Scary footage of an ice climber losing his grip upon ascent and falling to safety emerged over the weekend and has gone viral. Remarkably, the climber is fine.
According to USA Today, ice climber Mark Roberts was hit by a chunk of falling ice at Snowdown in Wales on Feb. 24, and tumbled for more than 100 feet down the rocky slope without sustaining any major injuries. Thirty minutes after the incident, the climber was airlifted to a hospital.
Roberts, 47, shared the remarkable video clip with the British Mountaineering Council in order to preach safety in mountaineering.
By Kari Bodnarchuk, Globe correspondent
Get info on 12 local ski areas through a website and online planner launched by the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. The site provides locations, short descriptions, cool tips, ski conditions, and social media updates for a dozen areas: Berkshire East, Blandford, Blue Hills, Bousquet, Bradford, Catamount, Jiminy Peak, Nashoba Valley, Otis Ridge, Ski Butternut, Ski Ward, and Wachusett. It also lists notable sites nearby that may appeal to nonskiers, from museums to restaurants. http://massvacation.com/skilocal
By Kari Bodnarchuk, Globe Correspondent
Explore Waterville Valley by moonlight or headlamp during twilight dogsled rides through March. Valley Snow Dogz runs excursions Friday and Saturday nights, led by owner and -year mushing veteran Lidia Dale-Mesaros. Choose the 20-minute Valley Taster, when you will get to experience mushing on an open golf course near Town Square, or the new 40-minute Mountain Taster, which heads for a campground and then finishes after a good downhill stretch. On both trips, you get to meet the guides, ask questions, and get your photo taken with the dogs. Rates: $35 Valley Taster, $65 Mountain Taster. Participants must be 7 and older. 603-236-8175, www.valleysnowdogz.com
By Kari Bodnarchuk, Globe Correspondent
Stay at the Woodstock Inn and Resort and ski for free at two mountains. The Ski Free Program includes complimentary lift tickets to the resort’s mountain, Suicide Six Family Ski Area, and free passes to the Nordic Center offering groomed cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. (Every day for ages 12 and under, Mon-Fri for adults). Includes use of the Racquet and Fitness Club and more. For twice the fun, the Killington Express Ski Package includes a Killington all-day ski pass for two, one night’s accommodation, and country breakfast for two along with all the benefits of the Ski Free Program. Package rate from $369 per night. 888-481-8802, www.woodstockinn.com
Check out the latest outdoor gear and put it to the test for free at the Joe Dodge Lodge in Pinkham Notch, at the base of New Hampshire’s Mount Washington. The lodge, run by the Appalachian Mountain Club, just opened an outdoor gear demo center for lodge guests, enabling them to try out Lowa boots, Leki hiking poles, Osprey backpacks, and Hillsound traction devices, which fit over boots and help keep you upright on slick trails. Equipment is available in all adult sizes, and in children’s sizes for boots and poles. Find something you like and you can get a discount to purchase the same or similar items at the AMC’s Pinkham Notch visitors center. Demo gear is available on a first-come, first-served basis. 603-466-2727, www.outdoors.org/pinkham
"The update of being able to purchase it online was a no-brainer and we think we'll see the most successful year yet with the added ease of purchase," she said. "Being online also lowers our administration costs, allowing us to donate even more proceeds of the program to local dairy farmers."
This year will mark the third year that proceeds will go to Must Be The Milk, a campaign formerly known as Keep Local Farms, which supports New England dairy farmers. Last year the Fifth Grade Passport raised and donated $8,830 for Keep Local Farms. The total amount of donations from the past two seasons is $17,325. The goal is to break $10,000 this year, Neith said.
For more information on the Fifth Grade Passport program, visit www.skivermont.com/FGP. Fifth graders that participate receive a booklet of coupons for free tickets to Vermont's 18 alpine resorts and more than 30 cross-country centers. The cost of $10 covers the processing fees, and participants must be accompanied by paying adult. Adults can take up to two fifth graders.
Park City, Utah, is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the 2002 Utah Olympic Games this season in grand style. If you’re headed there for the skiing and snowboarding, here are 10 other Park City activities to add to your itinerary.
1. Gold medal adventures: Experience five-times the force of gravity while careening down the full length of the Olympic bobsled run, with a trained driver, fly solo down a section of the skeleton run, or take a clinic in ski jumping, mogul skiing, or terrain park tricks at the Utah Olympic Park. While there, don’t miss the Alf Engen Ski Museum and the Eccles Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games Museum.
