 619.238.1818.

The AAA Four Diamond-rated Westgate Hotel is an iconic property in the heart of downtown San Diego designed to rival the mythical palaces of Europe. From its 223 elegantly appointed guest rooms to the contemporary cuisine of the award-winning Westgate Room, guests truly experience a memorable difference while enjoying European décor, attentive service, exquisite cuisine and artistic cocktails.

The Westgate Hotel is part of the Grand America Hotels & Resorts collection which features Sun Valley Resort in Sun Valley, Idaho (twice selected by readers of SKI magazine as the nation’s top ski facility), Snowbasin Ski Resort, just outside Salt Lake City (site of the 2002 Olympic Downhill and Super G Races), The Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City (a AAA Five Diamond rated hotel) and Little America Hotel properties in Arizona and Wyoming.

 

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