Photo Of The Day: Grand Teton

grand teton

Grand Teton National Park, captured here by Flickr user oilfighter, is breathlessly beautiful. A major destination in American mountaineering – and a deeply beautiful destination for less adventurous travelers – Grand Teton is surely on the short list of top U.S. National Parks.

Photographer oilfighter has developed a happy habit of snapping nature at particularly majestic moments. Check out his archive on Flickr to see evidence of his special talent.

Upload your best photographs to the Gadling Group Pool on Flickr, and be sure to enable downloading. We pick our favorite images from the pool to be future Photos of the Day.

Celebrate National Park Week: 5 Luxe Places You Can ‘Camp’ Sans Tent

yellowstone national park - national park week 2012

National Park Week has begun! Many travelers will be taking advantage of free access to our country’s best national parks but, if they’re anything like this writer, won’t want to sleep in a tent after.

So, instead of camping try “glamping” at some of these great hotels near national parks that let you enjoy nature without giving up your creature comfort – no camping required.

Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Just minutes from Grand Teton National Park and a short drive from Yellowstone National Park, Four Seasons Jackson Hole offers a famed wildlife safari program, complete with an in-house wildlife biologist. Can’t make it during National Park Week? Enjoy special backstage access to these National Parks through the hotel’s summer packages.

Moonlight Basin, Montana
Located just 18 miles from Yellowstone National Park, Moonlight is surrounded by Montana’s spectacular Rocky Mountains. Moonlight Basin’s Mountain Concierge Team can plan experiences from rafting on the Gallatin River to fly-fishing adventures and more.

Estes Park, Colorado
As a gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, the year-old Della Terra Mountain Chateau is one of the area’s most luxe boutique properties.

Terranea Resort, California
This Destination Hotels & Resorts property located on the Southern California coast in Rancho Palos Verdes offers a unique starting point for exploration of Channel Islands National Park.

Travaasa Hana, Maui
The closest lodging to Haleakala National Park, filled with beautiful hikes through bamboo forests, past towering waterfalls and the famous “Pools of Ōheo.”

[Image courtesy of Yellowstone National Park]

Meet the coldest cities in America

coldest cities americaFeeling chilly? Chances are, if you’re not a resident of the following five cities, you really don’t have it that bad. The Weather Channel recently released a list of the coldest cities in America, according to NOAA National Climatic Data Center average annual temperature data from the last 30 years.

Caribou, Maine, came in fifth on the list. Dubbed the “Most Northeastern City in America”, Caribou’s average annual temperature of 39.7 degrees is partially due to a “polar vortex” over the Hudson Bay, which directs cold air from Canada into northern Maine. It gets more than 9 feet of snow each winter – youch.

Fourth was Jackson, Wyoming, with an average annual temperature of 39.4 degrees. Because of its proximity to Grand Teton, Yellowstone National Park, and Jackson Hole, Jackson is a popular tourist spot, but visitors should pack warm. Since Jackson is surrounded by mountains on three sides, cold air settles into the valley at night, resulting in morning freezes approximately 250 days of the year.
Coming in third on the list was Gunnison, Colorado, located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. With an elevation of 7640 feet and an average annual temperature of 38.1 degrees, visitors can expect freezes almost every day of the year.

International Falls, Minnesota, is the second coldest city in America, with an average annual temperature of 37.8 degrees. An all-time record low of -55 degrees has earned it the nicknames “Frostbite Falls” and “Icebox of the Nation”.

For the most part, researchers limited the list to cities with more than 5,000 people. The one exception was the number one spot, which went to Barrow, Alaska, located 5 degrees north of the Arctic Circle. With an average temperature of — get this — 11.7 degrees, Barrow is in a league of its own when it comes to cold. In fact, from late November to mid January, the sun does not even rise over the horizon. Brr.

[via, Flickr image via Bob Johnston]

Go ice climbing in Cody, Wyoming

Ice Climbing comes to Shoshone National ForestFor the first time ever, the National Forest Service has issued permits for commercially guided ice climbing expeditions into the Shoshone National Forest, located near Cody, Wyoming. Those permits open up the spectacularly scenic region to adventurous travelers looking for a winter-time challenge unlike anything they’ve ever experienced before.

For the current ice climbing season, just two permits have been issued. One of those permits was given to the Jackson Hole Mountain Guides, from Jackson, Wyoming, and the other went to Southwest Adventure Guides, which operates out of Durango, Colorado. Both companies will be hosting multiple excursions into Shoshone, giving new climbers an opportunity to learn the sport first hand, while experienced climbers get the chance to take on some of the most iconic ice climbing routes in all of North America.

When it comes to winter climbing, Shoshone is one of the top destinations in the U.S. The national forest features the highest concentration of frozen waterfalls in the country and has often been called the “Yosemite” of ice climbing thanks to the high number and quality of climbs that are available there. Additionally, the region sees very little traffic during the winter months, which means that climbers enjoy plenty of seclusion in the backcountry, seldom having to share a route with others.

For those who haven’t had the opportunity to experience the sport before, ice climbing involves ascending frozen waterfalls or rock faces covered in ice, by using climbing axes in both hands and crampons on both feet. The climber then proceeds up the vertical face using the axes and sharp points on the crampons to hold themselves steady and make progress on the ice. It can be a great physical workout and a fantastic way to get outside in the winter months, when the weather isn’t always favorable for other kinds of activities.

If you’d prefer to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground, but would still like to check out ice climbing for yourself, then you may want to consider attending the Waterfall Ice Festival, which will be held in Cody from February 17-20 of 2012. The festival features plenty of ice climbing clinics, competitions, and demos, mixed in with lots of good food, music, and drinks as well.

[Photo credit: Hohum via WikiMedia]

For Sale: Jackson Hole ski resort

Snow King, a Jackson Hole ski resort, is up for saleSnow King, an iconic and popular Jackson Hole, Wyoming ski resort is up for sale, and the current owner hopes to have it sold before the snow begins to fly this winter. The move isn’t a popular one with the locals however, who worry that their favorite hill could be shut down altogether.

The resort, which is just six blocks from the Jackson Hole town square, features 400 skiable acres, three ski lifts, snow making equipment, and well lit runs for both day and night skiing. It also has a lodge with 200+ rooms for visitors, condominiums for extended stays, and even a conference center.

Current owner Mauel Lopez hasn’t said how much he is asking for the resort, but he is reportedly in negotiations with more than one interested party. He also notes that he is selling Snow King for personal reasons and not financial ones, and that he would prefer to sell it as a single unit, and not break it up into separate pieces.

Snow King first opened back in 1939, which means it has actually been around longer than Jackson Hole itself. The resort is a popular one with local skiers and snowboarders however, many of whom have learned to ski on its slopes. Because of this sentimental attachment, many in town are worried that a buyer won’t be found and Lopez will simply shutdown operations before the season begins.

If reports are to be believed, La Nina is cranking up for another year, which could mean lots of snow in Jackson Hole again this season. Loads of powder could also translate into a busy season on the slopes, which means Snow King just might be a good investment for someone looking to break into the resort business.

Anyone up for a Gadling ski resort?