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Skiing

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

The Latest Changes at California Ski Slopes for the Upcoming Season

Last year’s El Nino did bring much needed snow to drought-stricken California last season but skiers are still waiting for a serious dumping. Mammoth opens in two days and has added a new hike-in terrain park featuring jumps and platforms built of snow throughout the Hemlock Ridge. They’re also ramping up other activities like high-speed tubing, snowcat tours, and a scenic gondola ride. World Cup ski racing returns to Squaw March 9-12, the first time since 1969. A new Squaw mobile app offers advance purchase of lift tickets and allows skiers to track their friends and other members of the family on the slopes. Legendary Badger Pass has been renamed Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area. With a vertical drop of only 800 feet, this is still one of the best places in the state to learn how to ski. This being Yosemite, take advantage of your surroundings. A short snowshoe trek into Mariposa Grove and you’ll be making snow angels at the roots of 200-foot sequoia trees. Cross-country skiers will cherish the ten miles of groomed track that leads to 7,000-foot high Glacier Point. Ice skaters can swirl around the Curry Village rink dwarfed by the majestic cliff walls of Half Dome.

 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/08/16 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, November 07, 2016

The Latest Changes at Vermont Ski Slopes for the Upcoming Season

Thursday is the annual Boston Ski Show, when I meet reps from ski areas around New England, Canada, and the Western US. Last week’s news that 14 ski areas including Jiminy Peak in Massachusetts, Loon Mountain and Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire, Okemo Mountain in Vermont, and Sunday River and Sugarloaf in Maine have been sold to a hedge fund manager in New York will certainly be the hot conversation topic, but there’s a slew of other noteworthy topics at ski resorts around the country that I want to discuss this week. We’ll start with Vermont. 

 
Killington Resort is bringing Alpine World Cup skiing back to the eastern US for the first time in 25 years when the Audi FIS Ski World Cup takes place November 26-27. Giant Slalom and Slalom races will put the best female technical alpine skiers against one another on the infamous New England steep trail, Superstar. Brand new this winter at Stowe Mountain Resort is the opening of an 80-million-dollar Adventure Center. Located at Spruce Peak and adjacent to Stowe’s new outdoor Ice Skating Rink, Stowe’s Adventure Center is home to all Stowe’s children’s programs. The building will includes a day care facility, an indoor climbing center called Stowe Rocks, and family-friendly dining. Over at Burke, The Burke Mountain Hotel and Conference Center opened its doors on September 1st. The 116-room hotel is situated mid-mountain and provides a true ski-in ski-out experience. Suites range from a standard studio to three bedroom with onsite amenities including a pub, restaurant, heated pool and hot tub, fitness center, and arcade.  
 
 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/07/16 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Take the White Glove Tour at the Alexander Graham Bell Museum

It’s a good omen when you spot a bald eagle and a fox within 10 minutes of leaving your hotel after breakfast. An hour later we were paddling the placid waters of St. Ann’s Bay on a guided half-day tour with North River Kayak. We would spot more bald eagles, one distinctive white head peering out from her massive bowl-shaped nest high up the hillside. We stopped for banana bread and chocolate chai, so delicious that owner Angelo Spinazola now sells it as a parting gift. Then we walked to a small waterfall before making the paddle back. 
 
That afternoon, I returned to the Alexander Graham Bell Museum in the lakeside resort town of Baddeck. Graham Bell and his wife Mabel, a former student of his at Boston School for the Deaf, first built their summer home in Baddeck in 1886, a decade after he stated those first fateful words on the telephone to his assistant, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.” In 1955, Graham Bell’s two daughters donated thousands of original artifacts to the museum, including all of the models that consumed him during his lifetime. There’s a bicycle that he hoped one could pedal on water, his invention of the gramophone, and a hydrofoil he helped build later in life, called HD-4, which reached a speed of 70 miles per hour on water, a record that wouldn’t be broken for another decade. The museum is now offering a “White Glove” tour where you put on gloves and enter a backroom. A guide lets you see and touch his walking cane (rather long since he stood 6 ‘4”), suit jackets, and notebooks where he would scribble any thoughts during the day. He was a meticulous note taker and you’ll find stacks of books lined up detailing all of his studies. I also enjoyed the early photo of his brothers, making silly faces. Unfortunately they both died of TB at an early age. It’s the reason Bell’s family left Scotland to move to Canada. Bell’s 37-room estate across the lake is still used by his descendants. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/30/16 at 04:30 AM
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Thursday, March 03, 2016

My Story for Yankee Magazine on New England’s Best Winter Towns

What a difference a year makes. Last winter I was driving around the entirety of New England researching a story on the best winter towns in the region for Yankee Magazine. The deluge of snow created a winter wonderland where I could truly appreciate everything New England has to offer during the cold weather months. This winter, I shoveled twice, saw very little snow, and it’s already March. I was fortunate to be writing about New England’s finest winter towns while they wearing a shiny white dress. That cover story for the Jan/Feb issue of Yankee Magazine is finally out on the web. Please have a look

