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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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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Fall Foliage, part 3

This is an addendum to my last fall foliage post. It should have gone without saying that as enthusiastic I was about New York City fall foliage, I’m not blind—I know that it’s certainly not the best fall foliage in the country. That can be found as you drive further up the east coast into Western New York and New England.

So hop in your car and make a road trip out of it! The best time to go in probably in the next few weeks. If you wait too long, then it’ll start getting cold and the golden oranges and yellows will quickly turn brown and then disappear. Ready for a beautiful ride?

Wait—don’t leave the metro area quite yet. First drive out to Long Island and enjoy the fall colors of Long Island. You can do some serious leaf peeping if you keep driving out toward the shore, to the Hamptons and Fire Island. Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay and Sand Point Preserve in Sands Point are particularly beautiful this time of year (end of October).

Head further up the east coast into the colorful heart of New England. On your way up the coast loop around Mystic for some majestic views. Continue up I-95, loop around the Scituate Reservoir and then stop in Providence for a nice visit by the sea. Take I-95 or I-84 into Massachusetts to check out beautiful Boston fall foliage. If you head onto the Mass Pike and go west, you can travel deep into one of the most colorful states in the country—Massachusetts fall foliage is the best of the best.

Continue your leaf viewing safari by continuing up the coast into New Hampshire. Go zip lining on Barron Mountain, balloon over Lake Winnipesaukee, or just stick to your car and drive around Bear Notch Road or Portsmouth, New Hampshire for breathtaking views. You can also take a Lake Winnipesaukee cruise which is a unique way to see some of nature’s most breathtaking magic shows. The northern tip of New Hampshire is the first to change, so you should really get up there ASAP (end of September is best) and hike through the Great North Woods. The beginning of October brings color and majesty to the White Mountains (take the Kancamagus Highway – SR 112). Other ways to view the scenery: Take a train to the top of a mountain! Either the Mt. Washington Cog Railway or the Conway Scenic Railroad will bring you to some of the best peaks and valleys in the regions. A gondola will take you to the peak of Wildcat Mountain, and if you can brave the cold, a kayak trip is the best way to view the shores of the Saco River.

Must run, but stay tuned next time for part 4 as we continue to travel up the east coast to Vermont and Maine.
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Fall Foliage in New York City, (part 2)

Another (see my post on New York Fall Foliage) great way to appreciate the changing colors of New York City is by going as high up as possible in one of New York’s grand skyscrapers. From there you can see the parks, the rivers, and the vibrant colors of NYC’s people and changing landscape. Here are a few of the biggies:

A few more pretty places to go are Washington Square Park, walk up and down Fifth Avenue, or take the Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise – a great way to take in the whole city!
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New York Fall Foliage

Sure New York City is mostly cement and buildings, and sure in the winter whatever trees there are have shed their leaves and just look sad. And sure the summer is so hot and sticky (or rainy, like this summer) that whatever trees and flowers there are are overlooked on your run from the train to your air conditioned office. So, now that it’s fall, let’s make sure that we take advantage of the beauty in New York City’s fall colors that is so often overlooked during the rest of the year! There are so many scenic drives, beautiful hikes, botanical gardens, and other New York fall foliage options that can be explored before it gets cold and wet and the train to office dashes begin again!

There are more parks in New York City than people realize. Obviously there’s Central Park and Prospect Park, but there’re so many more, too! Check out Alley Pond Park, Forest Park, High Rock Park, Inwood Hill Park, the Staten Island Greenbelt, and Todt Hill. The best viewing time for these is the end of October through the first half of November. And the best way to appreciate them is with a bike, a picnic, and some good friends (in my opinion at least).

Going to botanical gardens is another way to appreciate the cool weather and changing colors of autumn:

You’ve only got a few months before it starts getting cold…so go have a picnic in the park and enjoy the beautiful weather!
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