The Wait for Winter is Over in Banff

December 24, 2014 on 1:28 pm | In Adventure Travel, Alberta, Canada, Skiing Snowboarding | Comments Off



Backcountry.com Winter ClearanceBanff National Park is wide open for the Ski Season!

Banff, Alberta (December 2, 2014) – December is here and it’s time to dust off those skis and snowboards powder hounds, because the wait is finally over! With up to 95cms of the white stuff having fallen in the last week, the three ski resorts of the Banff National Park are open and ready for the one of the longest seasons in North America.

Lake Louise Ski Resort
It’s been an early season of celebration for Lake Louise Ski Resort, which won the prestigious accolade of Canada’s Best Ski Resort at The World Ski Awards last week, while Proprietor Charlie Locke was recognized for his Outstanding Contribution to Ski Tourism for the Americas. Lake Louise is again playing host to the World Cup Alpine season-opener speed events, which began this Saturday with the men’s downhill races and continue through to December 7, 2014. With a helping hand from Old Man Winter, early snow conditions at Lake Louise are excellent and all lifts are now turning. Paradise Bowl and Whitehorn 1 are ready for exploring and for on-hill refreshment, Whitehorn Lodge Bistro is fully open and Temple Lodge is running with limited services.

http://www.skilouise.com

|Facebook.com/SkiLouise|@SkiLouise

Sunshine Village Ski and Snowboard Resort

A mid-November blanket of snow allowed Sunshine Village Ski and Snowboard Resort to open its doors to guests on Friday, November 14, 2014 with a current base of over 1 metre. All lifts except Goat’s Eye are now open with a total of 66 runs ready for shredding. Full ski school programs and all on-mountain rentals, dining and retail venues are also available, and Banff’s only ski-in, ski-out hotel, the Sunshine Mountain Lodge, is open for easy access to fresh tracks. For pointers on the best terrain to enjoy early in the season, visit Sunshine’s website for some insider tips.

Skibanff.com |Facebook.com/SunshineVillageResort |@SunshineVillage

Mount Norquay

The team at Mt Norquay worked tirelessly through November to get the resort ready for winter and Mt Norquay opened its doors for its 89th ski season this Saturday, with five lifts including North American Chair and 90% of the terrain now ready for action. The renowned ski school is fully operational giving guests who are looking to try skiing for the first time the opportunity to take advantage of Norquay’s beginner terrain. For more frozen family fun, Alberta’s largest winter Tube Park will be opening this coming weekend.

Winter.banffnorquay.com | Facebook.com/mtnorquay | @MtNorquay

As the snow continues to fall, all three resorts will be continuing to open terrain, so keep an eye on their websites and social channels for the latest updates.

Winterstart Festival

Banff National Park is currently kicking off winter with the 2014 Winterstart Festival, which runs until December 21, 2014, marking the official start of winter at the World’s Finest National Park. This year the Winterstart Festival is significantly revamped with a strong festival feel and four full weekends of breathtaking outdoor activities, unique culinary delights, magical family events such as the Santa Claus Parade of Lights and more. Follow @Banff_Squirrel on Twitter, Banff Lake Louise Tourism on Facebook, and @Banff_LakeLouise on Instagram using #MyBanff to learn more.

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Northern California’s Gold Country Offers Snow Many Options

December 17, 2014 on 3:20 pm | In Adventure Travel, California, San Francisco, Skiing Snowboarding | Comments Off



Backcountry.com Winter Clearance, CA—California’s Gold Country, where gold was originally discovered in 1848 to set off the gold rush of ’49, is still a gold miner’s dream, with the six pound “Butte Nugget” unearthed just last summer. But the area’s reputation for all things outdoorsy and adventurous, no matter what time of year, is a more common find. As ski resorts begin to open, Northern Californians can get all that winter has to offer in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range (called the High Sierra by locals) beginning two hours east of San Francisco. The 400-mile long range runs north to south along the eastern part of California. Downhill, cross country skiing, and snowboarding options are joined by new adventures, such as snow biking, dog sledding, snowshoeing under the canopy of Giant Sequoias, and finding rarified air with a snow kite. At the end of the day, more than 100 wineries await, many with no-fee tasting rooms. Here are some winter sports suggestions in the Gold Country:

North – El Dorado and Nevada Counties

El Dorado County www.VisitEldorado.com

El Dorado County, northeast of Sacramento on Highway 50, is the heart of the Gold Country. The 1848 discovery of gold here touched off the largest Gold Rush in history.

Snow skiers and boarders have access to three world-class resorts in this South Lake Tahoe region. Heavenly Ski Resort is home to some of the steepest, deepest and most scenic ski runs in the west. Lake Valley State Recreation Area and Sugar Pine Point State Park both offer cross country skiing in the High Sierras. Another way to experience Lake Tahoe in winter is to snowshoe right on the water’s edge at the iconic Camp Richardson.

Home General 160 600Many argue that winetasting is a year-round sport; the Gold Country concurs. El Dorado wineries are renowned for making vibrantly flavorful, distinctly delicious wines that are grown in the dramatic elevations of the Sierra Nevada. For many of the vineyards at the higher elevations, winter marks the beginning of the winemaking season, where vintners get their first glimpse of the quality of the vintage. The region is uniquely situated above the fog and below the snowline. Weather is mild and the tasting rooms are uncrowded, allowing even more opportunities to talk one-on-one with the winemakers who pour their heart into their craft.

A noteworthy seasonal event is held annually at Miraflores Winery. The Wild Thing VIII (this year on Dec. 13) is a gastronomic experience pairing wild game with their wines. Past offerings include kangaroo, elk, wild mushrooms and turtle soup.

Nevada County http://gonevadacounty.com/

Nevada County, above El Dorado County and stretching east to the California border, is the home of Donner Summit, with some of the deepest snow in the continental U.S. and a range of winter options at each resort.