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/03/16 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, January 15, 2016

MLK Ski Resort Deals at Liftopia

With most regions in the country getting snow this week, MLK Weekend is turning out to be a great time to carve those perfect turns. Don’t be foolish and wait until the last minute to purchase your lift tickets. Check out Liftopia, the largest online marketplace for discounted lift tickets. Some of the many deals on the site this week include a three-day lift ticket at Jay Peak starting at $125, a 42% savings compared to walk-up window rates. In upstate New York, three-day lift tickets at Gore Mountain start at $128, a 45% savings. Out West, at Colorado’s Copper Mountain, three-day lift tickets start at $194. Taos is also offered, with a three-day lift ticket that start at $182 (26% savings). Check it out and have a great weekend! I’ll be back on Tuesday. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/15/16 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Skiing Quebec on a Budget

If you’re looking for a Northeastern ski area with a dose of affordable French flavor, then a visit to Quebec’s Eastern Townships is in order. With a lift ticket at Stowe reaching $115 this winter, you can head another hour north and be skiing at a quarter of the price. This is especially true with the current rate of exchange at US$1 to CAN$1.35. On the shores of Lake Memphremagog, Owl’s Head offers the best of Vermont skiing, but at absurdly low prices. For a measly US$54, you get one night lodging, breakfast, and a lift ticket! And this being Quebec, that breakfast will include freshly baked croissants, patisserie, and café au lait. Not a bad way to celebrate Owl’s Head’s 50th anniversary this ski season. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/10/15 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Okemo Mountain Resort Adds Second Bubble Chair

Excited to head back to Okemo this coming weekend to check out their latest additions, including a second bubble lift. Called Quantum Four, the bright orange retractable, transparent dome will replace the Jackson Gore Express Quad. The four-passenger bubble chairs protect skiers from wind and weather as they ascend Jackson Gore summit. Always included in my round-ups of top 10 ski resorts for families in America, Okemo is known for their snowmaking and impeccable grooming, which allows novice skiers to feel like Olympic downhill champions as you cruise down the long boulevards. Of course, we’ll also take an exhilarating run on the Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster and taste those fresh baked waffles dipped in chocolate. Can’t wait! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/09/15 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, December 07, 2015

Isn’t It Time You Skied Telluride?

If ole Butch Cassidy returned to Telluride today to rob a bank, like he did here in 1889, he would be happy to know that this former mining town has changed little. Sure, there might be more of a California surfing element—a favorite breakfast joint is called Baked in Telluride—but much of the 8-block main stretch gives off the flavor of the Wild West. It’s not just the sense of the familiar that keeps me coming back, but the spellbinding vista of 14,000-foot peaks that surround the ski resort. You’re socked into a Japanese silkscreen, with wave after wave of anonymous snowy peak undulating before you.  
 
At first glance, staring anxiously at the steep trails that run from the face of the mountain back to town, you might think that Telluride was created solely for the hotdogging antics of extreme skiers. And, yes, steeps like Bushwhacker and Plunge reward expert skiers with great rips, usually on fresh powder. Take the lift up to Prospect Bowl, however, and you’ll soon realize that Telluride caters just as much to beginners and intermediates. Best of all, there are little or no lift lines to get to these trails. Located in the remote southwestern corner of the state, you’re a good five-hour drive from the crowds that frequent Colorado ski areas closer to Denver. But that could change soon. With direct flights to Telluride from 11 major hubs in the States, including Newark, Chicago, and LA, expect the word to spread quickly. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/07/15 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Play Outdoors with the AMC This Winter

It might be getting a bit nippy this time of year in Maine, but that shouldn’t stop you from being immersed in the spectacular mountain beauty of the 100-Mile Wilderness Trail. The Appalachian Mountain Club is fortunate to house three of their backcountry lodges in this section of the state, all classic sporting camps that have been revamped and are rearing up for a busy winter season of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Choose to do a self-guided ski trip between the lodges or sign up for one of their guided excursions, like the lodge-to-lodge cross-country ski jaunt from Little Lyford to Gorman Chairback the weekend of January 22-24. There’s also a guided snowshoe lodge-to-lodge the following weekend and a winter sampler over MLK Weekend. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/01/15 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Park City Mountain Resort Now The Largest in America

Thanks to a new high speed gondola, Quicksilver, that will take guests from the base of the Silverlode Lift at Park City to the Flatiron Lift area at the former Canyons, Park City Mountain Resort lays claim to being the largest ski area in America. Vail Resorts takeover of the Canyons and completion of a $50 million renovation has led to this massive ski area that now includes over 7,300 acres, 300+ trails, and 41 lifts. Sundance Film Festival, which usually takes place over MLK Weekend, is being held a week later in 2016. So this might be a good time to check out the slopes. Remember that Park City is only a 40-minute drive from the Salt Lake City International Airport. Take an early flight from the East Coast and you’ll be on skis by noon. The latest hotel to make its debut is the 122-room Hyatt Place Park City, minutes away from the ski area. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/20/15 at 07:00 AM
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photo of Steve Jermanok
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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