Kids Ski Free At Big Bear For Spring Break

Big Bear lets kids ski for free during spring breakIf you’re planning a spring break getaway with the entire family, and intend to do a little skiing during that time, then Big Bear has just the deal for you. The resort, located just 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles, is offering free weekday lift tickets for kids 12 and under starting now and running through April 14 or until the end of the season.

The Kids Ski/Ride free package requires at least one night stay at one of the Big Bear lodges. This special offer provides one child lift ticket for each paying adult with those passes valid for skiing at both Snow Summit and Bear Mountain resorts. Together those locations offer 436 skiable acres with 26 lifts, four high-speed chairs and 1800 vertical feet. Nearby terrain parks also offer more than 200 features as well and a free shuttle gives visitors quick access to either of the two resorts.

Snow conditions at Big Bear are good with a current base of between 28-48 inches on the ground. The past few days have seen steady snowfall bringing an additional 8-10 inches of fresh powder to the slopes. That bodes well for spring break skiers and snowboarders looking for some quality time on the hill. The winter conditions have made the drive into Big Bear a bit of a challenge, however, so if you’re planning on going, be sure to check the current road report before setting out.

If you’re still firming up your spring break ski plans and you’re looking for an affordable way to hit the slopes, Big Bear’s kids package is tough to beat. Find out all of the details by clicking here.

[Photo Credit: Big Bear]

Spring Breakers: Mammoth Mountain Has 16 Feet Of Snow On The Ground

Mammoth Mountain has a base of up to 16-feet of snowSpring break is nearly upon us and while many travelers are looking forward to a relaxing escape in warmer climes, some of us prefer to hit the slopes for some late season skiing or snowboarding instead. It has been a banner year for many resorts across the western U.S., where heavy snows have fallen for much of the season, but if you’re looking for the absolute deepest powder in the country there is only one place to go – Mammoth Mountain.

Mammoth has had an absolutely terrific winter so far with a tremendous amount of snow falling across the region. As a result, the resort currently has a base of between 7 and 16 feet depending on where you are at on the mountain. On top of that, the Sierra Nevada range was hit with new snow storms just this week adding an additional 2 feet of fresh powder over the past couple of days alone. All of this precipitation has earned Mammoth the distinction of having the most snow of any resort in all of North America this year.

If you’re still looking for a great ski destination for the upcoming spring break, it really is tough to top Mammoth. The resort features 118 trails spread out across 3500 skiable acres, which means even on a busy day there is still plenty of room to move. Sixty-five percent of that terrain is aimed specifically at the beginner or intermediate skier, which makes the resort a great place for those who are still looking to build their skills. Add in some great lodges, restaurants and bars, and you’ll have everything you need for a memorable time both on and off the slopes.

Adventure Guide 2013: Crested Butte


Crested Butte
features incredible backcountry and extreme opportunities in a remote and captivating package. It’s also got more lift-accessed extreme terrain than anywhere else in the nation. You may need to purchase a ski-pass, but it’s all avalanche-controlled (what’s known as sidecountry, rather than backcountry). Few are the powder hounds who miss the constant threat of imminent burial under several tons of snow.

If you’re experienced at off-piste skiing, take the lift up, and hightail it into the sidecountry. If you’re experienced at backcountry, the Crested Butte region has no shortage of terrain; for an overnight, try booking one of the two huts in the neighboring historic mining town of Gothic through the Crested Butte Nordic Center. And if you want to get hardcore, hire the very excellent Crested Butte Mountain Guides to take you off the grid (they offer two-day backcountry clinics, avalanche classes, ice-climbing clinics, and mountaineering, as well as personalized and private half- and full-day trips).

Need more reasons? Crested Butte is one of the few surviving authentic ski towns left in the West. If funky former mining shacks-turned-pizzerias, snow tire-outfitted cruiser bikes and lopsided saloons (all in a three-block radius) are your thing, CB is sure to steal your heart.
Looking for something less extreme? Explore the 55-kilometer trail system put in by the Nordic Center. It has varied terrain and accommodates both cross-country skiers and snowshoers. You’ll need to purchase a pass from the center (an adult one-day pass, $15).

Competitive types will also love CB’s wacked-out winter festivals such as the Alley Loop, a 21k costumed Nordic race through the town’s back-alleys and trails, and the Grand Traverse, which takes competitors over the Elk Mountains from CB to Aspen (also a great option for backcountry enthusiasts).

In your recovery time, there are seasonal moonlight Yurt Dinners (ski or snowshoe in), as well as horseback riding, dogsledding and Snowcat driving lessons (seriously!).