Boreal Mountain Resort is celebrating its 50th year of operations with significant renovations including the addition of a surface life and expanded learning terrain, three major events to mark the golden anniversary, and the opening of Neff Land, a pirate-themed terrain park with 30 ridable features. Night skiing is also available at Boreal Mountain, with lifts operating until 9 p.m. daily The Take 3, Ride Free encourages improving ski techniques and abilities – the season pass lift ticket is free with the completion of three lessons.

Woodward Tahoe, located steps from the slopes, is Tahoe’s only action sport training facility with indoor trampolines, foam pits, skate parks, ramps and more.

Free Shipping Over $50* at Altrec.com!Planet Town at Soda Springs Resort has a wide viewing area that puts proud parents into the perfect spot to film their children’s first turns on skis or snowboards. Toddlers may start at 2 years old to age 8. Soda Springs rents pint-sized snowmobiles for kids ages 6 to 12 (under 100 pounds). The adventures take place on a circular track – no worries of heading off down the slope – and helmets are provided.

Donner Ski Ranch, another family friendly ski and snowboarding slope has a tubing hill that requires no experience or special equipment other than energy and gumption.

Cross country skiers have unlimited access at Royal Gorge, North America’s largest cross country resort on 200km (134 miles)of groomed trails across 7,500 acres of pristine terrain that crosses Nevada and Placer Counties. Winter enthusiasts can also enjoy snowshoeing, or snow biking on Surly Bikes equipped with overly-exaggerated “fat” tires for a great workout on a scenic loop. Snowkiting, winter’s new darling sport, harnesses the wind. World champion snowkiter Tyler Brown offers lessons, tips and techniques at California’s first established snowkiting school.

Nevada County is also the home to the Sierra Vintners wine region, known for their blue ribbon wines, hospitable vintners and tasting room experts. Many offer tasting and events at their vineyards like Pilot Peak, Sierra Knolls and Double Oak; while others are showcased in one of the many tasting rooms located in Historic Downtown Grass Valley or Nevada City.

Central – Sacramento, Amador and Calaveras Counties

Folsom, Sacramento County www.VisitFolsom.com

wickers.com COUPON 10% OFF all ordersThe city of Folsom, in Sacramento County, is a natural home base for winter activities throughout Northern California’s Gold Country.

Take a stroll down Historic Sutter Street and visit unique shops, quaint dining and historic bars. Lace up ice skates at Folsom’s Ice Skating Rink, located around the historic railroad turn table. This family favorite activity is open daily 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., through Jan. 19. The traditional Historic Folsom Tree Lighting and Arts and Crafts Fair returns Dec. 5 and 6 to kick off the holidays.

World class productions, including the national tour of Disney’s” Beauty and the Beast” and “An Irish Christmas”, are performing on stage at the Harris Center Performing Arts Venue in November and December.

Visitors who book the Folsom Shopping Getaway package, available at six hotels, receive a $25 gift card to the Palladio at Broadstone Lifestyle Shopping Center along with a complimentary bottle of local wine, shopping and theatre discounts.

Amador County touramador.com

Located 45 miles southeast of Sacramento and 125 miles from San Francisco, Amador County is in the middle of Gold Country California, with Highways 49 and 88, providing north-south and east-west access.

Kirkwood Mountain resort’s unique location atop the Sierra Crest, 35 miles southwest of South Lake Tahoe, with elevations ranging from 7,800 to 9,800 feet, receives some of the lightest, driest, and most plentiful snowfall in the Lake Tahoe region. More than 2,300 acres of terrain, from calm beginner runs to hair-raising cornices and cliffs, including three unique terrain parks ranked by skill level, the “Wood” as locals call it, serves all ski enthusiasts. For more adventure, skiers can enjoy Expedition: Kirkwood for a more intimate experience, with private guides and backcountry offerings.

100% GuaranteeWhile everyone else is above ground, Amador County’s dazzling Black Chasm Cavern in Volcano, offers a below-ground wintery view of stalactites, draperies and helictites, and a beautiful turquoise lake. The Kennedy Mine, famous for being one of the deepest gold mines in the world, gives visitors an understanding of life in the Gold Rush era and how the precious gem changed lives. Tours are available, by reservation, year round. For hands-on gold panning, March through September, visit the Roaring Camp Mining Company in Pine Grove to see a gold mine in operation and join in to pan, sluice, dredge and dry wash – and keep the nuggets. (Members of the Dirt of the Month Club can receive bags of dirt from mining, with possible gold remnants, on the first of each month.)

Amador County’s fifty-five wineries offer every possible range of taste. One way to navigate the options is to end a winter sports week with the annual Behind the Cellar Door, by the Amador Vintners Association, on March 7 and 8, 2015, which offers educational seminars, including Bray Vineyard’s “Hone your Sensory Skills”, Drytown Cellar’s “Exploring the Link Between Wine & Spirits” and Sera Fina Cellar’s “Winemaker Want-to-Be’s Rhone varietal blending.

Sutter Creek’s Parade of Lights strolls down Main Street on the evening of Dec. 13. Mail trucks, dogs, horses, baton twirlers and marching bands, adorned in lights, move along the historic Gold Rush street past local businesses, open for wine tasting and holiday shopping.

Calaveras County www.gocalaveras.com

Calaveras County sits in the midst of California’s historic Gold Country with a history of inspiration for gold rush hopefuls in 1848 and later, Mark Twain and his story:” The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” It is located in the Sierra Foothills appellation featuring spectacular winter scenery at high elevations.

 The Ultimate Online Ski Shop With 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed! Skis.com | Shop Now >Bear Valley Mountain Resort is a friendly and relaxing High Sierra ski resort in the beautiful Central Sierra Mountains. Located just off Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway (Highway 4), this destination offers everything from relaxation to extreme adventure. Winter activities include downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and sledding.

This area includes the only wilderness trail system in California with snowmobiles for rent from Bear Valley Snowmobile. World class cross country skiing with snowshoeing, sledding and tubing options are available through Bear Valley Cross County which maintains 38 groomed trails, 4 trailside huts and the trailside Meadow Café. Visitors with their own equipment may head to two U.S. Forest Service winter recreational snow play areas; Lake Alpine Sno-Park and Spicer Reservoir Sno-Park.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, featuring spectacular Giant Sequoia trees is a magical place to visit in the winter on a pair of snowshoes. Loaners are available free of charge from park rangers while supply lasts, but it’s best to bring a set and plan to take the Saturday guided tour (1 p.m. throughout winter.) A lovely and welcome amenity is a warming hut with hot chocolate and cider. The Annual Winter Wonderland Carnival in December features horse-drawn carriage rides and live music.