2. Wheee! No need to take off the ski boots to ride the Alpine Coaster at Park City Mountain Resort, and since the access is at the base, even those who don’t ski or snowboard can enjoy the dipsy doodles and looping curves of this mountain roller coaster. You control the speed…or not.
3. Zipideedoodah: You must have no fear of heights if you plan to fly over the canyon between Lookout Peak and Red Pine Lodge, a span of more than 2,100 feet, suspended from a zipline on a Zip Tour Adventure at Canyons resort. Too scary? Choose the demo and Red Pine Zip Tour, and skip the big whizzzzzzz.
4. Lunch run: When the belly rumbles, most skiers and snowboarders at Park City Mountain Resort slide into one of the area’s on-mountain or base restaurants. Instead, head down Creole or Quit’n’time and Town, all intermediate trails, to the base of the Town Lift, on Park City’s Main Street. You’ll have your choice of restaurants.
5. Sip sliding along: Tour, taste, and eat at High West Distillery & Saloon, Utah’s first legal distillery since 1870 and the world’s only gastro-distillery (or so it says). Located downtown, at the base of the Quittin’ Time trail within steps of the Town Lift, there’s no reason not to come in for a tour, including the 250-gallon copper pot still, and a shot; better yet, stick around for dinner, with its whisky-accents. Go ahead, bring the kids, they have their own menu and will enjoy the western flavor.
Photos from top: Hilary Nangle/For the Boston Globe; Rebekah Stevens/Canyons Resort
National Park Service says that all 397 national parks will offer free admission from Saturday, Jan. 14- Monday, Jan. 16 to mark Martin Luther King Day. In New England there are more than two dozen parks, with the bulk of them being in Massachusetts (15). On its website, the NPS maps out locations by state.
For those interested in King himself, BudgetTravel offers these suggestions:
Those wishing to learn more about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., can pay a visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia, where both the home he was born in and his tomb with the Eternal Flame are on display. Follow in his footsteps along the National Historic Trail from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, now a designated historic byway. If you happen to be on the east coast, visit the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. and sit on the steps from which Dr. King delivered his famous "I Have A Dream" speech, or visit the newly opened Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in the National Mall. Events commemorating Dr. King's life will also take place at Fort Donelson National Battlefield in Tennessee, while the MLK Film Festival will be held at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Washington D.C. from January 14-16.
This season, guests at the ski-in/out St. Regis Deer Valley in Park City, Utah, can—for a price—ski with two-time Olympic medalist Shannon Bahrke (left) on the mountain where she won her 2002 silver medal. A half-day with the mogul queen is $400 per person, including lunch at Jean-Georges' J&G Grill; a full day is $800 per person, including dinner and drinks at J&G. For groups of four, the rate is $1,500 half day, $2,400 full day. For corporate clients, a half day is $5,000 for up to 12 people with lunch; a full day is $10,000, including cocktails and dinner. For those unable or unwilling to make the splurge, Barhke schmoozes with all guests about once a week over free afternoon s'mores on the hotel's Astor Terrace.
While the programs with Bahrke are open only to hotel guests, anyone can watch the daily sunset champagne sabering demonstration, when a restaurant employee pops the cork on a bottle of champagne by whisking a sword up its neck (a great party trick, if you master it). Best way to access the hotel is via the free funicular from Deer Valley's Snow Park Lodge. The heated, glass-walled cars climb the cliffside and deliver panoramic views of the mountain and valley.
After the sabering, stick around for cocktails—the signature 7452 Mary, a bloody Mary distinguished by a wasabi-celery foam and named for the hotel's elevation—and perhaps dinner in the St. Regis Bar & Lounge or Executive Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's J&G Grill (two must-orders available in either location for lunch or dinner: black truffle pizza with fontina cheese ($12) and steamed shrimp salad with local greens and avocado champagne dressing ($12).
For those unable to ski with Bahrke, she offers the following tips for mastering those pesky moguls:
-- Look ahead, read the terrain, and interpret it: Look for a pattern in the moguls and plan four or five turns ahead.
-- Plant your pole after you've hit the mogul, not before. That keeps your hands in front, allowing you to keep moving forward and linking turns without getting twisted or in the back seat.