Hotels

Crested Butte refers to the small, historic former mining town; Mt. Crested Butte, where the resort is located, is three miles away. There are amenities in both places; where you stay depends upon your needs. If you want ski-in access, luxury accommodations, or don’t care about nightlife, stay on the mountain. If you’re on a budget, looking to tear it up both on the slopes and in the bar, or want a more “local” experience, opt for town lodging. There’s a free Town Shuttle (look for the groovy, multi-colored, hand-painted blue and white buses) that runs until around midnight. After that, you’ll need to call Alpine Express shuttle service. Whatever you choose accommodation-wise, CB has lodging for every price point and taste.

Crested Butte International Hostel: Clean and quiet, but lacking in personality as hostels go, this is nevertheless a safe, inexpensive place for solo travelers, couples and families to stay. It’s right in town, and offers plenty of free parking. From $39.
visitcrestedbutte.com 615 Teocalli Avenue

Nordic Inn: This remodeled chalet-style property just reopened on December 15, under new ownership. The longest-operating lodge in Gunnison County, the 50-year-old Inn is just 500 yards from the slopes, and has a mellow, welcoming atmosphere, thanks to the friendly staff and roaring fire in the lobby. Half of the 28 rooms have been renovated, and come with plush down pillows and comforters, high-thread count sheets, boot dryers and rustic, Colorado beetle-killed pine ceilings. The remaining rooms, also slated for refurbishment, are an ode to ’80s grooviness, but are comfortable, bright and spacious. There’s also free shuttle service, continental breakfast, and Wi-Fi; pet-friendly and handicapped-accessible rooms also available. From $169. nordicinncb.com 14 Treasury Road

The Ruby of Crested Butte: Located in town, this six-room “luxury bed-and-breakfast” is one of two small accommodations in Crested Butte proper. If homey rooms with both vintage and modern touches and lots of sunlight are to your liking, you’ll love this sweet little inn. Legendary hot, organic breakfasts, free afternoon wine, pet-friendly rooms, and great packages add to its list of attributes. From $129.
therubyofcrestedbutte.com 624 Gothic Avenue

Pioneer Guest Cabins: If you’ve got AWD (ideally) and like your lodging off the beaten path, stay in one of eight adorable, fully-decked-out cabins 8 miles south of town. Located in the Gunnison National Forest along Cement Creek, the only neighbors you’re likely to see are fox, deer or elk. Cabins have either two or three beds. From $119.
pioneerguestcabins.com 2094 Cement Creek Road

Eat and Drink

The word is starting to get out that CB trumps even Aspen for the quality and diversity of its restaurants. From fine dining to sandwiches, there’s a lot to choose from. As unoriginal as some of the below listings may be, they’re here for a reason. You can’t argue with success – especially when people are willing to wait up to an hour for a pizza; it really is that good.

Izzy’s: If you’ve got time on your hands – because there’s always a line, and never enough seats at this micro-breakfast/brunch spot – this is the local’s favorite. When you see the golden latkes spilling over the edges of their plates, and tricked up breakfast bagels, egg dishes and sandwiches passing by, you’ll understand why.
facebook.com/pages/Izzys/149179161784362 218 Maroon Avenue

Lil’s Sushi Bar and Grill: Super-fresh (never frozen; fish is Fed-Ex’d in six days a week), seriously amazing sushi, and shrimp tempura that will leave you licking the plate (it’s all in the sauce, baby). There’s also plenty of goodness from the robata grill, but do yourself a favor: sit at the bar, and ask chef/owner Matthew Smith for whatever’s looking good that day. Happy hour yields some insane deals, including nigiri starting at $2.50 and rolls at $3.00, plus $3 well drinks, and $6 specialty cocktails and wine. Family-friendly, casual fine dining, with a diehard local following.
lilssushibarandgrill.com 321 Elk Avenue

The Secret Stash: Girl backpacks around world, and learns about food from her restaurant-owning Sicilian relatives. Girl meets boy who works in pizzeria, and moves to Crested Butte. Girl and boy open pizzeria in old, crazy-funky-boho ski house with crooked doorways and slanted ceilings, and upstairs seating floor cushions. A line forms out the door, and nearly 13 years later, nothing’s changed. This pizza will change your life. Hurry, because The Stash is moving to a new location this summer, so they can add another pizza oven and eliminate the wait. Personally, we’re sad to see it go. Never has patience felt like such a virtue.
stashpizza.com 21 Elk Avenue