Two dates worth noting: the quaint town of Murphys’ Holiday Open House and Festival of Wines, Dec. 4 and Santa’s rappelling descent to the bottom of Moaning Cavern, Dec. 13. Multiple lodging options are available in the Arnold, Dorrington and Bear Valley areas including the Arnold Black Bear Inn and multiple cabin vacation rentals.

South – Yosemite Gateway Counties of Tuolumne, Mariposa and Madera, including Yosemite National Park

Tuolumne County www.yosemitegoldcountry.com

Oakley - Free Shipping - Shop OnlineAn easy two-and-a-half-hour drive east of San Francisco, Tuolumne County features beautiful terrain from near sea level to high elevations over 10,000 feet well and the closest entrance to Yosemite National Park from the Bay Area.

Dodge Ridge Winter Sports is a perfect family snow destination with a Family Lodge catering to the needs of children. Intro to Snow – Kinder Ski and Ride programs are offered along with adaptive lessons for all ages.

The iconic area of Pinecrest, at approximately 5,600 feet elevation, offers snowshoeing around the lake. Generations of families visit the year-round resorts. A must on the schedule is a visit to the Steam Donkey, an Alpine steakhouse at Pinecrest Lake Resort (named for the equipment which hauled logs to the railroad cars.)

Long Barn Ice Skating Arena, another multi-generational tradition, located in the town of Long Barn off Highway 108, offers skating every weekend from November through April, and daily during holidays and school breaks.

A winter highlight is being in the still, snow-blanketed forest with only the sound of wind in high branches and the thump-crunch of snowshoes. The Stanislaus National Forest, located between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park, offers a full range of year-round recreation opportunities. A network of forest roads and trails encourages the discovery of nature for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing.

This year, the popular Polar Express train ride, created after the book and movie, will roll through Tuolumne County, at Railtown – 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown. The chocolate pajama ride runs Fridays through Sundays during December. A range of accommodations, from affordable cabins, historic hotels, motels, bed & breakfast inns and hotel casino action, is available at the Tuolumne County website.

Mariposa County www.YosemiteExperience.com

Mariposa County, home of Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove, features world-class natural wonders along with charming, authentic Gold Rush-era towns and lush pine forests close to its western and southern border.

Mariposa County offers breathtaking beauty of Yosemite Valley, more than 20 miles of cross-country skiing on a groomed trail to the some of the most sublime views in the world, and snowshoeing in the majestic Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.

When the snows gather around Half Dome’s iconic north face, it’s time for a visit to Badger Pass Ski Area, the most affordable ski resort in California. At Badger Pass, parents can watch from the warmth of the sundecks as their kids hit the slopes. Badger Pass features 10 runs, many that are ideal for beginning skiers and snow boarders, plus a few that are reserved for the more advanced. Stay and Ski packages make it easy to experience the luxury of The Ahwahnee Hotel or the family-friendly Curry Village. Ski lift tickets are included with a two-night stay.

Visitors looking for an easy trip to the Yosemite Valley Floor might consider staying in the towns of Mariposa or Midpines, and let YARTS, the regional bus system do the driving. This is a no-hassle (and chain-free) ride that delivers visitors to the heart of Yosemite Valley, for walks around the valley trails, views of icy Yosemite Falls, the cozy fireplace at The Ahwahnee Hotel, or ice-skating at Curry Village, a seasonal tradition. Mariposa offers a range of great dining options, plus wine-tasting and breweries, and is home to the Pioneer History Museum, the California State Mining and Mineral Museum, and antique shopping in the Old Town district.

Outside the park entrance at Fish Camp, winter sports include daily horse-drawn sleigh rides, s’mores around a campfire, ice skating or spa treatments, at Tenaya Lodge.

Madera County www.YosemiteThisYear.com

Madera County, located in the San Joaquin Valley 60 miles north of Fresno, is known as “California’s Gateway to Yosemite” offering some of the most iconic spots along the way.

Dotting the landscape are a variety of restaurants featuring locally grown ingredients, award-winning wineries along the Madera Wine Trail, art galleries and museums that create the desire to slow down and linger a while. The Madera Wine Trail has 12 distinctive, hospitable wineries spanning from Madera to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

Explore the beauty and quiet of the Sierra National Forest on Whisky Snowmobile Trail, a 35-mile route through the forest following logging roads. Goat Meadow Winter Sports Area is a popular stop in a picture-postcard setting and is perfect for impromptu hill sledding on tubes, sleds and anything an active imagination can conjure up.

Winetasting is also a winter sport here. Explore the Madera Wine Trail’s February Wine and Chocolate Weekend, Feb. 14 and 15, for local wines, chocolate pairings, live music and foods.

Bass Lake, named by Sunset Magazine as one of the “West’s Best Lakes”, offers year round fishing, with lakeside cabins and boats for rent.

Before you go:

Up-to-the-minute snow information is available at http://www.onthesnow.com/sierra-nevada/skireport.html with listings of each ski resort’s snow base and lift availability. The site also offers a “powder alert” and notification of which resorts have received more than 8 inches of snow in the past 14 hours. Each county’s noted website provides lodging options, many dog-friendly, and activities information. For more information, go to www.calgold.org

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Firsts For 2014/15 Winter Season New ‘Ready To Heli’ Course And Winter

December 17, 2014 on 3:06 pm | In Skiing Snowboarding | Comments Off



 The Ultimate Online Ski Shop With 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed! Skis.com | Shop Now >With the 2014/15 winter season just around the corner, Nonstop Ski & Snowboard – specialist in performance camps and instructor courses in Western Canada’s powder-heavy resorts – has launched a variety of new breaks.

