Sledding for my kids means charting their own course down powdery hills, making snow forts, and engaging in a snowball fight or two…most of which is not on offer at major ski resort tubing parks. While we enjoy resort parks in Lake Tahoe for low-key thrills, we crave more adventure and flexibility. (I also crave lower prices.) If your kids agree that ski resort tubing parks are often too tame, check out Adventure Mountain Lake Tahoe.
Located on Highway 50 near Echo Summit (three miles from Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort), Adventure Mountain is an old-school sledding hill with approximately a dozen blazed trails down the side of a large hill and room for you to create your own. The snow at the base of the mountain has been groomed into berms to keep tubes and sleds from whizzing right into the parking lot, but we’ve still seen it happen. This is completely a do-it-yourself mountain, with few rules and regulations. Families can rent sleds and tubes if needed, and there’s a small day lodge with shelter and a snack bar, but we bring our own snacks or lunch and eat it picnic style on sunny Tahoe days.
The runs are divided into beginner and advanced, so yes, there is a place for small children and more cautious sledders, and kids love the ability to start small and get more daring as the day goes on. We visited on a December day during the holiday break, and while crowded, there were enough runs to keep waiting to a minimum. The sledding paths at Adventure Mountain are accessed by walking trails up the side (not rope tow or magic carpet here!) so you’ll earn your hot chocolate break! Adjacent to the sledding hills is the entrance to a network of cross-country and snowshoeing trails, so family members can certainly split up and participate in different winter sports.
The mountain is open 9 am or 10 am (depending on day) to 4:30 pm (no lights here!), and you can certainly stay all day. If you do, bring extra gloves and socks for the kids and stow them in the car, which is close enough to access any time. We spent as much time playing in the snow with other families as we did sledding, and those dry layers were welcome. There’s space for fires in marked fire pits, and on cold or stormy days, sanctuary can be had in the lodge. There are no helmet requirements at Adventure Mountain, but for what it’s worth, we highly recommend you require them of your kids. We had a few tumbles for which we were grateful for ours.
Best of all, the cost of Adventure Mountain is just $20 per car load. No individual entry fee whatsoever. Rentals vary, but if you come with your own sleds and a packed lunch, you’ve got yourself a fabulous $20 day in Tahoe!
Where to next? For leisure travelers, a huge part of the joy comes from planning the trip and looking forward to it. That explains the dose of endorphins you might feel as you giddily click “purchase” on the airfare they’ve been hovering over. It explains the stoke of booking hotels, vacation rentals, tickets of any kind, and while reading up on a destination.
When you’re online researching your next big trip, you need a soundtrack for the excitement. Here are a few travel tunes to rock as you pull the trigger on the trip purchase, complete with some lyrics to belt out as you book. Spontaneous dance parties encouraged.
The Black Keys – Have Love Will Travel
I took a boat and I took a plane
I might hitch-hike or jump a railroad-train
Your kind of love drive a man insane
So look for me walkin’ just any old way
Have love, will travel
Have love, will travel
If you need lovin, oh baby I travel
If you need lovin, oh baby I travel
Mos Def – Leaving on a Jet Plane
I’m leaving, on a jet plane
I don’t know if I’ll be back again
Kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me, like you know I’ll never go
Even though you know I will
Daft Punk – Around the World
Around the world, around the world (x72)
Lenny Kravitz – Fly Away
I wish that I could fly
Into the sky
So very high
Just like a dragonfly
I’d fly above the trees
Over the seas in all degrees
To anywhere I please
Oh I want to get away
I want to fly away
Yeah yeah yeah
Camera Obscura – Let’s Get Out of This Country
Let’s get out of this country
I have been so unhappy
Smell the Jasmine my head will turn
I feel like getting confessional
We’ll find a cathedral city
You can convince me I am pretty
Summer’s over, and winter’s not quite yet here, but November is still a great time to visit the resort destinations of Banff and Lake Louise, Alberta. While this national park hot spot in the Canadian Rockies is certainly bustling in summer and a snow-lover’s paradise in winter, autumn provides some of the best hiking. Here’s where to go in the Banff and Lake Louise area in November:
1. Hike to the Lake Agnes Tea House
This iconic tea house perched on the edge of Lake Agnes above Lake Louise may be closed for the autumn season in November, but the views are open year round. Plus, the crowds of summer are gone! Access this 7 km round-trip trail from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, and plan to spend the entire day if the weather cooperates. Hikers can access the stunning vistas from the ‘Beehive’ from the far side of Lake Agnes, which offers views of blue Lake Louise, the Fairmont, and the entire valley. Check the forecast first: if the region is covered in snow during your visit, grab snowshoes or skis from the Fairmont and try a snow hike.
