Top 10 Most Adventurous Ski Slopes

I’m not 100% confident with my skiing abilities that I’m up for the MOST adventurous slopes, but…maybe…

In terms of my travel plans, I’ll be flying out to Utah next week – ski place is yet to be determined. I’m still taking recommendations! I’ll be there for a week, and then will be driving back with a bunch of friends, one of whom needs to get his car back to the east coast. So….hello roadtrip!

In the meantime, here’s a list of the top 10 most adventurous ski slopes, courtesy of Cheap O Air, which, if you know anything about me and my spending habits, you’ll know is right up my alley.

  1. Squaw Valley Ski Resort – Olympic Valley, California
  2. Jackson Hole Ski Resort Area – Teton Village, Wyoming
  3. Chamonix – France
  4. Mad River Glen Ski Resort – Waterbury, Vermont
  5. Whistler – British Columbia
  6. Val D’isere – France
  7. Alta Ski Resort Area – Albion, Utah
  8. Verbier – Switzerland
  9. Snowbird Ski Resort Area – Salt Lake City, Utah
  10. Crested Butte – Colorado

Good luck out there at these death trap capitals! (I’m not saying I don’t see the attraction…but it’s good to know what you’re getting yourself into.)
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Hot Springs Spas in America

Yes, I’m still a little spa crazy, but this time it’s with a new twist. I went on an impromptu weekend getaway with another recently divorced girlfriend (though I guess for me it’s been over a year already – wow.) to the Ojo Caliente Mineral Hot Springs Resort & Spa in New Mexico. I really feel like my first massage was some sort of gateway drug. Now I just can’t get enough and I’m trying more expensive and more intense varieties. So now, not only do I love spas, but I love spas with hot springs on their premises or nearby. What better way to relax both before and after a spa treatment then by soaking in hot mineral waters, sweating out toxins, feeling the cool air whisk around you, and to just feel cuddled up in healthy warmth? Especially as it gets colder out, these hot springs make for fantastic warming up – though when it’s cold outside, it does make it nearly impossible to get out of the pools! So apparently this one in New Mexico is not so unique (though it was spectacular and I highly recommend it). There are hot springs spas all over the country. It is a genre of relaxation that you must try! Here are the ones I could find:

Enjoy!
Martha
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Snowboarding Paradises – Terrain Parks in the US

In continuation of my ski research, I’ve decided to include some info for snowboarders. I’m the occasional snowboarder and have been thinking about trying to work on some of my “moves” this winter. And like I said before, if I’m going to trek all the way out west for a ski trip, I want to make sure that I’ve chosen the right places to go to. Here’s a list of some of the best terrain parks in the country, according to some of my friends (who are mostly skiers, but definitely are in the know about snowboarding too) and just general research from the web. If anyone has any more to add, please let me know.

Note: These aren’t all specifically for snowboarders; many of these are open to skiers as well. So if you’re looking for a snowboard-exclusive park, make sure you inquire within.

These should keep you busy for a while.
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Christmas in Albuquerque

I have a daughter, Janet, with whom I’ve been mostly out of touch for the last five or six years. It is a long and painful story, which is now in the past and I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted. Feelings of guilt and inadequacy have plagued me (and her too, it turns out), and this holiday season, we made our amends and spent some time together. It was intense, emotional, and very special, to say the least. The best part of it all, is that I saw my six year old grandson, Shane, who I had only met once.

Janet lives in Albuquerque, so it was fun to travel around a new city, take Shane to some parks and museums, and do a little roadtripping on the way there and back, while I was at it.

Shane’s favorite place by far was the American International Rattlesnake Museum. It wasn’t his first time there either. Apparently it’s a popular spot among the six year old boys… though, I must say, less so with the 60 year old women…eek! I also took him to the Explora! Science Center and Children’s Museum, which was much more my speed.

Probably the highlight of our trip was riding the Galaxi Roller Coaster at Cliff’s Amusement Park. I’ve never been so scared in all my life, but seeing Shane’s excitement made it all worth it.

Janet is a historian, so found a babysitter one day for Shane and took me to some of her favorite sites, including the Pueblo Cultural Center and the Turquoise Museum (which I LOVED), and had lunch at a nearby reservation where she’s got a few friends.