These include the industry’s first one week ‘Ready to Heli’ course as well as ski and snowboard improvement camps in Revelstoke, British Columbia’s rising star. Also new this season will be the chance for clients on short camps in Fernie B.C. to ride the lifts before they open to the public, as well as a unique winter camping experience.* Prices start from £1,240 per person for a one week improvement camp in Fernie, staying at the Red Tree Lodge.

The Ultimate Powder Fix: ‘Ready to Heli’ Camp – Fernie, British Columbia

The ultimate off-piste adventure, this one week course will teach you all you need to know to master skiing or riding in untouched powder. Taking you from a relative off-piste novice to being dropped at the top of a mountain by helicopter in just one week, this is the first camp of its kind to offer ‘Ready to Heli’ tuition for skiers and snowboarders over just seven days.

This one week camp combines four days of intensive off-piste coaching from a specialist Nonstop instructor, including an exhilarating day CAT skiing, gliding through untracked powder.

The course comes to a climax with the ultimate adrenaline rush, a day with the prestigious rk heliski in the Purcell Mountain range, famed for its dry and light snowfall and the highest landings in Canadian heliskiing. With the ideal preparation, you will confidently make fresh tracks down some of the finest pristine powder in Western Canada, whether it’s on the open glacier runs or through the glades.

100% GuaranteePrices start from £1,950pp for the ’1 Week Ready to Heli Camp’ available to both skiers and snowboarders, based on two sharing. Most guests are solo travellers, who are matched up with suitable roommates. The price includes 7 nights’ accommodation on a B&B basis, three evening meals, lift pass for Fernie Alpine Resort, airport transfers and all tuition and activities as per itinerary. Price excludes flights, but Nonstop can assist with flight arrangements as an optional extra. Course runs from Saturday 28 February to Saturday 7 March 2015.

www.nonstopsnow.com/courses/1-week-ready-to-heli-ski-camp-fernie

www.nonstopsnow.com/courses/1-week-ready-to-heli-snowboard-course-fernie

New Resort: B.C’s Rising Star – Revelstoke

Despite boasting the longest vertical in North America and over 3,000 acres of pristine terrain, Revelstoke has very much remained an off-the-beaten track resort reserved for those in the know. The laid-back vibe and impressive snow record has led to Nonstop introducing its first two week performance camp here for the 2014/15 winter season; offering those keen to improve their skiing or snowboarding the opportunity to spend a fortnight receiving tuition from senior Nonstop coaches.

Improve your technique and confidence with this two week course that’s big on terrain and offers more untracked powder than you can imagine. With lift, CAT, heli and backcountry ski and snowboarding on offer from the one base, it’s easy to see why Revelstoke is creating quite a buzz.

Prices start from £2,445pp for the ’2 Week Improvement Camp’ at Revelstoke for both skiers and snowboarders based on two sharing. It includes 14 nights’ accommodation on a B&B basis, six evening meals, eight days of professional coaching with a specialist Nonstop instructor, lift pass for Revelstoke Mountain Resort and optional days of CAT and heli skiing. Price excludes flights, but Nonstop can assist with flight arrangements as an optional extra. Course runs from Saturday 31 January- Saturday 14 February 2015.

www.nonstopsnow.com/courses/2-week-ski-improvement-camp-revelstoke

www.nonstopsnow.com/courses/2-week-snowboard-improvement-camp-revelstoke

Backcountry.com Winter ClearanceSleep Under the Stars in Your Own Snow Cave – Fernie, B.C.

Nonstop is now offering Winter Camping as an optional extra on all three week ski and snowboard camps. Intrepid adventurers will be offered the opportunity to learn how to build a snow cave before venturing outside the resort boundaries, choosing a spot and building their very own in which to spend a cosy night under the stars, with all gear provided.

Awake with the sunrise the next morning, put on your skis or snowboard and make fresh tracks back down to the resort for a warming breakfast – a truly unique addition to your performance camp experience.

Price for the Winter Camping experience is £60pp, whilst three week ski and snowboard improvement camps start from £3,195pp based on two sharing excluding flights. Camps run from 20 December 2014 until 4 April 2015.

www.nonstopsnow.com/ski-holidays-and-camps

www.nonstopsnow.com/snowboard-holidays-and-camps

Make First Tracks

Another addition to Nonstop’s winter breaks includes new ‘First Tracks’ experiences on all one, two and three week camps in Fernie. Participants have the opportunity to ride the lifts before anyone else at the resort and make literal fresh tracks in the resort’s legendary powder.

Free Shipping Over $50* at Altrec.com!Transform Your Skiing or Snowboarding

Nonstop offers a choice of ski and snowboard improvement camps for one, two and three week durations, as well as a two week Snow Safari taking in some of the best resorts in Western Canada and a six week off-piste ‘Master the Mountain’ camp. All courses are suitable for those keen to improve their technique on-piste and bumps, as well as mastering skiing or riding powder with new found confidence and skill.

A wide range of Canada’s premium locations are offered; Nonstop runs improvement camps in Fernie, Revelstoke and Banff as well as instructor courses in Fernie, Red Mountain and Banff. Snow Safaris venture further around the Powder Triangle and across to the West Coast giant of Whistler Blackcomb.

*Prices start from £1,240 per person for a one week improvement camp in Fernie, staying at Red Tree Lodge on a twin share basis. The price includes B&B accommodation, a full week’s ski instruction (4 days of coaching and weekly technical sessions on topics including ski tuning, stretching, and nutrition) as well as a six day lift pass, 3 dinners and return airport transfers to and from Calgary International Airport. There is a choice of date ranges from 20 December 2014 for the forthcoming season.

These sociable holidays in the world’s most powder-heavy resorts are designed to transform an individual’s skiing or snowboarding ability over anything from one to six weeks.

To book go to www.nonstopsnow.com  or call UK: +44 (0)1225 632 165; Canada: +1 250 423 4622 or

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Adelboden, Switzerland, opens for winter ski season‏

December 17, 2014 on 9:16 am | In Skiing Snowboarding, Switzerland | Comments Off



Backcountry.com Winter ClearanceAdelboden, the third most popular ski area in Switzerland, opens for the winter season

Switzerland, – The picturesque – and little-known – Swiss ski resort of Adelboden opened for the winter season over the weekend, with six inches of snow falling last week to make sure conditions were perfect for the first day’s skiing.

