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Miscellaneous Sports

Monday, January 29, 2018

Run the Alps All of August

With a fantastic network of trail and huts, and a long history and appreciation of running, Switzerland is a trail runner’s dream. Mountain runners have been weaving their way along alp paths for decades, and are practically exalted here. Few people know these trails better than Doug Mayer, founder of Run the Alps. Mayer wrote me last week, claiming he has designed his most epic trip yet, a month-long adventure in the Alps. The includes a guided run along Switzerland’s remarkable Hardergrat, a trail run along the route of the Tour du Mont-Blanc, and through the Swiss Berner Oberland. You’ll also go behind the scenes at two of the greatest trail races in the world, Sierre-Zinal and the UTMB, and, of course, spend necessary R&R time at classic mountain spas. No wonder Mayer is calling this the greatest trail running vacation ever. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/29/18 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Get into the Winter Olympics Spirit at Lake Placid

The Olympic venues from the 1980 Games in Lake Placid are still used today for national and international competitions, and are open to the public. Visitors can tour many of the Olympic sites from the 1980 Games, including the chance to skate on the Olympic Speed Skating Oval, ski at Whiteface Mountain (site of all the Olympic downhill events) and take a bobsled ride (with an experienced driver) at the Olympics Sports Complex. The FIS 2018 Freestyle World Cup aerials competition (Jan. 19-20) and the Empire State Winter Games (Feb. 1-4) are two of the events leading to the Olympic Games in PyeongChang. Or head to the Lake Placid Training Center on February 24th for the USOC PyeongChang Olympic Winter Fest. You’ll get to meet and greet with former Olympic greats like speedskater Eric  Heiden and hockey player Jim Craig, dine on s’mores, and catch a concert by Third Eye Blind. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/16/18 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Bamboo Raft Down the Martha Brae River

While it’s easy to get sucked in at an all-inclusive property and never leave the premises, it would be a mistake not to escape the beach of Jamaica and visit the lush mountainous interior. One of my favorite things to do in the hillside is slowly amble down a river. A mere 20-minute drive from where we were staying at the Riu Reggae in Montego Bay, past the high school where the fastest man in the world attended, Usain Bolt, was the start of a 90-minute bamboo raft trip down the sinuous Martha Brae River. When we arrived, we could see the workers creating the rafts. After a quick rum punch, we met our captain and sat down on a raised seat to begin our descent down this shaded waterway. The shoreline was rich with fruit trees of every type imaginable, from bananas to cassava to mangos. There were also towering banyan trees with vines hanging down. Our guide poled past small houses along the river, offering a glimpse into rural Jamaican life. Just as quickly the ride was over, but we’ll be back in Jamaica hopefully soon for another relaxing river ride. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/27/17 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

New England Foliage Without the Crowds

 It’s still relatively warm in the region for the remainder of October and the foliage is peaking at least a week or two later than normal. So take advantage of the good weather to do one of these off-the-beaten-track activities in New England. My latest story for Yankee Magazine


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/24/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, November 04, 2016

Run the Alps Offers New Slate of Trips in 2017

Doug Mayer, founder of Run the Alps, one of the premier running outfitters in the world, sent me his list of 2017 trips this week. These sell out quickly, with many returning guests, so if there’s a trip you like, don’t wait too long to book. In Chamonix, France, even the Mayor is an ultrarunner. The famed alpine town at the base of Mont Blanc is also the world epicenter of trail running. Join Run the Alps for a week of running here, a trip to breathtaking Courmayeur, Italy, and if you want, take part in the Cross du Mont Blanc, one of the oldest trail races in the Alps. Their trip running the iconic route around Mont Blanc passes through three countries—France, Italy, and Switzerland. In Zermatt and Grindelwald, Run the Alps has revised their itineraries to fit a variety of trail running abilities. They’ve also secured entries into the Eiger and Ultraks trail race series, with races including distances of 10, 30, 50 and 101 km, if you’d like to take part in an Alps trail race. Who wouldn’t want to run with the Matterhorn as your backdrop? 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/04/16 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, December 03, 2015

Overnight Dogsled Trips with Mahoosuc Guide Service

Still don’t have plans for New Year’s Eve? Consider a 2 or 3-night getaway with Mahoosuc Guide Service to Umbagog Lake and the Mahoosuc Mountain region of Maine. You’ll have the rare chance to get lost in the wilderness without the masses during winter, breathing in the scent of pines in relative quietude, listening only to the pitter-patter of dogs’ legs running through the snow. Better yet, you get to cuddle with a team of soft-furred huskies. Mahoosuc Guide Service in Newry, Maine, made its debut 27 years ago and I’ve had the pleasure over the years to go on a dogsledding trip with them in winter and a paddling jaunt in the fall. So I can highly recommend them! Maine Registered Guides Polly Mahoney and her husband Kevin Slater lead overnight trips to Umbagog Lake on the New Hampshire border. Cost for the overnight tours start at $625 per person, including food, camping, winterized tents, and requisite doggies.  

