Give your children the ultimate Christmas present – a festive vacation at a Top50 Ranch!Imagine the look on your children’s faces when they discover that they’ll be going on a western ranch vacation this winter – maybe even on Christmas day itself! Whatever you’re looking to get out of your winter ranch vacation, you can be sure that one of Top50’s distinctive ranches has something for you. Top50 has found some unique opportunities from its selection of the best ranches in the USA and Canada, so every family can find the ultimate Christmas vacation...Lone Mountain Guest Ranch, MontanaYellowstone National Park is an incredible place to visit at any time of year, but none more so than at Christmas, when the snow-capped peaks fit right into the spirit of the festive season. That’s what makes Lone Mountain Guest Ranch North America’s no.1 Nordic ski resort – with back-country ski and snowshoe tours on the endless trails that Yellowstone has to offer, the whole family will experience the ultimate snowy adventure. Lone Mountain goes a step further and transforms the ranch into a winter wonderland at Christmas, the highlight being its evening sleigh rides back to the cozy log cabin accommodations, making Christmastime extra special for both adults and children alike.C Lazy U Ranch, ColoradoHow would your children like Santa to pay them a special visit on Christmas Eve – on horseback, no less? For this unique Christmas experience and more, head to the C Lazy U ranch during its two-week festive celebration, which encompasses both Christmas and New Year. Guests are even given their own Christmas tree in their lodge cabins to decorate however they wish – making being on vacation over the festive period feel every bit like home. Stick around for New year and the whole family will enjoy a blowout New Year’s party. With ice skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tubing and sledding all included in this special package, the kids will never get bored! Guests are free to choose when they’d like to come – from the minimum five days to the whole two week celebration – offering ultimate flexibility during what’s inevitably always a busy Christmas schedule.Triple Creek Ranch, MontanaDo your teenagers still hanker after the excitement of Christmas, even if they’d rather not admit to it? As a strictly over-16s ranch, Triple Creek is ideal for older looking for a more sophisticated winter family vacation. What better way to spend Christmas than in the pristine Bitterroot Mountains of Montana, taking a brisk horseback ride in the fresh snow or an invigorating snowmobile expedition through a glistening winter wonderland. Adorned in its Christmas finery, the ranch hosts Christmas Eve and Christmas Day gourmet dining, complete with fine wines and live entertainment.Hang around a little longer and you can ring in the New Year Triple Creek style - the evening's celebrations include a gourmet dinner, live entertainment, a western themed gambling saloon and a special champagne toast at midnight against the backdrop of a fireworks extravaganza. Or if you prefer to spend your New Year in the real outdoors, take a night time horseback ride or go ice-fishing on Elk Meadow pond, for a unique and special way to see in 2012.Or why not give your loved one a Christmas present in the form of Triple Creek’s L'école de la Cuisine 2012, from January 12th to 15th? Executive Chef Jacob Leatherman and his team will teach the basics of cooking gourmet cuisine, preparing delectable desserts, and even wine pairing. This an exclusive culinary opportunity no foodie will want to miss.Bar W Guest Ranch, MontanaIf it’s action and adventure your family hankers after, Bar W’s plethora of winter sports will satisfy every adrenaline junkie! There’s something to get every age into the Christmas spirit - from dog-sledding, horseback riding and sleigh rides through the snow, to ice-fishing and skating, to a full range of incredible winter sports. When all your energies are spent, you can come back to the ranch for amazing cuisine and fine wine, and spend a relaxing evening at the local spa.Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, CaliforniaIf it’s tradition you’re after in your Christmas vacation, look no further than Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort. Christmas here has been a tradition since 1946, and there is no shortage of activities during the ranch’s month-long holiday. During December, the working cattle ranch is transformed into a winter wonderland evoking memories of Christmas past. Uniquely themed Christmas trees are dotted throughout the ranch, and every available inch is adorned in festive decorations. Families can get into the spirit of Christmas together while making gingerbread houses and tree ornaments, decorating Christmas cookies, and joining baking demonstrations with Alisal’s pastry chef. Evening festive activities keep the children entertained – from storytelling and cowboy waltzing, to Christmas movies and holiday bingo – with Santa himself calling the numbers!Speaking of Santa, you can forget Santa’s Grotto in your local mall. It doesn’t get any more real than Santa’s regular appearances on-board his “reindeer” horse in the run-up to Christmas at Alisal, when children will get the chance to tell him exactly what they want for Christmas. Take a breakfast horseback ride on special days and Santa comes along too, passing out candy to the children along the way.