Adelboden overview in winter – email.jpg Adelboden main street – email cropped.jpg
Overview of Adelboden; view of resort’s main street

Little-known it might be to the wider world, but when Mountain Management Consulting and the University of Innsbruck asked 47,935 skiers and snowboarders “Where is the best place to ski?” in November 2014, Adelboden, which is located in the Bernese Oberland, was revealed as the third most popular ski area in Switzerland – with Zermatt in first place – and sixth best in the Europe, beating several better known ski areas such as Saas-Fee and Val Gardena.

Adelboden, however, is determined to make its mark this season. Along with the rest of Switzerland, it is celebrating 150 years of winter tourism, having played its part in its development as the destination for the first packaged winter sports holiday, which was organised by Sir Henry Lunn, one of the founders of Lunn Poly, in 1903. To celebrate, the resort will be staging several events with a fun and historic twist.

Free Shipping Over $50* at Altrec.com!On Sunday 15 February, there will be Horned Sledge races down the FIS Ski World Cup run at Chuenisbargli. In days gone by, hay was stored in special barns high up in the mountains before being transported down the valley in winter by farmers on huge horned sledges. In 2015, 100 teams dressed in old-fashioned clothes will race down the mountains at break-neck speeds as they negotiate the perilous and winding descent, in an attempt to be the fastest team home.

Horned sledges.jpg Hickory skiing.jpg
Horned sledge races; Hickory ski meeting

The following month, on Sunday 29 March, there will be a traditional Hickory Ski meeting on Adelboden’s Engstligenalp, the largest plateau in western Switzerland that lies at 1900 to 2000 metres. Participants will be on hickory wood skis, the forerunners to modern skis, and traditional sledges, dressed in clothes of a bygone era. If you want to join in the fun and turn up in costume with old wooden skis, you’ll be able to use the ski lifts for free!

The resort has also put together a special package – Adelboden Time Traveller – that offers visitors a chance to sample Adelboden as it was in 1864. It includes two nights’ accommodation on a B&B basis, a two-day ski pass, private telemark skiing lessons, a full-body massage and a traditional meal in the Aebi mountain restaurant. Prices start from CHF562 (approx £370) per person.

 The Ultimate Online Ski Shop With 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed! Skis.com | Shop Now >Getting to Adelboden from south-east England is easy for snow sports enthusiasts with flights from London Southend to Berne (just a 45-minute drive from Adelboden) with Swiss airline Skywork (www.flyskywork.com ), making even a weekend ski break a distinct possibility. Alternatively, a number of airlines fly from various UK airports to Zurich, from where it’s a 2 hour, 45 minute journey to Adelboden.

For more information on Adelboden, please visit www.adelboden.ch

Notes for editors

Adelboden, with a population of just over 3,500, lies in the west of the Bernese Oberland, at the end of the Engstlige valley. It is a traditional, south-facing Swiss mountain resort, filled to the rafters with wooden chalets that look over to the Engstligen waterfalls (the second longest falls in Switzerland). Adelboden’s main street lies at 1,350 m (4,430 ft), while the highest point in the area, the Grossstrubel, reaches 3,242 m (10,636 ft).

Skiing Adelboden-Lenk; general vista; building at igloo

In 1903, Adelboden was the destination of the first packaged winter sports holiday, which was organised by Sir Henry Lunn, one of the founders of Lunn Poly. The Adelboden-Frutigen-Lenk ski region remains a tempting destination for winter sport enthusiasts. On offer are winter hiking and cross-country skiing trails, as well as a snow park, a free ride arena, freestyle runs, tobogganing trails, dog sled rides, snow tubing, igloo-building classes and the chance to try out a skibock (a sawn down ski with a seat) that was created in Adelboden. Ski runs vary in degrees of difficulty, from beginner slopes to the World Cup giant slalom run on the Chuenisbargli.

In total, 72 high-performance transport facilities provide access to a piste network of just over 210 kilometres, which have received the international ski area test quality seal.

Tourism in Adelboden is especially suitable for families. Adelboden has 28 hotels (ranging from 4* superior to B&Bs) with 1585 beds, 3800 vacation homes with 7,600 beds, 30 group accommodations with 1835 beds, 3 camp sites and 21 restaurants offering a wide range of cuisines, from traditional Swiss to fast food to Asian.

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YTL HOTELS’ HIGHLY ANTICIPATED KASARA NISEKO VILLAGE TOWNHOUSE

December 17, 2014 on 9:08 am | In Asia, Japan, Skiing Snowboarding | Comments Off



Backcountry.com Winter ClearanceALONGSIDE NEW SHOPPING ND DINING EXPERIENCES IN NISEKO VILLAGE

To the delight of discerning powder hounds across the globe, YTL Hotels has officially launched the luxury Kasara Niseko Village Townhouse and a fresh dining and retail concept in the award-winning Niseko Village. The group’s highly anticipated new developments in the mountain resort were unveiled this week before an international collection of members of the media, local officials and distinguished guests.

Guests at the launch weekend were serenaded by the Freddy Cole Quartet, specially flown in from the US for the celebration. Dato’ Mark Yeoh, Executive Director of YTL Hotels said, “The new developments at Niseko Village truly redefine the luxury Asian alpine experience. The authentic, timeless elegance of our Kasara Niseko Village Townhouse coupled with exciting shopping and dining experiences will enhance Niseko Village’s image and further appeal to skiers and tastemakers from across the region, if not the world. These are just the first steps of our long term plan which will develop our already award-winning Niseko Village into the most sought-after mountain resort in Asia – offering not just great summer and winter activities and unique accommodation choices, but also shopping, entertainment and dining experiences.”

