With 11,000-foot peaks and an average of 170 inches of snowfall a year, Aspen is the ultimate snow country. And there is more than one exhilarating way to put all that fresh powder to use. While visiting the mountain town for the Winter X Games, the Roaming Gnome tried out Aspen’s ultimate outdoor activities. Here’s his guide to help you figure out how to pack the most outdoor action into your visit:
1. Go Skiing: This is the no-brainer. Aspen Snowmass has four mountains to suit a range of skiing skill sets. Hit Aspen Mountain for expert groomed runs and 76 trails. For gentler slopes perfect for families and beginners, hit the greens and blues at Buttermilk. And to feel the rush of the double-black-diamond backcountry, hike up local favorite Highland Bowl.
2. Go Snowboarding: Boarders are welcome on any of Aspen’s slopes. But if you really want to shred your heart out, you belong at the terrain parks at Snowmass and Buttermilk. As host of the Winter X Games, saying they know how to build an epic snowboard park would be a serious understatement.
3. Go Snowmobiling: Want a little more horsepower in your snow day? Head to T Lazy 7 Ranch for a snowmobile tour. After a quick lesson, you’ll get to drive your own machine past Maroon Lake to take in the view of Aspen’s most iconic mountains: the magnificent Maroon Bells.
4. Go Snowshoeing: If you want to take in the breathtaking scenery at a more leisurely pace, try your hand…er, feet…at snowshoeing. The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies hosts daily guided snowshoe tours through the Aspen groves and historic Ashcroft mining town. All equipment and even lunch is included.
5. Go Fat Biking: The newest passion to hit Aspen, fat bikes are mountain bikes with giant tires for navigating snow-covered trails. Rent your gear at Stapleton Ski or Ute City Cycles in town, bundle up and then hit the Rio Grande trail.
6. Go Paragliding: You don’t get the most breathtaking views of Aspen from standing on a mountain; you get them from flying off one. Aspen Paragliding offers tandem paragliding trips daily, weather permitting. You take the gondola up Aspen Mountain, then glide off for an incredible bird’s-eye view — touring the town from 10,000 feet.
It’s only January and we have already been hit with heavy snow, blizzard conditions and freezing temperatures from Dallas, to New York City. But if you ask me, travel is the best cure for the winter doldrums, and even a short weekend getaway does a lot to boost your dreary mood. A weekend in Miami, Florida? Just the trick. Here’s a quick how to guide to making the most of your mini Miami jaunt.
Step 1: Ditch the winter blues.
It’s eighty degrees right now in Miami, so do yourself a favor and have some summery clothes on the plane or layer them underneath your winter coat. As soon as your step foot outside the airport you’ll want to quickly go from winter drab to beachy fab.
Step 2: Go pool hopping
Miami’s pool scene is huge with pools ranging from super chill to super chic. Bachelors and bachelorettes will love the Fontainbleau‘s pool party while those looking for a laid-back happy-hour vibe will feel right at home at the Standard‘s pool. But for a completely serene rooftop scene, nothing beats the Sense Beach House‘s pool.
Step 3: Get fit
If your New Year’s resolution had anything to do with health or fitness, Miami is the place to kick it into high gear. The great news? Getting fit in Miami isn’t a chore; it’s actually really fun. You can do free yoga on the beach at 3rd Street Beach Yoga, rent a DecoBike, walk around the Wynwood Walls or go paddle boarding in Biscayne Bay.
Step 4: Eat Local
After you’ve worked up an appetite, check out Miami’s local food scene. Two of my favorite discoveries, The Local House in the “South of Fifth” neighborhood and La Sandwicherie on 14th Street.
Step 5: Take a Spin on the Dance Floor
In Miami there’s a nightclub for nearly every type of partier. Sophisticates might like some day partying at the Mondrian, for celeb spotting, Rec Room and FDR are a must, and for dancing in a luxurious 1930′s villa, there’s the Versace Mansion. If you’re not the dancing type, check out Miami’s new Sweetwater Beer Garden!
Step 6: Catch the sunrise
Miami’s oceanfront East Coast location makes sunrises seekers very happy. Set your alarm, or come straight from the club and stake out your spot anywhere on Miami’s long stretch of white sand beach for a sunrise to remember.