--Be relaxed: Let your legs come up
--Control speed: Don't slam on the brakes, instead, make little hockey-style checks in the troughs between moguls to slow your speed.
--Don't give up: So many people give up on moguls because it doesn't feel good, but if you stick with it, you'll get it.
--Surrender control: Mogul skiing isn't about control. You have to surrender, let your body go, and be okay with it.
During ski season, a superior guest room at the hotel ranges $519-$1,649 per night, which includes ski and boot valets, who assist with equipment and warm boots overnight. Car service to nearby Park City Mountain Resort and The Canyons is available. For those who prefer to not lift a finger while vacationing, butler service is available (worth the splurge if only to task him with making everything fit nicely back in your suitcase when it's time to depart).
It seems hard to believe, but only three weeks ago, there was still some trace of snow in Tuckerman Ravine, and some folks even took advantage of it for some July skiing. Alas, any snow is now certainly long gone from Mount Washington and every other peak in New England, so you'll have to head west in order to find any.
Despite the heat wave gripping the entire country, Colorado's Keystone Ski Resort has managed to save a sliver of its winter bounty and is open for tubing through Aug. 7. The resort has two lanes open for a refreshing dash down the snow. Sessions last one hour, cost $29 per person, and may be booked between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
No matter how much you complained about snow last winter, that has to look good right about now.
Quebec's license plates are tagged with the line Je me souviens, which translates as I remember. What I remember about Quebec is the food, the endless bounty, the quality, the emphasis on locally sourced fare. In the states, locally sourced food is the trend; in Quebec it's tradition. And in no place is this more clear than in the Charlevoix region, east of Quebec City, and in no place is it more surprising than Le Massif de Charlevoix, a ski area where the food offered in the cafeteria rivals that served in many fine restaurants.
My midday lunch was a masterpiece, prepared by a chef who took time not only to pull the plate together, but also to present it with flourish. He took special care to add a sprinkle of fresh parsley on my tart prepared with apples and local Migneron de Charlevoix cheese. It came with a red cabbage slaw and a carrot and broccoli vegetable melange. My friend Karen's sole was complemented by a cheese crisp topped with tapenade, rice, and ratatouille. Yes, all this from a cafeteria.
Approximately six entrees are offered daily, in a rotation that changes about every three weeks. There’s always a soup of the day—the leek and chick pea was delicious—served with house-made rolls. And the desserts are equally enticing. Beyond the entrees, there are a la carte choices, such as salads, plates of local cheese or charcuterie, and other healthful options; never anything fried.
Not fancy enough? There’s also a fine dining restaurant, Mer & Monts (Sea & Mountains), where the views own the slopes and over the St. Lawrence complement the food and service.
Photo of Mer & Monts restaurant courtesy of Le Massif de Charlevoix
We've been watching the evolution of the non-profit Maine Huts & Trails system in the Carrabassett Valley ever since the first backcountry lodge opened at Poplar Stream Falls (about 8.5 miles from the Sugarloaf Outdoor Center) in the winter of 2008. Next the group opened the Flagstaff Lake Hut (11.4 miles farther north) last year, and the Grand Falls hut (another 13 miles north) this October. The area got a big dump of fresh snow last weekend (11-19 inches, south to north), resulting in spectacular trails groomed for both classic and skate cross-country skiing. Plans call for the trail and hut system to extend for 200 miles, but the current 30-mile stretch is a great start.
There are no trail fees, but given the distance and remote nature of the terrain, you'll almost certainly want to spend the night at one of the huts--conveniently spaced an easy day's ski (or hike) from each other. Prices are $65/night for adult members ($75 non-members) every night except Saturday, when the rate goes to $80/$93. Rates include bunk, dinner, and breakfast. Lunch is available for purchase. February is the busiest month, and March is starting to fill up. But there's room at the huts throughout January. For details, visit www.mainehuts.org or call 877-634-8824.
Photos by Dennis Walsh, courtesy of Maine Huts & Trails
After the holidays everyone is going to be looking for a little peace and quiet--and will probably need to jump-start a fitness program to boot. A gift membership to the Appalachian Mountain Club might be just the incentive to put that New Year's resolve into action. One-year memberships start at $25 for under age 30 and over age 69, and the family membership is only $60. Members receive a subscription to AMC Outdoors, an additional monthly e-newsletter, discounts on huts and programs, and savings on maps, trail guides, and outdoor gear. Membership dues also support the stewardship of more than 1,500 miles of trails and research on air quality and alpine ecosystems. And a gift membership says that you think the recipient is cool and athletic, or could be.
