Escapes: Northstar event is on the cutting edge

01/13/2013 12:00 AM

01/12/2013 10:15 PM

SNOW SCULPTURE

Northstar event is on the cutting edge

Snow is for skiing, snowboarding and snowball fights, among other things. One of the most creative uses for the white stuff will be showcased Feb. 8-12 at Northstar ski resort, at the inaugural Carve Tahoe competition. It's free to spectators.

At the snow-sculpture contest, expert snow-carvers from more than 20 countries will shape 20-ton blocks of snow into imaginative figures. On Feb. 13, judges will decide which entries are the best. The sculptures will be on display "until the sun melts them away."

While you're there, take a free spin on Northstar's ice-skating rink, which will operate into April (skate rental is $10).

To learn more about Carve Tahoe, visit www.carvetahoe.com. For more on Northstar, visit www.northstarattahoe.com. For information about north Lake Tahoe lodging, ski resorts, activities and dining, go to www.gotahoenorth.com. Northstar is at 100 Northstar Drive in Truckee; (530) 562-1010.


ITALY

Get primer, sip wine

If your 2013 travel plans include a trip to Italy, it would be wise to prepare with some schooling on what to expect when you get off the plane.

Sacramento's Experience Italy travel agency specializes in independent travel throughout Italy, and is offering a seminar at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The info-fest will cover where to go and what to see. It will be hosted by veteran travel specialists who will answer questions and share their experiences.

"We're offering general information for first-time travelers looking to go it on their own in Italy," said Lori Martin, Experience Italy's vice president, who will make her 30th trip to Italy this month.

Get the lowdown upstairs at the Luna Lounge in the Bella Bru Cafe, 5038 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks.

The fee is $10. Register at www.experienceitaly.com, via an email sent to info@experienceitaly.com, or at (916) 456-0570.

For wine lovers who may or may not be going to Italy, Experience Italy is sponsoring a seminar by Todd Bolton. He's a native Californian who runs the Tuscan Trails wine-tours company in Florence (www.tuscantrails.com).

He'll present "Wine-Tasting the Italian Way" at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Total Wine, 2121 Arden Way, Sacramento; (916) 921-5328. Register for the free event by emailing to info@experienceitaly.com.


SONOMA COUNTY

A vintage celebration

Speaking of wine and travel: Sonoma County is rightfully famous for its fine wines, overflowing as it is with hundreds of wineries along numerous wine trails.

Now's the time to break out and explore many of the area's wineries via the 21st annual Winter Wineland, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

It's a chance to meet winemakers and taste new releases and limited-production vinos, and pair various dishes with reds and whites.

The organizers explain, "This event does not take place at one location. You travel from winery to winery, visiting the ones you are interested in exploring."

For tickets, maps and a list of participating wineries, visit www.wineroad.com.


FISHING

Rooster Tails' breakfast

The nonprofit Rooster Tails Fishing Club of Northern California will hold a buffet breakfast and seminar featuring a panel of expert fishing guides.

Doors will open at 7 a.m., with breakfast ($12) served from 8 to 9 a.m. Friday at the Elks Lodge, 195 Pine St., Auburn. As always, the public is welcome.

The 30-year-old, 157-member club meets the third Friday of each month to "educate, entertain and enhance the fishing experience."

Information: (530) 887-0479, www.roostertailsfishingclub.org.


TO REACH CALIFORNIA TRAVELER

Tim Swanson, features editor

(916) 321-1606, tswanson@sacbee.com

To submit events or news about travel and recreation activities, travel talks and organized day trips with costs up to $100, please send information at least three weeks in advance to Traveler, The Sacramento Bee, P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852, fax (916) 556-5625 or email: travel@sacbee.com. Priority will be given to events free to the public.

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