It all went by so fast, like a dream. There were certain moments, like when Janet and I stayed up late talking over a cup of tea, one single woman to the other, where I literally had to pinch myself. We’ve all made mistakes in the past, and this Christmas we each gave each other the gift of forgiveness and family.

I wish the same to all of you and a wonderful holiday season,
Martha
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More meditation retreats

This is a follow-up to my last post (Yoga and Meditation Resorts in the US). I was reading the news and one link brought me to another link which brought me to another, and then I found myself looking at a slideshow of MSNBC’s top meditation retreats in the US, so now I’ve got a few more to add to my list.

  • The Abbey of Gethsemani, Trappist, KY
  • Kripalu Center, Stockbridge, MA
  • Menla Mountain Retreat, Phoenicia, NY
  • Breitenbush Hot Springs, Detroit, OR
  • Shambhala Mountain Center, Red Feather Lakes, CO
  • Mount Madonna, Santa Cruz, CA
  • Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY
  • Ala Kukui, Hana, Maui, Hawaii
  • The Abode of the Message, New Lebanon, NY
  • Esalen, Big Sur, Calif.

One day I’ll visit them all


Other Spas and Retreats in the US:

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Meditative ski slopes

If you’re like me (which is probably in general not something to aspire to…), you like skiing, but hate the skiing experience. Sometimes I go out to Hunter Mountain, which is pretty close by, and then regret it almost immediately. Basically: I HATE CROWDS. I HATE COMMERCIAL SKI SLOPES. I HATE SKI SCHOOLS THAT CROWD MY MOUNTAIN. Yeah, that’s right, I get a little possessive. I usually drive for hours or even days to get to the slope of my choice, spend a crapload of money, and then can barely move as I get pushed down the icy, well-too-worn slopes. This winter, I’ve got one roadtrip planned and my goal is to find some empty slopes where not only can I ski in peace, but I can meditate and relax. Is it possible? We shall see.

Here’s a list I’ve found so far, posted a year ago on ForbesTraveler.com – but doesn’t the fact that it’s already been advertised as “crowd-free” for one year mean that all the crowd-avoiders will be there, thus making it a bit crowded? Well, maybe you’ve got insight—please let me know if you know of more crowdless slopes. (Though I understand if you don’t want to share—publicizing them would sort of defeat the purpose, right?)

Enjoy! Hopefully I won’t see you out there – you know what I mean.
(Thank you, forbestraveler.com for the list.)

Good Info on Skiing in General

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Maui slideshow

If I could hop in my car and drive to Hawaii right now, I would. I just saw a slideshow of pictures from this stunning island and I want to be there! It looks like such a peaceful, mystical place, filled with a rich tribal history that is still so very much alive. Even the picture at the spa makes me want to go, and I’m not really such a spa person. So there are 11 slides and I just wanted to look up a bit about each of the places that are highlighted. You need to go to this slideshow and check out these pictures! I’ve cut and pasted the tag lines—the slideshow goes pretty fast and you may not get a chance to read them.

  1. Far-flung Maui has long been revered as a pure and pristine getaway.
  2. The pool at the Hotel Hana
  3. Pineapple growing on the side of the scenic Hana Highway
  4. Wind chimes at a fruit stand along the road to Hana
  5. A view of the Pacific Ocean from Kihei
  6. Local leis and headdresses in Lahaina
  7. The Misty ‘Iao Valley
  8. Carving a totem at the Old Lahaina Luau
  9. Snorkeling in La Perouse Bay in South Maui
  10. The Spa at the Grand Wailea
  11. An Old Lahaina Luau member sounding the conch

I think what appeals to me most about Hawaii (and I haven’t given this much thought before coming across these pictures, so just hear me out) is the combo of the old and the new, of tradition and modernity. Obviously there’s a lot of cheesiness going on in Hawaii with the tourist industry and all, but at the same time, native life has been brewing in Hawaii untouched by corporate America and such for longer than in most other places in the country. There’s still so much in Hawaii that is wild and rustic—the volcanoes, for example. I mean there’s only so much taming and commercializing you can do to a still active volcano, right? Anyways, my point is that I want to go. I want to walk around in a bikini and sip milk from a coconut on the beach. Is that too much to ask?
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