Dream Ski Trip: Heli-Skiing In Jackson Hole

Heli-Skiing in Jackson Hole, WyomingNestled deep in Wyoming’s Teton Mountains and averaging more than 450 inches of snow each year, Jackson Hole is easily one of the best ski destinations in all of North America. With more than 116 different runs, spread out over 2500 skiable acres, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is a little slice of heaven on Earth for skiers and snowboarders alike. But to truly enjoy this magical place, you’ll want to get off the beaten path and indulge in a heli-skiing adventure.

As the name implies, Heli-skiing employs the use of a helicopter to carry skiers and snowboarders deep into the backcountry to access slopes that would normally be unreachable during the winter months. For example, High Mountain Heli-Skiing, the company that provides the service in Jackson Hole, uses a Bell 407 aircraft to shuttle guests out to a 305,000-acre winter wonderland that is virtually untouched for most of the season. Those guests will have the entire area to themselves while they shred through isolated mountain glades, take on steep chutes and zip across large, open bowls.

A day with High Mountain Heli-Skiing usually consists of six runs that cover anywhere from 12,000-15,000 vertical feet. A group consists of a maximum of just six people, one guide and five guests, who spend the entire day shredding virgin backcountry powder. At most, there are only four such groups in the field at any given time, which makes for a ski experience that is vastly different from the long lift lines and crowded slopes you’ll find on a typical hill.

And after spending a long day of making turns on untouched powder, you’ll want to relax in luxury and style as well. Fortunately, Jackson Hole has you covered in that department too. There are plenty of luxury rental cabins available throughout the area with amenities that will comfort and pamper you throughout your stay.

If you’re looking for a unique winter adventure for the ski season ahead, then put Heli-Skiing in Jackson Hole on your bucket list. It’ll be an experience unlike any other.

[Photo Credit: High Mountain Heli-Skiing]

Three exciting winter deals from the Four Seasons

The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts wants to host you for ski season and is offering some great deals this season. So, instead of just hitting your old standby or scrambling at the last minute, go upscale this time. The Four Seasons is delivering bargains from Jackson Hole to Whistler, BC. Chances are, there’s a great one waiting for you.

Skiing in Jackson Hole – This resort is hosting the first annual How-to-Heli Camp. You’ll be able to get to the virgin trails of the Teton mountains, delivering for skiers a real expedition through fresh snow … with no lines! The camp comes with two days of on-mountain instruction, lift tickets, a day of heli-skiing and four nights in the Four Seasons. The camp runs from February 3 – 7, 2009 and starts at USD 2,975.00 per person based on double occupancy.

Ice climbing in Whistler – Demonstrate your physical prowess with waterfall ice climbing (don’t worry, you’ll have a guide) … all it takes is a heft dose of courage and the $466 (USD) for a personal climb. Skiing’s a blast, but this will kick your adrenaline into overdrive.

Bungee jump into Cheakamus Canyon – drop into the canyon and trigger an unparalleled thrill. Plunge 160 feet toward the Cheakamus River; it probably won’t occur to you that it’s glacier-fed, but that will be interesting later. Book it through the Whistler concierge, at $115 a pop.

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.

Jackson Hole’s Hotel Terra just got bigger

Today, the Hotel Terra Jackson Hole just got a hell of a lot bigger. A new addition is now open for business, increasing the property’s size by a whopping 68,000 square feet. Look for 60 new guestrooms and 4,200 square feet of meeting space. An infinity plunge pool now sits atop a rooftop terrace, and the Chill Spa now has a cutting-edge fitness facility.

The guestrooms are a mix of basic, Urban Studios, and suites of one, two and three bedrooms. The terrace surrounding the plunge pool consists of 1,700 square feet of space with outstanding views of the ski resort and mountains, and the new ballroom has floor-to-ceiling windows that open to a patio overlooking Teton Village.

Photos aren’t available yet, but you can click here to get a sense of what it will look like.

Top 10 national parks, thanks to TripAdvisor

More than 3,000 TripAdvisor readers in the United States have selected the top 10 national parks. Big shock: nine out of 10 are out west. Only Maine made it onto the list. But, let’s face it – if you want big, impressive national parks, you have leave the East Coast.

These readers are definitely interested in the national park scene. More than 70 percent plan to visit one this year, up from 62 percent in 2008. And, searches on TripAdvisor for “national park” and “national parks” are up 21 percent for the first five months of 2009 (relative to the same period last year).

So, what are the top spots?

  1. Zion National Park, Utah
  2. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
  3. White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
  4. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
  5. Redwood National and State Parks, California
  6. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Nevada
  7. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
  8. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
  9. Yosemite National Park, California
  10. Acadia National Park, Maine

“As Americans look for inexpensive travel ideas this summer, many are seeking out the amazing natural beauty that lies in our country’s own back yard,” said Michele Perry, vice president of global communications for TripAdvisor. “National Parks can offer travelers an active, affordable and often awe-inspiring escape outdoors.”