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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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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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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Ghost Towns, USA

I’m baaaaack! And I appreciate all of your emails of concern. I did not get eaten by mountain lions, as one of my very humorous readers asked. In fact, I am, sadly, back in New Paltz, the land of the living dead as I like to think. Back to the cubicle, back to grind. Gotta build up the cash stacks before my next adventure…I’m thinking somewhere colder this time. The northwest, Alaska, or I may even *gasp* cross the border into Canada.

There is so much I haven’t told you about the remainder of my Southwest/Midwest journey. It will take time, my friends, for me to put it all in words. And so, in celebration of Halloween Month (that’s what we called it as kids), I thought I’d share a bit about my Ghost Town travels. These totally came out of nowhere. I was hanging out with some completely random people in Colorado and they brought me around on their ghost town tour. We also went to the Ghost Town Museum near Denver. A rollicking good time was had by all.

First, what IS a ghost town, you ask? Well, wikipedia will tell you that it is “a town or city that has been abandoned, usually because the economic activity that supported it has failed, or due to natural or human-caused disasters such as flood or war.” But I would add, that a ghost town is an isolated, desolate, haunted area. Many of the places on this list I’m about to make used to be near railroads, but were abandoned when people moved out to the highways. Some were old mining camps. But all of them are spooky. mooo hooo hahaha! (That was my spooky cackle.)

Here are some ideas for Halloween fun if you happen to find yourselves out in the middle of nowhere in Colarado. The key to a good ghost town experience is to go with the right people. You have to be in the mood to pretend to be scared (because shhhh…they’re not really scary.)

And if you happen to be in California, take the “walk you’ll never forget”—the Calico Ghost Walk, a 90 minutes after-dark tour of the Calico Ghost Town in Yermo (Barstow).

Happy Halloween!
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Next stop: Vermont and Maine Fall Foliage!

I know I said the Massachusetts fall foliage was the best of the best, but that’s because I hadn’t been thinking about Vermont’s rich, colorful, fall landscape. Think of it as a lightshow as you zoom down the highway and see a blur of colors surrounding you. One great way to see the length of the state is to take State Road 100, from Wilmington to Troy, scenic all the way. Side roads will lead you to Mt. Mansfield (you can hike or take the gondola), to Lake Champlain (gorgeous!), and Green Mountain National Forest. You can take the vintage railroad between White River Junction and Norwich (weekends only) for great views of the White Mountain foothills.

Head back over to the coast for Maine’s plush foliage scene. Peak time is mid-October. The rugged coastline makes for different scenery from the rest of the northeast, and the richly forested areas just scream for attention with their bold reds, oranges, and yellows. Check out Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park and Bradbury Mountains State Park (keep your eyes peeled for hawks), both north of Portland. (Make sure you stop at the L.L. Bean Flagship Shore Freeport—open 24 hours a day!) Go inland a bit to find the Sebago Lake region—climb Douglas Mountain to see the ocean in one direction and the White Mountains in the other. Southern Maine offers boat excursions from Bath, some to Casco Bay and some to Kennebec River. A ferry service also runs to the islands in Casco Bay. Camden is a perfect place to stop, for dinner or for lodging, and also offers gorgeous ocean and mountain views, all surrounded by to-die-for foliage. Don’t forget Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island, in addition to the quaint and historic town of Bar Harbor.

Oh, and one more thing: whenever you’re in Vermont, make sure you stop by the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory in Waterbury. It truly is the greatest place on earth.

Happy Fall!


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Arizona’s changing scenery

While fall foliage is perhaps most well-known in New England, that’s not to say that those who live out in the southwestern more desert-y areas of the country are left without beautiful fall colors. And while Phoenix is still unbearably hot for the most, I’m filled with hope (and prayer!) that soon the heat breaks, the cool winds come, and the leaves on the trees start to turn their majestic hues of reds, yellows, and browns. Here are some great places to soak up the best of Autumn in Arizona:

Maybe in a few weeks it’ll be cool enough to venture out for a day hike…in the meantime, stick to your air conditioned car and go for some scenic drives through these areas. Enjoy! Happy Fall!

Martha
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Indianapolis and Pennsylvania road trip!

So this definitely was NOT my first pick for a travel destination, but Matthew (yes, we’re still together, despite what you thought 🙂 –you know who you are!) is swapping cars with his brother for some reason that I don’t really understand but apparently it was something that they agreed on like 5 years ago. So…I figured I’d come along for the ride. We’ll be driving there, swapping cars, and driving back, staying in Indianapolis maybe but then driving back through Pennsylvania. We want to do some camping in the Poconos and go to Hershey Park. Then we’ll be having a very romantic night and day at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa. We’ll also spend one night in the Laurel Highlands, see of the Frank Lloyd Wright stuff in the area, and then explore some back roads on the way back to New York City. Continue reading