Montana’s Moonlight Basin Mixes Luxury And Winter Adventure

Moonlight Basin offers winter adventure visitorsIf you’re looking for an adventurous, not to mention luxurious, winter escape, it’s tough to beat a visit to Moonlight Basin. Located in Big Sky, Montana, Moonlight is a beautiful and exclusive resort that offers guests world-class skiing, fine dining and a full-featured spa. The resort is a wonderful oasis of refinement in a spectacular mountain wilderness, and they’re currently offering travelers a winter adventure package that will provide memories for a lifetime.

The Montana Adventure Package includes lodging for two at Moonlight Basin, where guests will enjoy ski-in, ski-out accommodations for a minimum of four nights. The resort features some of the best skiing in all of North America, with more than 100 runs spread out across 1900 skiable acres. Those numbers expand to more than 230 trails and an astounding 5532 acres when you add in the interconnected routes that link Moonlight with nearby Big Sky Resort.

For many travelers, the skiing and snowboarding at Moonlight is quite the experience in and of itself, but the Montana Adventure Package offers even more opportunities to explore this impressive winter wonderland. Guests who purchase the package can also elect to go dog sledding or visit nearby Yellowstone National Park via either a snow coach tour or on a guided snowmobile excursion. Alternatively, they can also choose to take a romantic dinner sleigh ride after a long day on the slopes. Guest can pick any two of these experiences as part of the package.

Rates for the Montana Adventure Package start at $1509 per couple. This special is available by call-in only and Moonlight Basin can be reached at 877-822-0430. If you’re looking for a winter escape that will both thrill and pamper you, it’s tough to beat this option.

[Photo Credit: Moonlight Basin]

Last Minute Labor Day Road Trip Ideas

Labor day road trip

If a Labor Day road trip sounds like a good idea, you’re not alone. Over 30 million Americans will be hitting the highways for the long weekend, traveling across town, from state to state or around the nation. Like that idea but have no plans? Here are some must-stay places along some of the best American scenic drives that are not just a place to park, but also a way to extend the journey and experience the destination.

Hana Highway in Hawaii is a winding path with ocean on one side and jungles on the other that leads to one of Maui’s best kept secrets of quintessential Hawaiian tradition and charm, the town of Hana. Warning: With over 600 curves in the road from just east of Kahului to Hāna, virtually all of it through lush, tropical rainforest, you may have a hard time keeping your eyes on the road.

Where to Stay: Travaasa Hana, an oceanfront resort that features experiential programming based on five pillars – adventure, culinary, culture, fitness and wellness – inspired by Hana tradition. Guests can partake in net throwing classes (a revered Hawaiian skill), traditional Hawaiian spa treatments and meals made with locally sourced ingredients.

Trail Ridge Road in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park is the highest continuously paved road in North America. With more than eight miles lying above 11,000 feet and a maximum elevation of 12,183 feet, Trail Ridge Road provides a stellar view of Rocky Mountain National Park’s golden aspen leaves and autumn mountain scenery.

Where to Stay: The Della Terra Mountain Chateau has 14 romantic suites, each with its own private balcony hot tub, amazing mountain view and warm breakfast for an authentic Colorado mountain experience.Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most visited sections of the National Park System, and features 469 miles of stunning views with old farmsteads, mountain meadows and one of the world’s most diverse displays of plants and animals. The parkway connects Shenandoah National Park near Waynesboro, VA (Milepost 0), with Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC (Milepost 469).

Where to Stay: The Carolina Inn is a historic property located on the campus of the University of North Carolina that allows guests to enjoy a variety of activities and experiences both on campus and in downtown Chapel Hill.

The Montana Scenic Loop spans the Northern Rockies in a nearly 400-mile long loop, featuring spectacular mountain vistas and abundant wildlife and wilderness within several National Forest lands. At the heart of the 400-mile loop is the Bob Marshall Wilderness flanked by the Great Bear Wilderness on the north and the Scapegoat Wilderness to the south.

Where to stay: Moonlight Basin in Big Sky, Montana, is a year-round resort in Montana’s Rocky Mountains located close to Yellowstone National Park. Moonlight Basin features a world-class spa, and a variety of dining options and luxury accommodations that are perfectly suited for families or couples to create a well-rounded Montana vacation.

Labor Day travel will see upwards of 33 million people hitting the road for the long weekend, noted AAA in a USA Today report this week. That’s an almost three percent increase from last year, the highest Labor Day road trip travel volume since 2008, and the trend is expected to extend through the fall and winter.

How to Plan a Stress Free Summer Road Trip



Flickr photo by Stuck in Customs

U.S. ski resorts get much needed snow at last

Ski resorts across the western U.S. get snow at lastIt has been a very tough season so far for many of the ski resorts across the western United States. Warmer than normal temperatures and little snowfall had conspired to make it a challenging start to the winter. But things have started to change out west, and a few big storms over the past few weeks have made now made it possible for skiers and snowboarders to hit the slopes at last.

The Jackson Hole Ski Resort in Wyoming, for instance, got hit with a massive winter storm last week, resulting in 80 inches (that’s 6.5 feet!) in just eight days time. That brought their snow base up to 80 inches on the mountain, and their total seasonal accumulation to 198″. As a result, all runs are open and skiers are taking advantage of the great conditions at last.

Similarly, Mammoth Mountain in California had a big snow storm in late-January as well, getting more than four feet of accumulation in just a few days time. That brought their total base to 40-60 inches, depending on where you are on the slopes, and they currently have received over 107″ of powder so far this year. After a bit of slow start to their season, Mammoth now has all lifts and runs open for business too.

