Family Activities:

The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe Activities Photo Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe
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Kids' Club
The Ritz-Carlton prides itself on offering elaborate kids' programs. The Ritz-Carlton at Lake Tahoe provides a half-day program (morning or afternoon) and a full-day program from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the summer and until 4 p.m. on the winter. Kids can go camping indoors with the available Indoor Campout Package where sleeping in a tent INSIDE your guestroom will surely brings lots of giggles.

Daytime activities are scheduled around a different topic each day. One day might be plants: discovering plants, cooking with plants, using plants in arts and crafts. Another day the subject might be wind: learning about weather, creating wind tools and learning about weather gauges. Lunch is included for full-day programs.

Children between the ages of 5 through 12 years are welcome. Children five and under are welcome to join the fun as long as they're with a guardian.

What an amusing sight to see my two 6 year old boys splashing in the pool, having a ball, while skiers whooshed down the pristine slopes behind them. Yes, kids will love that the Ritz pool is open year-round and kept wonderfully warm. Parents will love that the entire pool is just 3.5 feet deep. You'll also find a small, shallow toddlers' pool for the younger set. Two large hot tubs bubble away; one sitting beside a beautiful fire pit.

Teens, kids and the entire family can enjoy the traditional arcade games in the lower lobby. On Friday nights, it's Family Night at the Arcade. Game tokens are available for purchase.

Biking Mountain Bike Park
Someone took a look at the Northstar mountain in the summer months and thought, "If I can't ski it, let's skyrocket down it on bikes!" Biking down the Northstar mountain is for the spills-and-thrills seeker among us. If you're looking for a Sunday ride. Not so much. The lift ride up the mountain is peaceful and calm, while the ride down is steep and exciting (full protective gear is required) and injuries can occur so proceed with wisdom and caution.

The Mountain Bike Park delivers 100 miles of excitement with 50 trails and three chair lifts. When renting a bike, ask for a full suspension, down hill bike. (Your tush will thank you.) Consider going mid-week when the crowds are down. Probably not a great plan for kids 8 and under.

Golf & Tennis
The short and sweet crowd will find a lot to do at the 18-hole Northstar golf course or plethora of tennis activities for kids starting at age 4. Golf lessons (but no youth rental equipment) are available for kids as young as 7, and Northstar offers a family golf clinic, junior golf clinics (7 to 17 years) and junior golf school (7 to 12 years).

The little ones also have a tennis camp just for them called the 3-Day Little Quick Start Tennis Camp. For kids 7 and up, a five-day beginner, intermediate or advanced tennis camps are available. Camps include video analysis (five-day camp only), healthy snacks, refreshments and a tennis T-shirt. Northstar also provides fun events for kids like the Junior Firecracker Tennis Tournament for intermediate players (ages 7 to 16) happening right after the Independence Day. The Parent/Child Round Robin Tournament is on the calendar at least twice every summer. Private and group lessons and clinics are also available.

Cross Country Skiing and Snow Shoeing
Both cross country skiing and snowshoeing have hit the scene recently in a big way and folks are showing up in droves to trek the 25 miles of groomed Northstar trails. Happily you'll also find warming huts offering a mug or two of hot chocolate or hot tea and picnic tables dotting the way. Bag lunches are a necessity for enjoying a wonderful day. Rentals and lessons available.

Ice/Roller Skating
Use of the rink is free for everyone and located in the heart of the Northstar Village and there are skate rentals available for a fee. The skating rink is a 9,000-square-foot beauty ringed by firepits and comfy sofas. What a wonderful spot to enjoy a hot chocolate or a hot toddy by the fire. Open Fridays through Sundays, noon to 8 p.m. (weather permitting, call to confirm).

If you ever want to see a bunch of adults transform into silly five year olds (without a margarita in sight), you can't miss the excitement of tubing. Back in the day, tubing burned massive calories thanks to trudging back uphill after each ride down, but at Northstar, have a seat on your tube, grab onto a rope tow and get pulled up the hill. Yes, it's for the most spoiled among us. Quite honestly, it was one of the best times I've ever had: not only flying down the mountain on a tube linked with my kids' tubes, but also as a spectator. I thoroughly enjoyed watching my husband and sons bathed in total joy as they were pulled up the mountain and then came barreling down. This experience is an absolute must for all those at least 42 inches tall.

Skiing and Snowboarding
Northstar has sparkled for decades as the top resort for family skiing in the Tahoe region with 3,170 skiable acres, 97 runs and 19 lifts (including two gondolas). Whether you have a five year old just starting out or a 17 year old chomping at the bit for the diamond runs, every family member can find good times and challenge at Northstar.

An array of lift ticket options include: a very cool Parent's Predicament Ticket that allows parents to share an adult lift ticket for a day. While one skis or snowboards, the other remains with the child until they're ready to trade duties.

For the budget-conscious great deals abound including the Quad Pack Lift Ticket (ski four days any time within the season at a reduced price), the general Season Pass and the Double Whammy Season Pass (budget entrance into both Northstar and its sister resort: Sierra-at-Tahoe).

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