The first phase of Kasara Niseko Village Townhouse consists of eight exclusive double storey ski-in, ski-out townhouses just a heartbeat away from ski runs and lifts. The architectural style is an ode to the heritage townhouses of late Edo period in Japan while skillfully maintaining the precarious balance between traditional form and contemporary function. Comfortably accommodating up to six adults, each townhouse features three luxurious bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a fully equipped designer kitchen and a tatami-floored dining area that can be converted, Japanese-style, to accommodate two futons for children if required. Skiers and snowboarders will find plenty of space to stow away equipment within the heated storage room. Self-driving visitors can park their vehicles in the privacy of their own garages.

Beyond booking the townhouses for short term stays, guests may also opt to purchase these freehold residences for private ownership or long term investments. YTL Hotels, with their acclaimed hospitality and international networks will support homeowners in managing and leasing the townhouses for year round investment returns. With more residences planned in the future, it will be a rare privilege to be amongst the first to own a piece of Niseko Village. There are also no restrictions on foreign ownership of these resort homes.

Residents of Kasara Niseko Village Townhouse can also take advantage of the priority privileges offered including the personal residence concierge on-hand to assist with winter activities and restaurant reservations; complimentary driver-on-call service within Niseko Village; in-residence ski and snowboard fittings, a complimentary exclusive morning mountain induction with an experienced instructor and complimentary onsen use and cross-signing facilities at the neighbouring Hilton Niseko Village and The Green Leaf Niseko Village.

Additional chargeable services include a stocked kitchen upon arrival and during stay, in-residence child minding services, overnight ski and snowboard waxing services, and in-residence sports massages.

Niseko Village’s main pulse, the village is where traditional and contemporary concepts converge to offer world-class restaurants and bars, designer boutiques, artworks and cultural events. The new dining experiences offered here are pleasant respites from mountainous adventures. Reminiscent of a springtime garden within a winter wonderland, the Village Patisserie serves an array of pastries, chocolates and delicate Japanese cakes alongside gourmet beverages. Those who prefer stiffer drinks and nightly live entertainment will enjoy Two Sticks, the Asian tapas bar with a rustic twist to the cuisine or indulge in Hokkaido-style, seafood market-inspired fare at The Crab Shack. Finally, casual Japanese classics such as sushi, tempura and teppanyaki are represented with Hokkaido’s freshest ocean produce at Yang Shu Ten.

The village is also set to become a year-round shoppers’ paradise. Catering to the needs of skiers and snowboarders who frequent the area, i Gate Ikeuchi stocks gear and apparel for outdoor activities and eco sports, while Made-In-Japan beauty and fashion products at i Zone Ikeuchi represent the finest in locally made items. For Hokkaido-sourced souvenirs, the Otaru Taisho Glass Palace offers a range of glassware created by eight renowned glass artists from the nearby town of Otaru.

Winner of the ‘Best Ski Resort in Japan’ for the second consecutive year as voted by international experts at the World Ski Awards in Austria in November 2014, Niseko United is set to attract even more guests as YTL Hotels further enhances its offerings at Niseko Village. Additionally, the ski resort is set to welcome Epic Season Pass holders for the first time this 2014/2015 white season. The first of its kind in Asia, this partnership with Vail Resorts will enable Epic Season Pass holders to experience a complimentary five consecutive day lift pass to a combined area of 2,191 acres of skiable terrain in Niseko United; Niseko United All Mountain Season Pass holders will be entitled to a five consecutive day lift pass at any of the Vail Resorts, a great way for beginners and expert powder-hounds to take advantage of White Season.

To plan your winter sojourn at Kasara Niseko Village Townhouse, peruse rates and deals on our website or contact our YTL Concierge at ytl.concierge@ytlhotels.com.my. Find out more about Niseko Village at www.niseko-village.com

About Niseko Village

Nestled at the south base of the 1308m Mount Niseko Annupuri, Niseko Village is Japan’s premier year-round integrated mountain resort. Often compared to other world-class ski resorts like Aspen in Colorado and Niseko’s sister city, St. Moritz in Switzerland, Niseko Village comprises of the Hilton Niseko Village – voted ‘Best Ski Resort Hotel in Japan’ by World Ski Awards 2013 and 2014, The Green Leaf Niseko Village, two resort golf courses including one designed by Arnold Palmer, and the Niseko Village skifield – known the world over for its fluffy, dry powder snow at low-altitude, variety of ski terrains, the world-class Niseko Village Snow School and the acclaimed Niseko Kids™ programmes.

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Bountiful New Snow Covers Colorado Ski Country USA Resorts‏

December 16, 2014 on 3:00 pm | In Rockies, Skiing Snowboarding | Comments Off



Backcountry.com Winter ClearancePowdery Conditions to Thrill Skiers and Snowboarders in Colorado’s High Country

Denver, Colo. – Dec. 15, 2014 – A major snowstorm came through Colorado this weekend as skiers and snowboarders celebrated deep powder conditions on the slopes of Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) ski resorts.

The storm was widespread, depositing significant accumulation at the nineteen CSCUSA resorts that have opened for the 2014-15 season. Seven resorts welcomed more than a foot of new snow in the last 48 hours, with Winter Park leading the way with 19 inches of fresh powder. Monarch and Steamboat each measured 17 inches of new snow, Telluride reported 15 inches, Snowmass recorded fourteen inches, and Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort and Copper Mountain each received a foot.

Elsewhere in Ski Country, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, and Ski Cooper each accumulated 11 inches of new snowfall, Aspen Highlands and Eldora welcomed 10 inches, Wolf Creek reported 9 inches, and Loveland received 8 inches. Arapahoe Basin and Ski Granby Ranch each reported 6 inches, while Crested Butte, Sunlight, and Howelsen each measured 4 inches of new snow.

Skiers and riders will find soft snow throughout Colorado Ski Country, and more accumulation is possible later in the week. Keep up to date on snowfall totals with the CSCUSA snow report updated by the resorts themselves: http://www.coloradoski.com/snow-report



Deadwood Snowmobile Rally January 29- February 1

December 16, 2014 on 2:47 pm | In Rockies, Skiing Snowboarding | Comments Off



Free Shipping Over $50* at Altrec.com!Snowmobile Rally participants will be able to attend a number of events, including meet-and-greet party with the ISOC racers, a display of antique snowmobiles on Deadwood’s Main Street and a Deadwood-style tailgate party for football fans. Free gifts and lodging discounts are also available to rally goers.

