Free Tropical Ice Skating Party Brings A Slice Of Florida To Wintry NYC

By now, most New Yorkers are over the thrill of winter’s first snow and eager for a little sunshine.

But if a tropical vacation isn’t in the cards right now, head down to The Rink at Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday, January 16, where the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau will be holding a free tropical ice skating party to celebrate its new “Hello Sunny” marketing campaign.

“Tropical ice skating” might seem like an oxymoron, but Fort Lauderdale will certainly try. Look forward to beach balls, breezy music, swimsuit-clad ice dancers and an on-site “Beach on Wheels,” with models tossing out inflatable beach balls and distributing free sunglasses. There will also be free ice skating, including skate rental, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – a great chance to save on the regular $30 cost of admission.

And in case all the palm trees and beach umbrellas fail to distract you from the fact that it’s actually 35 degrees, a trip to Florida will also be raffled off.[Photo Credit: Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau]

Crested Butte’s Nordic Inn: All That’s Old Is New Again

Skiing. Budget. Two words that don’t generally go hand-in-hand. Fortunately, fans of fluffy Rockies pow have one more offbeat lodging option to choose from, with the re-opening of Crested Butte’s classic Nordic Inn today.

The 50-year-old property, which was recently purchased from longtime owners Allen and Judy Cox, is the longest operating lodge in Gunnison County. The new proprietors have renovated and upgraded half of the 28-room inn and separate chalet, utilizing sustainable materials like Colorado beetle kill pine, and adding ADA-approved, handicapped-accessible rooms.

There are also new, high-thread-count linens and down comforters, pet-friendly rooms, a hot tub, free Wi-Fi, heated walkways, in-room boot dryers, ski/snowboard storage, shuttle service, a meeting room and free continental breakfast. The property still retains its original exterior grooviness, however, and offers a variety of rooms ranging from loft or suite, to kitchenettes (see room photo after the jump). If you like the Spider Sabitch-era feel, opt to stay in one of the original rooms. High-season rates average $249 for a Signature King room.

For those on a nano-budget, there’s also the clean, pleasant, Crested Butte International Lodge & Hostel, which offers everything from small dorm to family rooms, at rock-bottom prices ($34/night average for a dorm bed, high season). Do note that the hostel is located within the historic town of Crested Butte proper, while the Nordic Inn is three miles away, at the base of the ski mountain, known as Mt. Crested Butte.

Need more incentive? Crested Butte is one of the few remaining authentic ski towns in Colorado. It consists of just a few blocks of what was once a 19th century coal-mining center: these days, the refurbished storefronts house top-notch dining, drinking, and shopping establishments.

Crested Butte also has a reputation for fantastically bizarre cultural and sports events ranging from costumed Nordic marathons and a nighttime “Big Air” comp on the main street, to Flauschink (the “flushing” of winter). The holidays are also notoriously festive, featuring torchlight parades and fireworks. In addition to skiing, the Crested Butte region also offers Nordic sports, dog-sledding, snowmobiling, Snowcat-driving, ice skating, and backcountry excursions.

[Photo credit: Ken Stone]

Video: Skating the canals of Amsterdam

The cold snap that has brought much of Europe to a stand-still this winter has invigorated the Dutch. For the first time in more than a decade, the canals in Amsterdam have frozen solid, creating a network of rinks between the city’s iconic, gabled canal houses.

The above video captures the beauty of central Amsterdam as well as the warm, festive spirit of its residents. Watch as Amsterdammers play hockey, speed race along the icy ribbons, duck under stone bridges, balance on skates while walking on top of the cobblestones, and fill up on coffee, tea, and laughter. Leave it to the Dutch to make the best of whatever weather is dealt them.

Video of the day: Season’s Greetings from New York City

We at Gadling love a good time-lapse video. Whether it’s at a busy airport in Moldova or the many personalities on the streets of Laos, there’s something about seeing life pass by at fast (or slow) speeds that’s entrancing. With Christmas a few days away and Hanukkah in full swing, we especially love feeling festive without the crowds, the cold, and the hassle. Today’s Video of the Day is perfect for getting into the seasonal spirit of New York City without actually being there. Photographer Cris Magliozzi of health, fitness and happiness website Greatist shot the video on a walk from Central Park to Rockefeller Center, taking in some of the city’s best decorations, carolers, ice skaters, and other revelry. Bonus: no holiday music! Think of it as our gift to you.

Want to give us something for the holidays? Post a link in the comments below or add photos to our Flickr Group for our next Photo/Video of the Day.

Hat tip to our friends across the pond at BBC Travel for tweeting the link.

Go ice skating at your hotel in Miami

What’s better than ice skating during the holidays? How about ice skating with the knowledge that the sunny beaches of Miami are waiting for you when you’re finished?

Travelers escaping the cold for the balmy climes of South Florida can enjoy a little taste of winter with the Intercontinental Miami’s Holiday Ice Rink. Through January 15, 2012, the full-size rink will be open at Intercontinental’s Bayview Patio, which has views of Biscayne Bay.

While you don’t have to stay at the Intercontinental to enjoy the rink – the ice is open from 10am-10pm daily; admission is $20/hour adults and $10/hour kids, inclusive of ice skate rental and discounted parking – you can pretend that you’re in St. Moritz by taking advantage of some of the hotel’s cool après-skate activities, like spa massages or a dip in the heated outdoor pool. Building on the ritzy Swiss resort theme, the grand lobby of the Intercontinental will feature through January 1, 2012, the photography exhibition “Andy Warhol: ‘The Model Boy’,” the inaugural installation of the Intercontinental Miami Arts Program displayed in conjunction with Art Basel Miami Beach.

For families considering a stay in Miami over the holidays, the Intercontinental is offering the Holiday Ice Rink Package, which includes ice rink passes for a family of four and tickets to the Miami Children’s Museum, starting from $269 per night.

By the way, if you’re planning on New Year’s Eve in Miami, none other than Ludacris performs right in front of the Intercontinental as part of Downtown Miami’s New Year’s Eve Celebrations. Hotel rink by day, rap concert by night? Sounds to me like a well-balanced way to ring in 2012.

Photo Flickr/daveynin