2. Check out the art vibe in Banff
Banff isn’t just about the outdoors. It’s also a vibrant artist colony, with a long history of talented painters and sketchers. If the weather cooperates, check out the view that has inspired countless artists at Surprise Corner (with views of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and the Bow Valley), then head indoors to admire art from the past century at Whyte Museum, located in town. Whyte is run by donation-only, and offers a wonderful gallery as well as historical exhibits detailing Banff’s past.
3. Soak in hot springs:
At any time of year, the Banff Upper Hot Springs are a treat, but in the late autumn, they’re especially welcome. For a low entry fee, visitors can soak all day if they’d like (though it’s not recommended, given the 104 temperature of the water!). Once your fingers are prune-y, drive the short distance to Cave and Basin, the site of the original springs that put Banff on the map (and began the Parks Canada movement). You can’t soak in these springs, but can see the source within a deep cave and the original bathhouse that drew the first tourists to Banff.
Enjoy Banff and Lake Louise without the crowds in the autumn, and while you’re there, note the preparations for the winter ski season and plan your return!
I would like to start this article by saying that I am, in no way, a relationship expert. I’ve had two “serious” relationships in my life, and one of them was a high school sweetheart who I swore I would marry some day. Clearly I was wrong about that one. The point is, I have experience with keeping a relationship going while traveling, but I am absolutely not the authority on the matter.
I met my boyfriend while I was living in Australia. We started dating shortly after meeting, and a few months later we were working together at a camp in Michigan. I was lucky enough to find someone interested in traveling (almost) as much as I am, but not everyone is like that. Here are a few tips on how to keep your relationship going while you travel:
1) Communication is key
Okay, obviously this is a huge part of dating in general, but when you’re traveling it is extra important. Talk about boundaries to keep you both comfortable and happy. If you want to go out to a night club but your significant other is feeling nervous about that, come up with a compromise. Maybe go for two hours instead of the planned entire night. Maybe only have two drinks. Do what works for you.
I am a huge fan of Skype. I think it is potentially the greatest thing technology has given us. I use it all the time, to chat with my sister in Florida or my friends in other countries. Skype is great for checking in with your significant other while you are traveling, whether you decide to do that daily or weekly — it’s up to you! Skype is a great way to stay connected and see that face you like so much.
3) Send postcards
Email is fun, Facebook wall posts are cute, and Skype is awesome, but can anything really beat getting something via snail mail? If you are going to be on your excursion for an extended period of time, why not send your love a care package with goodies from the place you are staying? If you are there for a shorter period of time, why not send a cute postcard? Even if it gets to them after you do, they will appreciate knowing that you were thinking about them.
4) Do not give into temptation
We have all had a few too many drinks. We have all felt the temptation to maybe get a bit too flirty with a stranger. I am telling you right now, kissing a random person at the bar is not going to be worth ending your relationship over. A good way to combat getting into that situation is mentioning that you have a boyfriend/girlfriend fairly early on in the evening to whoever you are talking to. A lot of the time, that will deter them from trying anything with you. Also, ALWAYS make sure to keep your wits about you. Don’t drink too much, and make sure to pay close attention to your drinks. If you are out with a group of friends, designate someone before the night begins who is willing to stay sober and keep an eye on everyone…just make sure it’s not the same friend every time you go out.
5) Take them with you!
One of the best moments of my current relationship was when my boyfriend got home from work and I said to him “Flights to Fiji are on sale for $350! That’s so cheap!” and he said “Okay, if you want to go to Fiji then let’s go”. It was the moment that I thought to myself “Yep, this guy.” If your significant other is adventurous and is interested in going somewhere with you, go together! Traveling together is a great bonding experience, and a good test run for living together (now you know how long they take getting ready in the morning!). If you find yourself wanting to get away from them after a week together, maybe it is just not meant to be. After all, do you want to stop traveling? If you are like me and you plan on traveling forever, and your current person is not a good travel companion, the odds are good that they will not be a good life companion.