But there’s no time more special at Alisal than Christmas Eve. Festivities begin after dinner as Santa arrives in his sleigh, picking up all the children and taking them to his ‘grotto’, where a roaring fire, carols and homemade treats await. Santa presents each child with individually wrapped gifts and, on returning to their rooms, they’ll find a filled stocking waiting for them.Christmas Day features a traditional holiday dinner with all the trimmings, with treats of hot chocolate, hot apple cider, homemade cookies and treats served up in the evening. And so that no one forgets the magic of an Alisal Christmas, guests can purchase an inscribed holiday picture frame by which to remember their festive time at the ranch forever.Choose a special 2-night all-inclusive Holiday package throughout December and January, and children under 2 go free!The Ranch at Rock Creek, MontanaPerfect for families who don’t always want to do the same thing is a winter vaca at The Ranch at Rock Creek. Offering traditional holiday celebrations, the guest ranch achieves the perfect balance between invigorating exercise and relaxing tranquillity. Skiing and hiking on the ranch is perfect for families of all ages and abilities, with terrain suitable for both the experienced and the novice. While the kids (and adults rediscovering their inner child!) can get into the festive spirit with horseback riding in the snow, downhill sledding, skeet shooting, snowball fights, and hockey or ice skating on one of the ranch’s frozen ponds, Mum and Dad can enjoy a relaxing treatment at the ranch’s state-of-the-art spa. Perfect for bringing the whole family together is an evening festive sleigh ride through the snow.Tod Mountain Ranch, British Columbia, CanadaChristmas can be a stressful time of year, but you can escape the mayhem on a winter vacation in the quiet beauty of Canada’s Louis Creek Valley, at Tod Mountain Ranch - the perfect Christmas destination for peace and tranquillity. Hearty, home-cooked meals by the fire will keep you warm in the freezing temperatures, and cabin accommodation is nothing short of luxurious.Running from December 2010 through March 2011 are Tod Mountain’s all-inclusive winter packages, which include full use of hiking, snowshoeing and on-site skiing facilities. If you want the children to open their presents on Christmas Day at the ranch, take advantage of the Christmas at the Ranch package, running from 23rd to 27th December.And when it comes to Christmas spirit, Tod Mountain knows how to do the festive holiday in style. The ranch’s Christmas tree was grown right there on the ranch and each year, is decorated with hundreds of twinkling lights and shimmering baubles. Take the kids to nearby Sun Peaks Ski Resort on 23rd and Christmas Eve, and they’ll get to ski with Santa himself! Christmas Eve is spent with local ranchers at the country church’s annual carol service, with mulled wine and mince pies served back at the ranch. If you’ve any room left on Christmas Day, you can tuck into a traditional Christmas feast of roast turkey, baked ham and all the trimmings, before relaxing and enjoying the comfort, calm and tranquility of the ranch.Latigo Ranch, ColoradoIf skiing is your family’s passion, you won’t find better than Latigo Ranch – visit during winter and you won’t know whether you’re in Colorado or Norway! While pampering you with true western Christmas hospitality and home-style festive cooking, Latigo also offers Nordic ski lessons and use of 60 kilometres of Nordic Ski Trails – most of which guests will have to themselves. Complete with tubing hill, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and sledding, the slopes offer the ultimate in adventure during the day, while at night you can recharge your batteries for the next day in your cozy cabin, with a hearty meal and a soak in the hot tub.Vista Verde Ranch, ColoradoChildren nagging you for a pony for Christmas? Give them the next best thing and take them to Vista Verde Ranch for an unbeatable winter horseback experience! The whole family can further their riding skills, thanks to training from horsemen in Vista Verde’s heated indoor arena - there’ll be no complaints of chilly toes here. But this Christmas vacation is so much more than a riding lesson – Vista Verde captures the true magic of the festive season, from its sleigh rides and horseback riding through the snow, to sledding, tubing and snowshoeing activities that mean the kids are never bored. And if you want to leave the children in the capable hands of Vista Verde’s kids’ counselors, give yourself and your partner the Christmas present of cooking classes and wine tasting.
Each Christmas, Rancho de los Caballeros in Arizona, turns into a western holiday hideaway as flickering luminaries line the paths throughout The Ranch. With fresh pine Christmas trees adorned with vintage ornaments, bursts of bright red poinsettias and colorful Christmas lights, you’ll get to experience a traditional Christmas with a unique Southwestern flair. Don’t forget to leave your boot “stockings” by the fire, and have your camera ready for Santa when he comes to The Ranch on horseback and to deliver gifts to our guests on Christmas Day!