As a result of El Niño, Northstar opened early on Nov. 14, and eager skiers and snowboarders couldn’t be more pleased. The mountain received 7 inches of snowfall to mark the first weekend of the 2015/16 ski season. With ski-in/ski-out access to Northstar, the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, was excited to welcome winter guests and is looking forward to an exciting holiday season.

“This is not only exciting news for our guests who want to get a jump-start on the ski season, but a testament to the preparedness and professionalism of our colleagues at Northstar California that they can open early for eager visitors,” said Joseph Mattioli, general manager of the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe.

As the holiday season approaches, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is preparing to welcome guests to the resort and make them feel right at home when they celebrate the holidays in the mountains. With a variety of holiday workshops, complementary activities for the whole family, decadent feasts and other special events planned, the holiday season is sure to be nothing short of magical.

Special appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus are scheduled as the Christmas holiday nears. On Dec. 19, the couple will be available for photos from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Living Room, followed by story time with Mrs. Claus from 7 to 8 p.m. Children also are invited to participate in Ritz Kids crafts with Mrs. Claus from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 21-23. This year, guests and the local community are invited to enjoy the following schedule of daily and special events:

Art of Mixology: 3 p.m. Dec. 6 and Dec. 13: This entertaining, educational experience will feature freshly cut herbs, use of classic ingredients such as bitters, and infused liquors to create three unique cocktails paired with appetizers. Advance reservations are required. Cost: $40 (must be 21).

Santa’s Gingerbread Workshop: 4 to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 18-22: Kids and kids at heart are invited to work alongside a Ritz-Carlton pastry chef where you’ll work with your family to build a personalized gingerbread house fit for the North Pole. Holiday beverages are included. Advance reservations are limited and required 48 hours in advance with restaurant reservations at 530-562-3035. Cost: $195 per family of four.

Café Gourmand in Café Blue: 4 to 5 p.m. daily Dec. 18-Jan. 3: From candy popcorn to chocolate fondue to shave ice, join the resort’s pastry chefs in Café Blue for an interactive, create-your-own treat hour. Pricing is a la carte.

Holiday-Inspired Painted Vine Event: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 24: The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe will join with The Painted Vine, a Truckee business, to offer an evening of wine tasting and painting a vintner-inspired picture. The session will include a painting class, wine, champagne and beverages. Reservations are required 72 hours in advance with the hotel concierge. Cost: $75 (must be 21).

Atelier Holiday Workshops: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dec. 13 and Dec. 19: The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe will join with Atelier, a Truckee business based, to offer creative workshops designed for children and adults. On Dec. 13, guests are invited to learn to make hand-crafted wrapping paper. Learn the basics of creating seamless patterns and different techniques for design layout. Cost: $35. On Dec. 19, learn to make handmade holiday cards through collage and stamping techniques. Cost: $25. All supplies are included for both workshops. Advance reservations with the hotel concierge are recommended.

Manzanita Lunch Buffet: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily Dec. 21-Jan. 3: A new skiers’ lunch buffet features soups, salads, popular lunch entrees, seasonal vegetables and a children’s station in Manzanita. Cost: $39 per adult, $20 per child (age 12 and younger).

Holiday Dinner in Manzanita: 4 to 10 p.m. Dec. 24-25: Visitors can enjoy a holiday meal with friends and family in the resort’s signature restaurant, Manzanita. A special menu developed by the chef de cuisine will include holiday-inspired dishes. Advance reservations are required. A la carte pricing.

Holiday Buffet on Dec. 25; seatings from 2 to 7 p.m.: Celebrate with a traditional holiday dinner in The Ritz-Carlton Ballroom featuring an extravagant buffet of seasonal culinary delights the entire family will enjoy. Advance reservations are required. Cost: $98 adults, $48 children (ages 4 to 10).

New Year’s Eve Dinner Dec. 31; seatings from 5 to 10 p.m.: Ring in the New Year at Manzanita with holiday-inspired menu selections. Advance reservations are required.

New Year’s Eve Family Buffet: 5 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 31: Enjoy a sumptuous buffet of seasonal, culinary delights before heading down to the Village at Northstar to ring in the New Year with a family-friendly celebration including live music, ice skating and a fireworks show at 9 p.m. Advance reservations are required. Cost: $95 adults, $35 children (ages 4 to 10).

New Year’s Champagne Bar: 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Dec. 31: Cherish the memories of the previous year and create new ones with friends and family while enjoying champagne, live music and dancing.

Salon D’Art Exhibit: Daily Dec. 26-31: Resort guests and visitors are invited to stroll the corridor from Manzanita’s entrance to the Highlands Gondola to enjoy a silent auction of artwork.

In addition, holiday spa shopping specials will be offered from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 18-Jan. 3. Guests can visit The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Lake Tahoe to enjoy spice-infused teas and treats while shopping for gifts. The resort’s fitness studio will feature holiday-themed fitness classes like Yuletide Yoga, Holiday Heat and Winter Conditioning Bootcamp in the Fitness Center Movement Studios Dec. 18-Jan. 3. Cost: $30 per class.

All prices are exclusive of tax and gratuity. Holiday dining reservations and events are limited and require advance reservations with restaurant reservations at 530-562-3035.

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