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Time to dust off the skis and snowboards: the 2013-14 ski season is already underway, with several resorts already open and plenty more set to do so in coming weeks – which is a promising sign for the season to come. This year, some enticing deals and passes, as well as more direct flights to resort destinations, are a great excuse for a winter weekend getaway. Here are some of the best (and budget-friendly) offers.
Alta and Snowbird, Utah: Known for epic powder and deliciously long runs, these Utah resorts are also offering out-of-state visitors a killer deal this year: half off lift tickets within 24 hours of arrival at Salt Lake City International Airport. The offer is good throughout the 2013-14 ski season, Monday through Friday, and saves $39.50. Read more
The cold, snowy months of the U.S. winter feel a lot brighter when you hit the ski slopes. But traveling to the best resorts at the height of the season also means you’ll have to contend with crowded slopes and high prices.
If you want to miss those crowds, and don’t mind not actually getting to ski, consider visiting during shoulder season (from now until around mid-to-late-November) when there are still lots of activities on offer, but the resorts will be quieter and the prices lower.
You watch your favorite television show to unwind after a long day at work or to enjoy some entertainment without leaving your couch. But some people are so inspired by what’s happening on-screen that they’re motivated to travel to the place depicted in their shows. Yes, TV tourism is a real thing, and destinations like Nashville and Northern Ireland reap the benefits when shows are based or filmed there. Here are some notable TV-centric destinations where visitors are flocking this year. Read more
As the summer hits full swing in the United States, over 2,000 federal recreation sites open up to the masses. Many of these National Parks and Monuments are inaccessible during the winter, meaning travelers who wish to capitalize on the season need to choose their destinations wisely. Admittedly, road trips aren’t as affordable as they once were thanks to rising gas prices, but for those eager to load up the station wagon (or the Prius) and visit a variety of parks, the America The Beautiful pass could prove a worthwhile investment.
At $80, this pass is valid for a full year from the time that you purchase it (in fact, I’d recommend purchasing it at the start of a new month, resulting in a theoretical usage period of nearly 13 months.) If you’re planning to visit just one park this year, it’s not worthwhile, but for the right crowd, it represents an outstanding value. Here’s a breakdown… Read more
The Los Angeles River’s concrete-paved waterways play pivotal roles in many unforgettable movies (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Grease, The Italian Job, Gone in 60 Seconds, to name a few). What you may not know, though, is that it’s “banks” have been closed since the 1930s due to multiple floods – the river is actually considered an Army Corps of Engineers flood control channel. But this week, Californians were eager to grab their paddles and kayak on the newly free waters. But the summer fun isn’t just for them. You, too, can head to one of these scenic rivers across the U.S. for a day trip of lazy tubing, boating, or thrilling white-water rafting. Read more
We’ve all been there – you make plans to hit the slopes during winter, you blink, and suddenly spring is at your doorstep. Warmer weather and longer days are no doubt ahead of us, but that doesn’t mean that blustery ski hills are being imminently shut down. You may have to look a little harder or drive a bit farther, but there are still excellent deals to be had when visiting high-elevation ski resorts that keep the powder flowing right on through April. Here are some of our favorites. Read more
Updated on November 13, 2012: Snowflakes have already started to fall in parts of the country, and many ski resorts, including Colorado’s Copper Mountain (Nov. 2) and Mammoth Mountain in California (Nov. 8), have already celebrated opening day. The hum of anticipation from the skiing and snowboarding community is almost palpable.
And there’s good reason for that excitement: According to the 2013 Old Farmer’s Almanac, this season should bring with it higher-than-average snowfall to several resort areas, including the Utah mountains, the Great Smokies in the southeastern United States, and British Columbia. Along with that much-hoped-for gift from nature, there are some pretty cool man-made happenings at several major resorts, too. Here, a few noteworthy tidbits to get you geared up for the 2012/2013 ski season. Read more
The dog days of summer may be upon us, but RockResorts is looking to cool you down with its winter getaway deals featuring savings of 25 to 50 percent, and rates starting at $85 per night at locations around the U.S. and the Caribbean.
Already dreaming of snow? Book now for the lowest rates at The Arrabelle at Vail Square or The Lodge at Vail, RockResorts’ establishments near Vail, Colorado, where you’ll find excellent back-country skiing and snowboarding. At nearby Beaver Creek, the group’s Osprey and The Pine Lodge also offer activities like snowshoeing, dog sledding, sleigh rides, and hot air ballooning. Read more
Of course, nature also encompasses wildlife, some of which – bears, mountain lions, or even a seemingly docile bison – can turn an outdoor adventure into a trip to the hospital (or worse). And though animal attacks on humans are extremely rare, spring, when animals are coming out of hibernation and caring for their young, presents a good time for a primer on what to do if you cross paths with a potentially dangerous animal.
For expert insight, I spoke to Kurt Johnson, the resident naturalist at Spring Creek Ranch in Jackson, Wyoming, who’s also a wildlife photographer with decades of experience in the wilderness. “What’s really interesting about wildlife interactions with people is that they’re communicating with us constantly,” Johnson says. “They’re telling us when they become uncomfortable, when they get agitated.”
A good rule of thumb with any animal, Johnson says, is to understand that if “what you’re doing is changing the behavior of the animal, you’re doing something wrong.” Here, more tips on understanding animal instinct and staying safe in the wild.