Dogwood Cocktail Cabin: If a liquid dinner with some light snackage is your plan of action, this literal cabin on a side street is a goldmine in disguise. Wash down small bites such as tostadas, soft pretzels, or the more substantial blue cheese fondue with something from the extensive cocktail menu. Be patient, because mixing these babies takes time, but the rewards are sweet (or hot, bubbly, beery, or martini, as the case may be). Sip a Rosebud (vodka, rose water, cranberry, and sparkling wine) or the Juan Connery (Scotch, Pimm’s, chipotle bitters), in a candlelit atmosphere that’s rustic, yet seductive. Love.
thedogwoodcocktailcabin.com 309 Third Street

Getting Around

Crested Butte is approximately four-hour drive southwest of Denver, depending upon weather. While it’s more spread out and isolated than most ski areas, you can still get by without a car. If you fly into Gunnison-Crested Butte Airport, you can take the Alpine Express shuttle up-valley, and there’s a free Town Shuttle that runs every 15 minutes. To get around points south of town, there’s the free, Gunnison Valley RTA bus.

Adventure Tip

The sheer volume of backcountry in this remote region means you should take avalanche safety extra seriously (then again, when should you not?). Avoid heading out on your own, always let someone know where you’re going, and equip yourself with a beacon, probe and shovel. Avalanches are common here, so be sure you check in with ski patrol before embarking on any backcountry pursuits. Don’t try to be superhuman. Just be safe.

[Photo credit: WarzauWynn]

Google Maps Adds Data For 38 Ski Resorts

38 ski resort maps are now integrated into Google MapsFor my money, Google Maps is one of the greatest technological advances of all times. Whether I’m at home or traveling to some new destination, it helps me to find restaurants, museums, shops and other points of interest, then routes me to those locations by car, foot or mass transit. Over the past few years, Maps has continued to evolve and add new features, making the system even more useful as time goes by. Earlier this week, Google announced yet another upgrade to Maps, this time adding data for 38 ski resorts across the U.S. and Canada.

This new addition to the Maps database is already live both on the web and in the Android and iPhone apps. When viewing popular ski resorts such as Big Sky, Mammoth or Park City, skiers and snowboarders will be able to quickly and easily see all of the runs and lifts that are available, with their skill levels clearly marked. Blue, green and black runs are displayed on the map as solid lines while chair lifts are designated by dotted red lines. Parking is also clearly marked and when zoomed in close enough, restaurants, lodges and bars are also visible. There are even Street View options for a few of the resorts, letting you scout out the terrain before you ever visit.

The complete list of mountains that are currently available in Google Maps can be found in the blog post announcing their addition to the system. Google promises more locations will be coming soon, so check back often to see if your favorite ski destination has been added. The maps may just help you discover some new runs and make your day on the slopes a bit more enjoyable.

[Photo Credit: Google]

Score Big Savings On Lift Tickets For Super Bowl Weekend

Discounted lift tickets available for Super Bowl SundayWe all know that America’s biggest unofficial holiday is coming up this weekend in the form of Super Bowl Sunday. But before the Ravens and 49ers take the field to determine who will go home with the Lombardi trophy, the rest of us will be looking to kill some time prior to kickoff. If you’re a skier or snowboarder who is thinking about hitting the slopes before the gridiron action commences, then Liftopia is here to help. The website that offers the best online marketplace for nabbing discounted lift tickets just got better thanks to its annual Game Day Sale.

During this once-a-year event Liftopia is offering as much as 85% off lift tickets to more than 200 ski areas across North America. For instance, skiers in Colorado can enjoy 51% off passes to Loveland and a 48% discount to Copper Mountain. In Utah, Park City VIP lift tickets are 35% off while those visiting Solitude can score a pass for as little as $50. Idaho’s Sun Valley is providing a 47% discount to those visiting their epic slopes, while in the eastern U.S. skiers and riders can get in on the fun with 70% off passes at Plattekill Mountain in New York and 85% off Bolton Valley in Virginia. Even the Canadians are celebrating the event with 34% off a two-day pass at Mont Tremblant and lift tickets as low as $22.98 at Holiday Mountain. For a complete list of discounts, click here.

The big game doesn’t officially get underway until 7:25 Eastern time, which means we’ll have most of the day to hit the slopes and enjoy some fresh powder. So, gather up some friends, grab some cheap lift tickets and enjoy the day. When you’ve had enough winter fun, head home to top off the day with what will hopefully be a great game. Sounds like a perfect Super Bowl Sunday to me.

[Photo Credit: Liftopia]