In Utah, Alta and Snowbird now have over 165″ of snowfall for the year, bringing their bases to 69 and 65 inches respectively. In Colorado, Vail has grown their base to more than 35 inches, with a foot of new snow falling in the past week alone. Montana’s Big Sky Resort now has a base between 45 and 69 inches in depth, while Sun Valley, Idaho reports similar numbers.

What does all of this mean for skiers? Winter is now officially here! Take advantage of it while you can, as it could be fleeting, but it seems that at long last, there are some excellent snow conditions for those eager to hit the slopes.

[Photo courtesy Mammoth Mountain]


Epic Pass holders can ski Big Sky for free

Epic Pass holders ski Big Sky for free in January!The Epic Season Pass is an amazing deal for avid skiers. For one fee, it allows unlimited skiing and snowboarding in some of the best resorts in Colorado and the Tahoe region, including Vail, Breckenridge, Heavenly, Arapahoe Basin, and more. The trouble is, those resorts haven’t been getting their usual allotments of snow so far this winter, which has made for some less than ideal conditions on the slopes.

Enter Big Sky Resort in Montana, where the snow has more than lived up to expectations so far. With a current base depth of 30-45 inches, Big Sky has more than 3000 skiable acres, and 131 of its 155 named runs, open to the public. That means plenty of great skiing on a mountain so large that you’ll often find yourself completely alone, even on a busy day.

Due to their relatively bountiful snowfalls, Big Sky has decided to share the wealth with less fortunate skiers living in other parts of the country. For the entire month of January, Epic Pass holder can ski Big Sky for free, provided they book lodging for the duration of their stay at the resort. They’ll even extend their “Bring a Buddy” program to allow non-Epic Pass holders to ski at discounted rates as well. Full details on the promotion can be found here.

I was lucky enough to be in Big Sky last January and it truly is a great place to ski or ride. There are tons of excellent trails, plenty of lifts, and wonderful snow conditions. So while you wait for winter to catch-up with the rest of the country, consider a visit to Montana for a little fun in the snow.

5 great spring break ski destinations

5 great spring break ski destinationWith spring break just around the corner, many of you are no doubt looking for one last blast of winter fun before the warmer temps set in. With that in mind, here are five great ski destinations that will make your spring break a memorable one.

Big Sky Resort, Montana
Big Sky bills itself as the “Biggest Skiing in America,” and for good reason. With over 150 runs to choose from, the longest of which is 6 miles in length, you’ll never run out of mountain to explore. And thanks to a strategic partnership with nearby Moonlight Basin, visitors have more than 5000 skiable acres to shred. The resort is so large in fact, that you’ll rarely have to wait in line for one of the 22 chair lifts and once you do get to the top of the slope, you may not encounter another skier until you get back to the bottom again. Throw in dramatic Montana skyline, a host of other on site activities, and over 400 inches of snow per year, and you have a skiers paradise to say the least. Complete your Big Sky experience with a Yeti Dog and thank me later.

Whiteface Ski Resort, New York
East coasters who can’t make it out west this year have plenty of options for hitting the slopes as well. Whiteface Ski Resort, located in upstate New York, is the perfect example. With 22 miles of trail, spread out over 86 runs, Whiteface truly has something for everyone. The mountain even boasts 3430 feet of continuous vertical drop, which is not only the most of any resort in the east, it is also more than Aspen, Vail, or Park City. Surrounded by the spectacular Adirondack Forest, the trails offer a remote solitude, but when you’re ready for some fun off the slopes, nearby Lake Placid has plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops to keep you busy too.

5 great spring break ski destinations Mammoth Mountain, California
Skiers and snowboarders on the left coast will no doubt already be well aware of Mammoth Mountain, a fantastic destination for everyone from beginners to experts. Located in eastern California, in the Sierra Nevada range, Mammoth offers up 3500 skiable acres that are covered in more than 340 inches of snow on an annual basis. Of the 150 or so runs available, about a quarter are rated for beginners, while a third of the remaining trails are rated as a Black Diamond or greater. The place is a popular destination for the snowboard crowd as well, thanks to its 18-foot Super Pipe and 22-foot Super Duper Pipe. Known for its long season, (the resort was one open for an astounding 10 months in a row!) Mammoth is likely to have great conditions not just for Spring Break, but for weeks to come as well.

Sun Valley, Idaho
Sun Valley Lodge, located in north-central Idaho, has been a top ski destination since it opened all the way back in 1936. At the center of the ski and snowboarding culture that has developed there is Bald Mountain, or “Baldy” as it is affectionately known. Baldy offers 3400 feet of vertical drop, with an excellent consistency to the terrain, that has made it a favorite for skiers from around the globe. It also offers some of the finest powder you’ll find anywhere and miles of trails with few crowds to contend with. Throw in a great freestyle park and a Super Pipe for the snowboarders, and you have an amazing destination that will keep everyone happy.

Ruby Mountains, Nevada
For a completely different skiing experience, consider going to the Ruby Mountains, located in northeastern Nevada. There you’ll find Ruby Mountain Heli-Experience, a company that specializes in offering heli-skiing opportunities in the pristine backcountry. Unlike the resort options listed above, you won’t find any groomed trails or ski lifts here, just 200,000 acres of fantastic powder that is only accessible by helicopter. You don’t have to be a world class skier or snowboarder to enjoy the Ruby Mountain experience either, as you can choose to take on long, slow, shallow bowls or adrenaline inducing slopes that will have your heart pounding out of your chest. At the end of the day, you’ll return to the lodge for an amazing home cooked meal that will be the perfect end to a perfect day.

The calendar may say that it is turning spring in just a few weeks, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have just a little more winter fun. Enjoy one last blast on the slopes before putting the skis and snowboard away for one more season.