Looking to squeeze in one last winter adventure before temperatures start to climb in the spring? Consider Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and the nearby Grand Teton National Park, both of which offer breathtaking, snow-swept landscapes, an abundance of winter sports, and a welcome absence of the fanny-pack-wearing masses of tourists who descend in warmer months.
Exploring these stunning national parks – Yellowstone is the country’s first, designated as such in 1872 by the Western explorers who were dazzled by its beauty – is a perfect respite for shredded quads after skiing in nearby Jackson, or a stand-alone trip for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or traveling by snow coach or snowmobile.
Plus, it’s supremely affordable: An entrance fee of $25 per car for 7-day period covers admittance to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.
The 2011/2012 ski season has been a bit of a bummer for bona fide ski bums, since it hasn’t put a dent in last year’s record-setting snowfall. Still, there’s plenty of powder to be had in prime ski destinations, and leading the (snow)pack is Wyoming, which has seen more snowfall than Colorado, Utah, California, or the New England region.
I recently spent several days at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (confession: it was the first time I’d strapped on skis in years), where bluebird skies, fluffy powder, and nearly nonexistent lift lines have surely spoiled me for my times to come out on the slopes. The resort has a reputation as an experts’ paradise – it boasts 4,139’ vertical feet of steep and deep runs, including the notorious Corbet’s Couloir and its two-story drop into a rocky chute – but I was surprised (and grateful) to learn that the resort also has plenty of fantastic terrain for just-getting-back-into-skiing folks like me.
Here with a few more unexpected discoveries that I made, primed for helping other first-timers to Jackson Hole, too: Read more
It’s the forecast that skiers and snowboarders have been longing for: Big snow is finally on the way this weekend. More than four feet of snow are expected to dump on Jackson Hole, Wyoming – as well as other snow-starved resorts – this weekend, as part of the winter storm fronts that are gearing up to hit the Rockies and the Pacific Northwest. In anticipation of the long-awaited snowfall, two properties in Jackson Hole are offering a 3-night “Storm Chaser” package that includes accommodations, lift tickets, and other perks.
Package deals from Teton Mountain Lodge and Hotel Terra come with a 3-day lift ticket for two adults, a $20 per room breakfast credit, and accommodations, with starting nightly rates from $314 for Teton Mountain Lodge and $339 at Hotel Terra (three night minimum stay required). Considering that adult full-day passes at Jackson Hole cost $85 alone, that’s pretty significant savings. The deal runs through Jan. 31.
“This year we’re going to a dude ranch with the whole family,” Modern Family dad Phil Dunphy told viewers at the beginning of the Emmy-winning comedy’s season three premiere last week. Fans of the show or not, your own modern family has a chance to win a summer vacation at Lost Creek Ranch Lodge & Spa in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the very ranch where the Modern Family brood stayed and filmed on location this past summer.
Situated between Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest, the ranch has lush scenery with pricing to match. During high season (Memorial Day to Labor Day) half duplex cabins for one to three people are $6300 per week per cabin and living room cabins sleeping up to eight are $13,500. Kids six and under stay free, and all meals as well as your own horse for the week are among the inclusions. If this packs appeal, one strategy might be to start saving now and, for good measure, entering Wyoming Tourism’s Modern Family sweepstakes, whose winner will get a package for four including five nights at the ranch and another two in Yellowstone, as well round-trip airfare and a rental car. The sweeps window opened last week and closes a second before midnight this Friday, September 30. Another winner will get a skiing-oriented winter escape elsewhere in Jackson Hole.
In the Wild West, scalps weren’t massaged – they were removed. Yet cowboy retreats from California to Costa Rica are trading leather for lavender and treating guests to some ranch-inspired pampering.
Hacienda Santa Ines, Costa Rica
The Ranch This winter, the 11-room Hacienda Santa Inés ranch debuted in a prime locale in Costa Rica – 5,000 feet up in the Tres Rios Mountain range. The 980-acre private estate features a 16-stall stable and lush gardens. ATV rides and trout fishing can be arranged.
The Spa Guests can book customized treatments 24/7 at the stone-designed spa, which is conveniently built beside the pool.
Signature Rubdown A four-hand massage targets specific muscle groups – upper thighs, glutes, calves – that take a beating on horseback. Villas from $12,000, including meals, drinks, and treatments; haciendasantaines.com
Yesterday, RockResorts kicked off a 96-hour sale offering nightly rates as low as $96 at a selection of their resorts! Take off to Colorado or Wyoming for spectacular spring skiing, or hit the beach in Miami, St. Lucia, and Jamaica, and enjoy some long-awaited sunshine and relaxation. Other destinations include Santa Fe, Costa Rica, the Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic. At RockResorts guests can expect luxury accommodations, state-of-the-art spas, and an eclectic mix of outdoor adventures, based on location. Travel is valid seven days a week through January 31, 2012. This sale ends on Friday, April 1 at 2 p.m. EST and rates are based on availability.
THE VALUE: We found rates with discounts of more than 30 percent at the Half Moon in Montego Bay, Jamaica, as well as the Jackson Lake Lodge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming!
THE CATCH: Blackout dates apply.
THE DETAILS: To see the participating RockResorts and to book your stay, visit www.rockresorts.com.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Check out our Travel Guides to see what destination fits you the best.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find low rates on flights to the destination of your choice!
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