For more information, see the AMC web site, www.outdoors.org, or call 800-372-1758.
Photo courtesy of Appalachian Mountain Club
December through February in New Hampshire accounts for 19 percent of all traveler visits annually and 21 percent of total traveler spending, according to a report prepared for the state division of travel and tourism by the Institute for New Hampshire Studies.
Lori Harnois, director for the state tourism division, said the four main sectors of winter visits are restaurants, recreational facilities (including ski areas), retail stores, and lodging. She said the report shows overnight visits to ski areas are expected to increase by 6 percent over last year, while day trips will rise by about 3 percent.
Business and conference travel to New Hampshire could jump by 3 percent as well, the report found.
A neat component is the site’s “Grand Adventures" that include a variety of cold-weather offerings. Consider dog sledding, utilizing Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel and White Mountain Sled Dog Adventures, allowing you to mush your way over the river and through the woods of Bethlehem and Bretton Woods. Or the more than 1,000 miles of networked trails that comprise the “Snowmobile Highway” in New Hampshire, that starts at Jefferson and reaches to the Canadian border in Pittsburgh. And to test your endurance to bone-numbing wind chill, there’s winter zip lining at the Mount Washington Canopy Tours, a descent of some 1,000 feet in a series of tree-top zip lines, the longest zip line canopy tour in New England and one of the longest in the continental United States.
All of it can be booked through NH Grand.
NH Grand is a collaborative marketing push among the three grand hotels located in Coos County: Mountain View Grand in Whitefield, The Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Notch, and Omni Mt. Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods.
“By undertaking a joint marketing initiative, these lodging establishments, adventures, attractions, and local businesses can benefit greatly,” said George Bald, commissioner of the N.H. Department of Resources and Economic Development. “The remote and natural beauty of northern New Hampshire provides endless recreation opportunities.”
Peak Resorts announced today that it has entered an agreement to purchase Wildcat Mountain in Pinkham Notch, N.H. It will become the 12th ski resort that Peak owns, and the second in New Hampshire's Mount Washington Valley region.
"Wildcat Mountain is a legendary ski resort known to many in the industry and it has a lot of history," Peak Resorts CEO Tim Boyd said in a statement. "I am pleased to add Wildcat Mountain to Peak Resorts because it offers a unique, year-round experience in a one-of-a-kind location and there are opportunities for growth and improvement over the long-term that we can consider and are familiar with delivering at all of our resorts."
The purchase is pending approval by the U.S. Forest Service. Pat Franchi had owned the ski area since 1986.
The acquisition of Wildcat gives Peak some intriguing options in the area, particularly with family member Attitash Bear Peak located just 10 miles away. According to today's release, the two are already considering different marketing opportunities and season pass products. The attractive availability of a multi-mountain pass could also be a financial gain for the Mount Washington Valley area. Peak also owns Bennington, N.H.'s Crotched Mountain and Mount Snow in West Dover, Vt.
"Being two of New Hampshire's larger resorts and located in relative close proximity to one another, there is much to be gained in ticket and season pass products that are valid at both Attitash Mountain Resort and Wildcat Mountain," Peak Resorts vice president Kent Graham said. "Visitors to our valley and locals alike will now be able to gain greater value and access to the best of each resort's defining attributes and distinctive qualities."
You can read the entire press release at Wildcat's web site.
Ski Magazine released its annual list of the 10 best East Coast resorts - "resort" being the word to keep in mind - this week, and topping the reader-review list for what seems to be the umpteenth year in a row was Quebec's Mount Tremblant.
In fact, no New England resort finished higher than third. New York's Whiteface took the second spot, followed by Stowe, Vermont.
Here's how the list rounds out.
8. Sunday River
Hmm. Not so sure how we feel about that.Okemo and Stratton are better resorts than Sugarbush, Sugarloaf, and Sunday River? Of course, any of these lists are based on how resorts are tailored to fit certain individuals and families: ski school programs, distance, spas, shopping, etc. Still, this list seems to not take into account the most important aspect of a resort, which is, you know, how the place skis or rides. Novel concept.