Happy Holidays! This year VacationRoost is giving you something extra special for the Holidays: Amazing deals on some of our favorite vacation rentals and lodging! Forget about the jewelry, clothes, and toys, and give the gift of a dream vacation instead.
Reasons of gifting a vacation are many:
- It’s fun to shop for vacation rentals (way more fun than standing in lines on Black Friday!)
- Vacations create memories that last a life time (that great new gadget you buy could be out-of-date in the next six month!)
- A vacation can benefit every member of the family (no more bickering between who got the bigger toys!)
- Booking a vacation property can be a group effort, perfect for family reunions or business retreats
- It’s economical – everyone can contribute towards the vacation rental easing the financial burden of the holidays
- A vacation beats a white elephant gift any day!
Whether you are looking to spend the holidays relaxing by the beach or bundled up from head to toe shredding up the ski slopes, VacationRoost has the perfect lodging to make your holiday vacation unforgettable.
We have vacation properties across the United States, Mexico, South America and Canada in all sizes and a variety of price points. If you’re looking for a winter getaway you can choose from hundreds of ski-in/ski-out properties at one of our 44 resort town destinations. Having a hard time choosing which place to visit? You can browse our sister company’s Vacation Ideas page to learn about each resort, the ski conditions and family activities.
If relaxing on the beach is your idea of heaven, we recommend Grand Cayman, St. Thomas or Puerto Vallarta. We offer homes, condos, beach-fronts and villas with private-pools so the hardest part about this gift will be deciding when you want to surf or sun bathe!
Whether you decide to give or receive the gift of travel, you won’t have to worry about shopping around for the best deals. Our best rate guarantee makes VacationRoost a one-stop-shop for all of your travel gifts.
Book completely online or receive personalized service from one of our Destination Experts at (888) 337-6678.
The VacationRoost Team
We know most people plan their ski vacations around two things: 1) when they can get time off and 2) the snow conditions. While these are the obvious top two factors, there is a third reason that is often overlooked — winter events. Resort towns across America are spending more resources on ski competitions, film festivals and concerts to bring more fun and awareness to winter sports.
We’ve scoured the web and talked with our Destination Experts to find the best events to attend this season (if you can get a few more vacation days!).
- Dew Tour Mountain Championships, December 12-15, 2014, Breckenridge
- SnowGlobe Music Festival, December 29-31, 2013, South Lake Tahoe
- FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup, January 8-11, 2014, Deer Valley
- Aspen Gay Ski Week, January 12-19, 2014, Aspen Snowmass
- Sundance Film Festival, January 16-26, 2014, Park City, UT
- X-Games Aspen, January 23-26, 2014, Aspen Snowmass
- Beaver Creek FOOD & WINE Weekend, January 23-26, 2014, Beaver Creek
- US Open Snowboarding Championships, February 3-8, 2014, Vail, CO
- 101st Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival, February 5-9, 2014, Steamboat
The VacationRoost Team
Ski vacations can be very relaxing: ski a full day on the slopes, enjoy après food and drinks, relax in the hot tub. Repeat. But, they can also be stressful especially if you have not planned one before. Questions like, “do I rent or bring my own skis? how important is ski-in/ski-out? And where can I find discounted lift tickets?” can be overwhelming.
Instead of getting worked up about the details, it can be helpful to start by asking yourself a few questions about what you want in your vacation.
- Do I want to be active every day?
- Do I want to cook and enjoy meals at home or eat out?
- Do I want to visit several resorts in one trip or get to know one resort?
- Do I want to try new equipment?
- Do I want to try off-mountain activities?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help immensely as you begin your vacation plans. For example, if you want to ski several resorts in one trip then Aspen Snowmass or Park City, Utah would be a good place to visit. If you are looking for fine-dining and luxury spas, then Northstar Resort might be the place for you. Looking for tons of off-mountain activities? Jackson Hole, Wyoming has dog sledding, snow shoeing and snow kite boarding, just to name a few.
Once you have an idea of the type of vacation your want our Destination Experts are here to help you choose the best fit for your needs. They know all the deals, where to find the best powder stashes and the resorts with the shortest lines and longest groomed runs. Call them today and they’ll play ski resort match-maker for you!