In addition, registered attendees receive tickets for two days and nights of ISOC Amsoil Championship SnoCross racing, welcome reception, free drinks, commemorative items and discounts. Riders will also be able to test their own skills on the SnoCross track for demonstration runs on Sunday, the day after the races.

Call 800-999-1876 to register or visit www.DeadwoodSnowmobileRally.com for more information.

2015 ISOC returns to Deadwood
The greatest show on snow is returning to Deadwood January 30-31, as the ISOC Amsoil Championship SnoCross Series hits the Black Hills. More than 150 of the top professional SnoCross racers will descend on the Days of ’76 Rodeo Grounds for two full days of high-flying, high-speed races during the Deadwood Snocross Shootout. The Deadwood Chamber is hosting the event, and tickets are on sale NOW, by calling 1-800-344-8826 or heading to www.deadwood.com/events/ioscsnocrossshootout/.

Check out www.isocracing.com for more info on ISOC Snocross Racing.

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Black Hills Ski Areas Open Full Time

December 16, 2014 on 2:45 pm | In Rockies, Skiing Snowboarding | Comments Off



Oakley - Free Shipping - Shop OnlineTerry Peak
Stewart Lift, Sunrise Express Lift and the covered Snow Carpet are operating. Those lifts will allow access to all runs from Stewart Slope to Surprise–including four features in the Terrain Park. Additionally, the Stewart Lodge, Rental Equipment Shop and Mountain Shop are open. For those visitors looking to develop or improve their skills, Terry Peak’s Snow Sports Center are offering a full schedule of ski and snowboard lessons. Season Pass holders may obtain their passes in Guest Services located near Stewart Lodge.

Ski Mystic
Offers 6,850 foot summit of premier skiing, snowboarding, Zero Gravity Tube Park and 44 trails within five minutes of Lead/Deadwood.

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Snow Sports Season On CairnGorm Mountain‏

December 16, 2014 on 10:46 am | In Adventure Travel, Skiing Snowboarding, United Kingdom, Wales | Comments Off




As the snow begins to fall, snow sports enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting the first opportunity to hit the slopes on CairnGorm Mountain this winter, which looks promising for this weekend. Visitors this season will be able to enjoy some of the exciting improvements already made since Natural Retreats took over operation of the resort earlier this year. The snow sports season typically runs from December through to April, depending on weather conditions.

Natural Retreats, the specialist leisure and travel company, have been quick to put into effect an ambitious £6.2 million five-year development plan for CairnGorm Mountain since their appointment. The Day Lodge and Top Station have both had exciting facelifts ready for this Winter Season, a key lift has been upgraded, improved benefits introduced for Season Pass holders and Natural Retreats continues its commitment to two local charities.

Day Lodge Redevelopment

Situated at base of the mountain close to all of the lifts, Day Lodge is a CairnGorm hub. Fully refurbished ahead of the 2014/15 Winter Season, Day Lodge is now a contemporary and stylish venue offering a superb retail space on the ground floor known as Natural Retreats Outfitters, Mountain Base and a fantastic eatery, Natural Retreats Storehouse, on the first floor.

At Natural Retreats Outfitters, Mountain Base, visitors are able to stock up on everything they could need for a holiday exploring the great outdoors. High quality outdoor clothing, ski-wear, footwear, equipment and accessories from leading brands such as Helly Hansen and Hunter, a range of memorable souvenirs and gifts.

Backcountry.com Winter ClearanceOn the first floor, Natural Retreats Storehouse has a relaxed, laid back vibe with an open fire and large windows that really make the most of the stunning mountain views. Guests can sample the best local produce and provisions, stock up at a co-operative shop and enjoy a Starbucks coffee. Catering to many tastes, the Storehouse offers breakfast, lunch and heartier meals such as stone baked pizzas. There is also a dedicated ‘Best of Scotland’ range, including Scottish beef burgers and smoky seafood platters. A selection of local beers and ales, as well as a great wine list, ensures guests can find their perfect tipple to sit back and relax with while admiring one of the country’s most spectacular backdrops.

Top Station Refurbishment

Both the Ptarmigan Restaurant and the Shop at the Top have been refurbished and relaunched as 1097 and the retail area as The Outfitters, Mountain Top. The entire space has been redecorated with new furniture, fixtures and fittings to create a chic mountain-top venue.

1097 gives a nod towards the incredible height of the top station, which measures 1097 metres making this the UK’s highest restaurant by some way! Natural Retreats have created a place where guests can truly relax, unwind and admire the breathtaking views. 1097 offers an unbeatable dining experience, offering a contemporary yet rustic setting, the finest dishes made with fresh and local ingredients, delicious hot beverages and an incredibly well-stocked bar for après-ski enjoyment. 1097 will continue to be available as the ultimate wedding venue, offering the happy couple and their guests an experience they’ll never forget.

Much like its sister store at the Mountain Base, The Outfitters, Mountain Top offers visitors a fantastic shopping experience. The larger of the two stores, this space offers a more varied range of clothing, footwear and accessories, as well as a great range of branded souvenirs and gifts.

Upgrades to Lifts

An initial upgrade has already been undertaken, with more to follow later next year. The Shieling ski-tow has been replaced with a modern rope tow optimised for beginner skiers and boarders, providing more comfortable and easier access to some nice sheltered nursery slopes (green runs). Natural Retreats also plan to install two new lifts in summer 2015.

Season Passes

Those lucky enough to live near to CairnGorm Mountain, or those planning regular visits this winter season, should opt for a Season Pass allowing access to the mountain and all its lifts as frequently as you wish. For the first time, Season Pass members will receive a welcome pack, including a letter from the General Manager, new winter brochure with pull-out piste map and discount vouchers that can be redeemed on-site, a Season Pass benefit booklet which includes the exclusive discounts/offers available from the best businesses in Aviemore and surrounding area and a branded key-card – all contained in a smart, branded folder. An Adult Season Pass costs £430 (full price) / £310 (early bird).