In-depth profiles for each place on the list can be found here.
You don't necessarily have to be a skier in order to appreciate photographer Jordan Manley's stunning trilogy of web flicks, chronicling trips he took last winter. The eye-popping imagery in Manley's shots convey a certain sense of culture and natural beauty in his travels. As a photographer, he's able to pick up shades of color and light that your average ski movie producer likely lets slip by. It's truly remarkable work.
The third installment of Manley's trilogy hit the web recently. All three are worth a viewing (or a repeat viewing). Here they are in the order of their release:
Get in more runs and stay warmer in between when you use the new chairlift at The Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah, this winter. The Orange Bubble Express, the first of its kind in North America, has a see-through cover and heated seats. The double-quad chairlift whisks skiers and snowboarders up Sun Peak in just nine minutes, with a mid-station drop en route, and opens access to Silverado Bowl on the resort's northern end. 888-226-9667, www.thecanyons.com
Photo: The Canyons Resort
Posted by Kari Bodnarchuk, Globe correspondent
Maine Huts & Trails, the nonprofit organization hoping to build 12 back country huts over 180 miles of trails in the remote western mountains of the state, has just announced the creation of their third lodging. Slated to be completed by the end of 2010, the hut will be built on the banks of the Dead River, two miles below the cascading waters of Grand Falls. Each of the three huts, including the Poplar Stream Falls and the Flagstaff Lake hut, are spaced about 11 miles apart, so people can reach it within one day of hiking. For less than $100 per person per adult and under $50 per children, each hiker gets a night’s sleep on a bed, hot showers, dinner, and breakfast. Not a bad way to be lost in this vast tract of New England wilderness, treasured for its mountains, large lakes, sinuous river, and waterfalls.
Globe correspondent Steve Jermanok blogs daily at www.ActiveTravels.com
Photo of Flagstaff Lake hut from The Nature Conservancy website © Maine Huts & Trails
Seth will address the crowd, then sign autographs in the base lodge from 2-4 p.m. Special commemorative posters will be available. That event is expected to be especially kid-centric, but afterwards, adults rule at the Toast to Seth in the Widowmaker Lounge.
The event is the kickoff to to VISA Seth Wescott Ride With Me Tour, during which the snowboard phenom will travel across America sharing his passion. It's also one more reason to get to the 'loaf this weekend. The conditions are phenomenal, thanks to more than five feet of fresh snow within the last week. Expect crowds, but it'll be worth it.
Just in case you've had your head in the snow, Maine native Seth Wescott is one of the most accomplished and decorated athletes in snowboarding history. He's an 11-year US Snowboarding Team Veteran, 8-time X-Games medalist, former World and US Champion, and holds the only two Olympic Gold Medals ever awarded in the sport of snowboardcross.
New England was represented at the Ski Magazine Gold Medal Shop Awards program held recently in Colorado, as Aspen East Ski Shop near Killington ski resort in Vermont was named the New England Regional Ski Shop of the Year.
The awards are doled out to the top winter sports retailers in the country as determined by a panel of manufacturers and suppliers.
Aspen East Ski Shop is a 9,000-square-foot facility on Route 4, about a mile from the Killington access road and four miles west of the Killington Skyship gondola base. It also won the award in 2006.
Aspen East and the Ski Center in Washington, D.C. (East Regional Shop of the Year) were the two easternmost winners, the rest being farther west, including national shop award winner, Sturtevant’s of Bellevue, Wash.
Posted by Paul E. Kandarian, Globe correspondent
You don’t have to dive into the snow at Whistler’s Scandinave Spa, but cold-water dunks are part of the purifying experience. Located in a forest of cedar and spruce 1 mile north of Whistler Village in British Columbia, the spa opened two weeks ago, in time for the Winter Olympic Games.
Sit in a eucalyptus steam bath, soak in outdoor thermal pools, or duck under a cascading waterfall before plunging into the frigid pools. Then relax on an Adirondack chair in one of the solariums. The spa’s hot-cold-relaxation approach aims to cleanse the body, improve circulation, and release feel-good hormones.
It’s open to anyone 19 or older, rain, shine, or snow. 888-935-2423, www.Scandinave.com
Posted by Kari Bodnarchuk, Globe correspondent
Photo by Kari Bodnarchuk for The Boston Globe