Wine, Dine and Raft Your Way Along Idaho’s Snake River

What better way to spend an adventure-filled whitewater rafting trip along Idaho’s Hell’s Canyon (the deepest gorge in North America) than to experience it while sampling an array of Oregon Pinot Noir’s and delicious cuisine whipped up on-site by a renown executive chef?

O.A.R.S. (Outdoor Adventure River Specialists) is offering a five day “wine on the river” adventure trip starting September 14th, along the dam-controlled Snake River, which is known for its powerful drops and “roller-coaster” waves along Class III rapids. After a fun-filled day bucking through the rolling waters, participants are treated to an evening of award-winning wines from the Pacific Northwest designed to be savored along the river’s sandy beaches. Hors’douvres along with dinner will then be expertly prepared under the direction of executive chef, Adam Bernstein, owner of Adam’s Place Restaurant in Eugene, Oregon.

Adam’s Place, which specializes in organic and sustainable Northwestern cuisine lightly dotted with European and Asian influences, boasts a menu which includes such regional delights as steamed Pacific mussels in white wine, all-natural Carlton Farm pork tenderloin (all of Chef Bernstein’s meats are hormone and antibiotic-free) as well as stick-to-your-ribs comfort foods like chicken crock pie with a biscuit crust and hand-cut paparadelle with braised lamb and wild mushrooms, which after a long day battling the mighty river, are sure to satisfy any hungry outdoor enthusiast.

Williamette Valley native and local wine expert, Robert Wolfe, who is also president of the Oregon Pinot Noir Club oversees tastings and pairings, and will lead participants on a guided tour of some of the region’s best vintages and varietals. And, this is no run-of-the-mill wine experience. Each wine will be carefully selected to complement Chef Bernstein’s culinary offerings, allowing diners to get a taste of a five-star restaurant right along the banks of the Snake River.

In addition to afternoons on the water, participants can take short hikes to local historic sites, view prehistoric Native American pictographs, fish for Rainbow Trout, or for more gallant travelers, participate in a spectacular vista hike from Suicide Point, which offers a dramatic view of the river and its canyon walls.

Included in your trip is five days of rafting with four nights camping, a scenic charter air flight to the put-in point, all meals with beer and wine at dinner, and expedition equipment (including a 2-person shared tent and sleeping bags) as well a personal flotation device, wetsuits and waterproof bags to hold your gear.

For over 30 years, O.A.R.S. has been running river trips throughout Idaho, Utah, California, Oregon, Wyoming, the Grand Canyon and internationally. Along with enrichment travel opportunities, O.A.R.S. strives to encourage and actively support a deeper appreciation and preservation of its rivers and natural ecosystems through responsible tourism. For more about O.A.R.S. or to book a trip, please visit


Unleash your underwater hunter on the Snake River

When the pressure cooker of daily professional live is about to squeeze the last out of tolerance out of your body … go fishing. From what I hear, there are plenty of those meals-waiting-to-happen in the Snake River, and is there a better way to feel good than catching and eating a fish? Okay, you can probably tell that I’m not a fisherman (did it once 20 years ago and thought it sucked), but I can see how some people are into it.

The Teton Moutnain Lodge & Spa has teamed up with Grand Fishing Adventures to get you a kickass fishing getaway. It’s only good through October 15, 2009, so you’ll want to move on this. For just over $2,000, you get four nights in a King or Queen room at the lodge, two days of private guided fly fishing (with equipment and transportation), lunch for your fishing days, dinner for two and breakfast every day. So, even if you don’t catch anything, you’ll still eat like a king. And, if you need more to do, take advantage of a free seven-day pass to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone.

Even if you aren’t a fisherman, this is still a pretty interesting deal. But, if you like to take part in underwater hunting, this deal is a steal.

Give a little to get a little at RockResorts

Is it really goodwill if you’re getting something in return? Well, maybe we’ll call it a fair trade, then. This summer, RockResorts is offering a “Give & Getaway” package across all nine of its resorts. In exchange for an incredibly low room rate, you just have to chip in some time to help the environment. Projects include trail restoration, working with sustainable local farmers, and supporting local stream an driver ecosystems. Depending on your appetite for saving the world, you can work for a half-day, full day or even several days: there are plenty of projects available.

“The Give & Getaway package has been a successful initiative to promote conservation of the spectacular environments of our Colorado resorts and help our guests find even more value in their vacations,” said Stan Brown, President of RockResorts. “It is just one valuable extension of our company’s commitment to the environment and philosophy to preserve it in a rewarding and interactive way. We know that especially in today’s economy, guests want to feel good about the vacations they take, and this program guarantees an exceptional hotel experience with a unique opportunity to positively impact the environment. This way they can make a contribution that they can enjoy on a return visit to the destination.”

Interested in participating? The “Give & Getaway package” is available on the following dates:

The Arrabelle at Vail Square: July 11, August 15, September 12
The Lodge at Vail: July 11, August 15, September 12
The Pines Lodge: August 15
Hotel Jerome: May 30
Snake River Lodge & Spa: May 31-June 6; September 20-26
La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa: May 26
The Osprey at Beaver Creek: August 15
The Pines Lodge: August 15
The Landings St Lucia: Ongoing beginning May 1
Keystone Hospitality: May 16, June 6, August 15

Rates start at an absurd $99 per person per night (for a two-night stay). Several resorts are extending the rate to before and after projects, as well.

Vail Resorts and RockResorts have raised more than $1.2 million (including matching funds) for non-profit conservation organizations in the White River National Forest in Colorado and the Lake Tahoe Basin in California and Nevada. Guests have the option to pay an extra $1 on ski season passes, lift tickets and room nights, with the National Forest Foundation kicking in an additional 50 cents per dollar.

Snake River Resort deal feels like stealing

I love dirt-cheap deals. I like being able to go to some cool destination … and know that I’m absolutely screwing the place because the package is so cheap. The “Tram-tastic Ski Package” at the Snake River Lodge & Spa looks like one of these chances to feel like you are truly taking advantage of somebody. This Jackson Hole, WY RockResort is turning $106 a night into a gateway to pure decadence (average room rate for the package).

The deal includes access to the new Jackson Hole Mountain Resort tram – in its first season – before the festivities come to a close. So, the gig is only good through April 5, 2009. In addition to riding the damn tram, you’ll pick up four nights at the Snake River Lodge & Spa, three full-day adult ski passes for two at the resort, two 50-minute treatments at Avanyu Spa and breakfast daily at gamefish.

So, stick it to “the man” this month and extract a little extra value from RockResorts. Hell, they’re offering, so it must not be immoral.

Photo of the Day (10/3/07)

There’s a part of me that hates when summer is over until I think about the fall days up ahead that will look like this one. Not quite like this one–this is on the Snake River in the Grand Teton National Park, a far piece from Ohio. I love the soft dreamy quality of the reflections in the water contrasted with the brittle look of the foliage. The kayakers are the transition between the two. Very cool. Looking at this also makes me feel still, calm and golden. Great job, Bonne Bowne! She took this one the end of September. If you go to the Grand Teton set, you’ll find scads more she’s taken over the last few years. Stunning.

If you’d like your photo to be considered for a Photo of the Day post, head over to Flickr and post it at Gadling Flickr Pool.