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Feb 23rd
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Home Travel Western Travel Buzz Latest News, Deals & Savings for Nov. 9

Latest News, Deals & Savings for Nov. 9

Colorado’s Keystone Resort opens early for skiers and snowboarders, the historic Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside, Calif. kicks off its 17th annual Festival of Lights on Friday, Nov. 27, and The Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco readies holiday tree, sugar castle.

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Keystone Resort Opens Early Thanks to Winter Conditions in Colorado

Colorado's Keystone Resort opened Nov. 5, 2009 for skiers and snowboarders with two jumps and more than 20 features from its A51 Terrain Park, thanks to fresh snow on the mountain and a spate of cold temperatures that provided ideal conditions for Keystone's talented snowmaking team.

Keystone is located 90 miles west from Denver International Airport. It is the largest mountain in Summit County offering 3,148 skiable acres, 20 lifts and two gondolas, all nestled at the foot of 2 unique villages.

Keystone's sister resorts - Breckenridge, Vail and Beaver Creek - are planning on opening Nov. 12 for Breckenridge, Nov. 20 for Vail and Nov. 25 for Beaver Creek.

Last year, Keystone began operating a new state-of-the-art eight-passenger gondola in River Run Village.

This year, the final phase of the project will be completed with a new skier bridge connecting the mountain back to the gondola vastly improving the guest experience and giving skiers a shorter walk from the slopes and making access to the gondola easier from the mountain.

Keystone is offering a series of deals and offers to start the season. For more information, visit

For skiers and riders looking to make the most of their ski season, the EPIC PASS and Summit Pass is available for a limited time only. The $599 unlimited, unrestricted Epic Season Pass for skiing at six resorts - Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly and Arapahoe Basin - all season long. After the sixth day of usage, Epic Pass holders are skiing or riding for free.

Or, new for 2009, buy the $399 Summit Pass online (it's the first time its been available for purchase online) for the best skiing in Summit County, Colo. with unlimited skiing at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin. Visit snow.com or epicpass.com for more information. Passes are available through Nov. 22.

Also, when you book lodging at a RockResort property in Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge or Keystone receive "three for free," a value that includes a free night of lodging, $50 resort gift card plus a free helmet cam to capture your experience on the slopes.

There's also free ski rentals with lodging: The "Free Skis & Boards" package features lift tickets and a free ski and snowboard sports rental package per person for up to seven days at specific retail locations within Vail Resorts. For information and reservations, visit
www.snow.com or call (800) 404-3535.

Southern California's Mission Inn Hotel Readies Festival of Lights

For anyone looking for a little magic this 2009 holiday season and an experience to bring the whole family together, the historic Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside, Calif. kicks off its 17th annual Festival of Lights on Friday, Nov. 27.

As a gift to the community, Duane and Kelly Roberts, owners of The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, will illuminate their landmark hotel with more than three and a half million brilliant lights as well as over 400 animated figures, such as angels, elves, and carolers that come alive throughout the iconic property.

"The Festival of Lights allows everyone, no matter what age they are, to be charged with excitement, wonder and anticipation, and to share valuable time with people they love during the most important season of the year," said Duane and Kelly Roberts. "It is an experience that brings families together, couples together and the community together, which is needed now more than ever."

Local residents and out of town travelers alike are invited to experience this spectacular Southern California holiday tradition, which features an elaborately decorated Christmas tree, Dickens Carolers singing cheerful holiday tunes, horses pulling authentic carriages, and hundreds of characters dressed in 17th Century costumes entertaining the crowd and evoking the spirit of the season.

Spectators can also enjoy cupcakes, hot coca, and cappuccinos from Casey's Cupcakes & Cappuccinos, the newly opened cupcake cafe at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa.

In addition, the City of Riverside has adopted The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa's popular Festival of Lights event as a citywide initiative with a vision of a Dickensian winter extravaganza. Lights and decorations will adorn buildings throughout the city and an outdoor ice-skating rink will be built in the main street pedestrian mall near The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa.

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa is offering a number of inspiring Festival of Lights packages for locals and out of town guests looking to celebrate the holiday season in style.

Packages start at $189 and can be booked online at
www.missioninn.com or by calling (951) 784-0300. This year's Festival of Lights celebration goes through Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010.

San Francisco's Historic Westin St. Francis Readies for Holidays

The Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco will be transformed into a festive oasis for the 2009 holiday season beginning Friday, Nov. 27, embellished with spectacular holiday decorations created by Joe Vincent Designs.

Upon entering the newly restored historic main lobby, visitors will see a 15-foot, glimmering white and silver holiday tree decorated in energy saving LED lights that will transcend into different colors. Families will delight in the whimsically adorned tower lobby, featuring a towering18-foot tall "Candyland Tree" with oversized peppermint sticks, lollipops and red and white swirl ornaments.

A winter wonderland will be displayed over the front desk featuring white lights, toy soldiers, drums, teddy bears, building blocks and much more. The Arcade, the perfect spot for holiday shopping, will be illuminated by sparkling holiday trees.

Currently celebrating the completion of an extensive $40 million transformation, San Francisco's "Crown Jewel" hotel has never sparkled brighter. From its superb location directly on Union Square in the heart of the glamorous shopping mecca and across the street from the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink, to the elegant holiday decorations, a magnificent 12-foot Sugar Castle, traditional holiday tea service, decadent meals and fun holiday packages, this is the perfect place to celebrate the season in style.

Also taking place on Nov. 27, San Francisco's largest Sugar Castle, created by Executive Pastry Chef, Jean-Francois Houdré, will be unveiled in the historic main lobby.

This magnificent, 12-foot rotating masterpiece grows larger and more spectacular each year. Inspired by a French Chateau from Chef Houdre's hometown of Bordeaux, the 100 percent edible castle weighs more than 1,200 pounds and features more than 20 grand circular towers, approximately 30 rooms, illuminated windows, and is surrounded by a quaint village and a running train.

As a special holiday gift, all guests with a confirmed reservation at The Westin St. Francis can save $10 per ticket on A Christmas Carol, a special holiday tradition in the Bay Area. Performing at the historic American Conservatory Theater, located just two blocks from the hotel, this sparkling, music-infused production features mean old Scrooge, adorable Tiny Tim, spooky Christmas ghosts and a multigenerational cast of dozens.

Details on how to redeem this special discount will be provided with the confirmed reservation. Available Dec. 3-27 for orchestra or balcony seats. Performances sell out, so be sure to order early. Tickets are subject to availability and cannot be combined with any other offer.

The hotel is also planning a variety of events, dining and offers. For more information on additional programs call (415) 397-7000, toll free (800) 917-7458 or visit