The cost of a Junior Season Pass has been reduced from £205 (full price) /£135 (early bird) to £95 (full price) /£75 (early bird).

Improved Signage

Natural Retreats has enhanced signage and way-finding across the Resort to improve the visitor experience.

Instructor Qualifications

Natural Retreats have refined the instructor qualifications that are accepted for leading ski and snowboarding lessons on the Mountain in order to improve the quality of the visitor/student experience. Proof of qualifications must be shown before an Instructor Pass can be issued.

Charity Partners

“Natural Retreats strives to enable people to enjoy a way of life in a natural world, and we want to deliver world-class experiences at Cairngorm Mountain for everybody. We are big believers in access for all, and this remarkable landscape, thanks to the funicular, can be enjoyed by everyone, despite age or ability.” Matt Spence, founder and CEO of Natural Retreats.

Natural Retreats are working closely with two key charities – Disability Snowsport UK (DSUK) and Badenoch & Strathspey Schools Snowsports Association (BSSSA). Through ongoing daily fundraising, partner donations and events, Natural Retreats is committed to supporting these two important charities to ensure an increasing uptake of snowsports among all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

Disability Snowsport UK have been running their adaptive ski school on CairnGorm Mountain since 1995. It was the first successful full time adaptive ski school, catering for all disabilities, in Europe.

The BSSSA winter programme takes place annually in March. Nine local primary schools, over 150 pupils, are offered heavily subsidised skiing & snowboarding lessons on CairnGorm Mountain over four weeks. The programme is a great way to introduce children from all backgrounds to a sport that is a health promoting, positive and lifelong activity and a key part of their local heritage. The children gain self-confidence, make new friends as they prepare for the transition to secondary school and develop a sense of responsibility for themselves, others around them and the environment. Over the years, thousands of local children have benefitted from the programme.

Natural Retreats are excited to get their first Winter Season at CairnGorm Mountain underway. The UK’s largest and busiest skiing destination is now in the capable hands of Natural Retreats’ market-leading operational team, who have over 65 years of experience within Ski Resorts worldwide. Having been awarded a 25 year lease of CairnGorm Mountain, Natural Retreats have unveiled a £6.2m five year investment plan to elevate and establish the Resort as one of the leading leisure and adventure destinations in Europe. An exciting new chapter for Cairngorm Mountain and the local economy.

www.naturalretreats.com


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Fresh snow in the alpine as Whistler hosts holiday season‏

December 15, 2014 on 3:05 pm | In British Columbia, Canada, Labrador, Skiing Snowboarding | Comments Off



Backcountry.com Winter ClearanceWhistler, B.C. – Coastal storms have rolled through the mountains, delivering fresh snow in Whistler’s alpine.

Whistler and Blackcomb mountains welcomed 32 cm (12.5 inches, or more than a foot) of snow in the last 24 hours and it continues to snow today.

As a result, the Peak Chair and 7th Heaven Express will open this weekend, just in time to welcome the costume-clad skiers and riders who take part in the annual Dress Like Santa day on Whistler Blackcomb, dotting the slopes with flashes of red as versions of Santa and Mrs. Claus take to the slopes. The event has become a Whistler tradition, offering a free lift ticket to the first 100 people to arrive at the Garibaldi Lift Company in full Santa or Mrs. Claus attire.

December is a fantastic time to visit Whistler – the resort is well into the holiday spirit, with festive lights and wreaths adorning lamp standards and trees throughout the Village and events like the Whistler Holiday Experience, free family après and outdoor skating at Whistler Olympic Plaza welcoming locals and visitors alike.

Book your Whistler winter vacation with confidence at www.whistler.com, with stay and ski packages offering savings of up to 35 per cent. Stay and ski packages offer a range of options for early, mid and late-season stays. Whistler’s official central reservations website, and the ultimate online guide to Whistler, Whistler.com offers the largest and best accommodation selection and a best price guarantee.

Call 1.800.944.7853 to request a no-obligation quote from one of our in-resort travel consultants, or visit whistler.com for more details and offers.

Interested in an opportunity to win your Whistler winter vacation? Do you fancy yourself as a freedom finder, in search of a deep connection with nature and a desire to get “up close and personal” with alpine peaks? Perhaps you are an experience seeker – you like to push the boundaries and no adventure is off limits. Maybe you’re more of a moment hunter with a thirst for mountain culture. Whichever experience most fits the bill, be sure to enter the Welcome to Whistler contest for your chance to win your own unique Whistler experience.

Whistler is Canada’s premier year-round leisure and meeting destination located in the Coast Mountains 120 kilometres (75 miles) north of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Consistently rated the top ski resort in North America, Whistler was the Host Mountain Resort of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The resort offers an extensive range of accommodations totaling 10,000 bedrooms among 24 hotels as well as townhomes, condos, B&Bs and chalets. Whistler also boasts more than 100 restaurants and bars, 200 retail shops, 25 spas and countless activity options from world-renowned skiing and snowboarding, mountain biking and golf, to hiking, rock climbing, and watersports. The Resort Municipality of Whistler is home to a diverse community of more than 10,000 permanent residents.

Tourism Whistler is the member-based marketing and sales organization representing Whistler, operating the Whistler Conference Centre, Whistler Golf Club, Whistler Visitor Centre, as well as 1.800.944.7853 and whistler.com – Whistler’s official source for visitor bookings and information. As the convention and visitors bureau for the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Tourism Whistler represents more than 7,000 members who own, manage and operate properties or businesses on resort lands including hotels, restaurants, activity operators and retail shops.

Media can visit whistler.com/media for Whistler facts, media releases, story starters, local personality profiles and access to images and B-roll.

Broadcasters: Whistler now has the capability to take you live with our enhanced fibre network. The significantly expanded network of more than 200 kilometres of fibre optic cabling throughout the resort allows instant transmission of HD signals to any location at any time. Details on how to access, and book the fibre are available on our media site.

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