January is the perfect month to escape the cold and snow for a long weekend in the sun. And with cheap flights, chic hotels, 80-degree temperatures and miles of white sand beaches, Miami, Florida is an ideal getaway. Travelocity Senior Editor, Courtney Scott, teamed up with travel host and expert, Sonia Gil in her hometown to hunt for the best cheap things to do in Miami. The total cost of their day? Only $13! Here is what they did:
1. 3rd Street Beach Yoga
Donation-based yoga every day at 7AM on the beach in the warm glow of a South Beach sunrise. Perfection.
Bring a towel or sarong to use. Mats don’t work very well on the sand. 3rd Street and Ocean Drive
2. Las Olas Cafe
A classic Miami spot with a hearty breakfast for only $3.99! The over-flowing plate includes eggs your way, bacon, home fries and bread! Throw in a couple extra bucks for their Cuban cortado coffee! 6th St. & Euclid Ave.
3. DecoBike Tour
For only $4 you can rent a DecoBike for 30 minutes, which is more than enough time to explore the 17-block South Beach stretch! Locations all over Miami
4. Beach Bumming
You can’t go to Miami without spending a day bumming it on the beach. Grab a book, a blanket, a bikini and enjoy a free day of fun! 14th Street and Ocean Drive
On St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, one beach is more beautiful than then next. All of the beaches are free and public, making a day of beach-hopping easy and cheap! Each of St. John’s best beaches has a little something special about it:
One of my favorite things about a beach is when it’s completely secluded, and Hawksnest Beach on St. John’s north shore is exactly that. Just the sound of the ocean and few little onlookers. Perfection.
Jumbie Bay Beach
Take a short winding path through a tropical forest and you’ll end up on the shores of Jumbie Bay Beach. There are no beach chairs on Jumbie Bay, but if you find a palm tree it’s all yours. The water is the perfect temperature!
Francis Bay Beach
At Francis Bay, it’s all about the snorkeling. Make sure you buy your snorkel gear before you get the the beach. They do not provide rentals! After only a few minutes in the water, sting rays and fish are easy to spot! On the day I visited I was one of only three snorkelers. Private and perfect.
There are dozens of beaches on St. John and all throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands. Which ones are your favorites?
Think Miami is just beaches and bikinis? Think again. The Roaming Gnome just spent a long weekend in the sunshine-y city during the 2013 Art Basel art show. And while there, he experienced a multitude of sights, sounds and tastes that made for an unforgettable three-day getaway.
Here are his top 15 reasons you should pack your bags and make your own Miami escape:
Miami IS more than beaches and bikinis. But you cannot miss out on the spectacular light show that happens in South Beach every morning around 6 a.m. It’s also when the bustling beach is at its quietest.
2. Feeling the wind in your hair in the marina
Ocean Force Adventures has boat tours every day, so you can see the skyline, and even spy some dolphins, while cruising by at 20 knots. All that exhilaration will make you hungry so head to My Ceviche afterward for Miami’s best ceviche lunch.
After you stop by the cigar factory, head straight down Calle Ocho to hang out with the fellows playing dominoes. They take their matches seriously, but are happy to chat between turns if you habla español.
In 2009, Tony Goldman transformed this defunct warehouse district into an eye-popping street art gallery. Peruse the massive murals then top off your art-stravaganza with a craft brew in Wynwood Brewing’s taproom.
Yes. You can actually get up close and personal with lemurs, parrots, kangaroos and pythons at this family-friendly animal park. You literally can’t miss the gibbons either— they “sing” at 80 decibels while swinging from their perches.
Sure you can take in a game (and should), but you also just might bump into one of the “Three Kings” while you’re out and about. Especially if you’re following the whereabouts of DJ Irie, official Miami Heat DJ and man-about-town.
If you miss the 6 a.m. sunrise, you can still catch the sunset on the other side of Miami Beach. Just remember to bring your bathing suit to take in the uninterrupted view of the skyline from the infinity pool.
Check out Travelocity’s Miami Vacations to start planning your amazing three-day weekend.