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/03/15 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, June 12, 2015

Nova Scotia Week: Stand Up Paddleboarding at White Point Beach Resort

With its stunning seascape, sheltered coves, and vast array of sealife and birdlife, Nova Scotia is blessed with some of the best sea kayaking imaginable. I had the good fortune to sea kayak in Cape Breton on my last trip and will be kayaking Lobster Bay from Ye Olde Argyle Lodge tomorrow afternoon. Before that jaunt, however, I wanted to try a sport growing in popularity in the province, stand up paddleboarding. The classic summer retreat, White Point Beach Resort, is best known for the Atlantic Ocean surf that crashes ashore on the 1-kilometer long stretch of beach. Just inside the beach is Doggett’s Pond, a freshwater lake that’s ideally suited for SUP. I ventured out on the water with Glenn Parlee, owner of Liverpool Adventure Outfitters. Glenn’s been in the outdoor recreation business since 1985, taking full advantage of his spectacular locale to take folks biking along the shores of Liverpool, canoeing in the Mersey River, sea kayaking to one of the many desolate off-shore islands, and hiking In Kejimkujik National Park. Yesterday, we skirted the shoreline of Dockett Pond as he showed me some draw strokes, J strokes and sweeps to better guide the sturdy boards. We spent about an hour out on the lake by our lonesome watching a line of ducks swim by our side. The scenery was enchanting, the fragrant pines and paddling invigorating. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/12/15 at 05:00 AM
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Monday, January 26, 2015

My Favorite Winter Outdoor Picks in Eastern Massachusetts

If you missed yesterday’s Boston Globe, I was interviewed by writer Brion O’Connor and asked to divulge some of my favorite locals jaunts in winter. Strolling Broadmoor, World’s End, Arnold Arboretum, Walden Pond, and Mt. Auburn Cemetery; skiing Wachusett; tubing Nashoba; even frostbite sailing with the Boston Sailing Center made it into the story. Have a look! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/26/15 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, May 08, 2014

Tidal Bore Rafting in Nova Scotia

I had drinks last night with a group of hotel owners, restaurateurs, wine makers, boutique chocolate shop purveyors, maple syrup bottlers, and lobster suppliers in town from Nova Scotia. They were going on a culinary tour from Boston to Portland, led by one of my favorite people in the travel biz, Chris Miranda at Redpoint. They were here to hopefully gain inspiration from their cohorts on this side of the border. Not that they need it. I actually think Nova Scotia already has a lot more to offer than Massachusetts like a great public market and an award-winning wine region. They also served as regional ambassadors to Nova Scotia, now that the ferry is once again cruising from Portland, Maine to Nova Scotia this summer. I was asked by Chris to meet them for a drink and talk about the best ways to get press for their respective businesses. 
 
While talking about Nova Scotia, I remembered one of my favorite outings in the province, tidal bore rafting. At high tide standing on a sandbar, we heard the deafening surge of water before we saw the white crest atop the wave. Then we jumped into a motored zodiac before the sandbar completely disappeared with the onslaught of water. 
 
That’s when the excitement begins. The strength of the tide causes the flow of the river to shift directions and create standing waves. At first the waves were small, in the 5 to 7 foot range. Yet, as the water continued to pour in, the standing waves reached heights of 12 to 14 feet. We motored through as the succession of waves swamped the zodiac with the brownish mix of water. Thankfully the zodiac self-bails, so as soon as the water in the raft spilled back into the river, we would motor through another series of towering waves, getting soaked and laughing our asses off on each run. After about 30 minutes, the water reaches its high point and the waves subside. For an encore, we crawled up the soft muddy banks of the river and slid down on our stomachs. I loved every minute of it and ended up penning a story for Men’s Journal. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/08/14 at 10:00 AM
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Thursday, April 03, 2014

Run the Alps

Great news from Doug Mayer, founder of Run the Alps. He has teamed with the highly reputable Swiss outfitter, Alpinehikers, to create two outstanding running trips to the Alps this summer and fall. With a fantastic network of trail and huts, and a long history and appreciation of running, Switzerland is a trail runner’s dream. Mountain runners have been weaving their way along alp paths for decades, and are practically exalted here. Be prepared to be greeted with an Allez-Allez! as you run by local farmers. If you opt for the summer trip, you’ll be eligible to participate in one of the most famous trail races in the world, the 31 km Sierre-Zanal, where you run along a high alp ridge to the remote village of Zinal. The fall trip will take you to the mountain towns of Zermatt and Grindelwald. Both trips are designed to accommodate a range of trail runners, from intermediate to advanced. You don’t need to be hardcore to have a great time. Run the Alps will have two guides and will offer a variety of opportunities throughout the trip to hike or take a break to soak in the stunning scenery. Expect easier options to be 6-8 miles with about 2000 feet of elevation gain and loss. Longer days will be planned for 15-20 miles with 3000 to 6000 feet of elevation gain and loss. Talk about a phenomenal experience! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/03/14 at 10:00 AM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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