The Best Of The West: Classic Ski Lodges

tamarack lodgeDespite deceptively balmy temperatures in parts of the U.S., there’s still plenty of ski season left. Why not spend it staying at a classic ski lodge or chalet out West? These regal or groovy remnants from the early-to-mid-20th century are a dying breed, although some have been refurbished to good effect, while still retaining their original style. They also tend to offer friendly, personalized service, so you feel like a welcome guest, not just a number.

Classic places are often more affordable, and just as stylish and comfortable than their boutique or generic high-end chain counterparts. Even when they’re pricey, they’re a bit of living history that can give your ski trip a fun retro feel. Think racy Piz Buin and Lange boots ads, fondue, tight, color-blocked sweaters, Bicentennial Ray-Bans, and all things Bavarian.

Below, some favorite vintage ski accommodations across the West. Don’t forget your Glockenspiel.

Tyrolean Lodge, Aspen, CO
It may come as a shock that Aspen has a classic ski lodge that’s remained little-changed in atmosphere or ski-town spirit since its opening in 1970, but the Tyrolean is just that place. Located several minutes’ walk from the slopes, this no-frills, family-owned chalet is one of the best deals in town, with rooms starting at $155/night; some with kitchenettes. The rooms have been upgraded to be more modern, but the decor and vibe is still vintage Tyrol ski culture. Love.

Tamarack Lodge
, Mammoth Mountain, CA
This small, mid-century property overlooking Twin Lakes is on the California Register of Historic Places, and caters to the cross-country crowd. It has both European guesthouse style rooms, historic, refurbished cabins (see photo above), and from December through April, ski-in/out access. If the town of Mammoth is too hectic and soulless for you, consider this a peaceful alternative to the mainstream.
strawberry lodgeStrawberry Lodge, Kyburz, CA
Highway 50 Tahoe road-trip regulars will be familiar with this former Pony Express stop (right). Located off the side of the road in the nano-community of Kyburz, Strawberry is 20 minutes from South Shore. It’s seriously old-school, in that musty, funky way, with bad taxidermy, historical oddities, and is a much-loved Lake Tahoe institution.

With 31 rooms starting at just $49 a night (some are European style, with a shared bath), it’s hard to pass up, especially when you consider the proximity to all manner of vices, ranging from drinking (please don’t attempt to drive back) and gambling, to outdoor recreation. I love it because it’s one of the last remnants of old Tahoe, in a pastoral mountain setting. Strawberry also offers cross-country skiing, and the restaurant and bar can get hopping, sometimes with live music.
sun valley lodge
Sun Valley Lodge, Idaho
Built in 1936 at America’s first destination ski resort (with the world’s first chairlifts), the SVL was considered cutting-edge. It offered “every amenity a skier could possibly imagine.” Today, the 148-room property has been completely refurbished into a luxury hotel, complete with glass-encased swimming pool, yet it retains its majestic timber-and-stone facade and stately atmosphere.
P.S. Hemingway slept here.

Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood, OR
Celebrating its 76th year, this National Historic Landmark (lobby, right) was built at a time when American heritage and the spirit of adventure crashed head-on with the Great Depression. FDR heralded the lodge as a “testament to the workers on the rolls of the Works Progress Administration,” which funded most of the property’s construction. The lodge shut down twice, once during WWII, and again in 1955, as it had fallen into disrepair. Under a new lessee, it was restored to grandeur and reopened later that year.

Located less than 90 minutes from Portland, Mt. Hood is a favorite local’s ski area. Timberline is built in the classic Pacific Northwestern lodge style, constructed primarily by hand of native timber and rock. The bright rooms are upscale rustic, with wood paneling, thick comforters, and stone fireplaces: all the trappings for a cozy getaway.

Alta Peruvian Lodge
, UT
Located at one of Utah’s premier ski resorts, this three-story wooden lodge had an unlikely start as a pair of barracks buildings in Brigham. They were relocated to Alta in eight pieces, and reconstructed into a 50-room lodge that opened in 1948. In 1979, an architect was hired to gussy up the property, although by today’s standards, it retains a retro Alpine charm (the kelly-green shutters decorated with Edelweiss, for example).

Rooms are straightforward and more motel than mountain lodge, but a fantastic deal, starting at $129 for a dorm bed. Prices include all meals, served family style in the lodge dining room, and free shuttle service to Alta Mountain and Snowbird. There are also twin and queen rooms with a shared or private bath, as well as bedroom suites. As for why the property is called the Peruvian? No one knows, although possibly it’s for a nearby landmark, Peruvian Creek.
Nordic Inn
Nordic Inn, Crested Butte, CO
Reopened on December 15, 2012, under new ownership, this beloved, 28-room Alpine lodge (right) opened over 50 years ago. Located just 500 yards from the slopes, the Nordic has refurbished half of its spacious rooms, which are now kitted out with hardwood floors, down comforters and pillows, and gorgeous Colorado beetle kill pine woodwork. The remaining rooms (which are a colorful ode to the ’80s, and a screaming deal for ski-in lodging) will be redone by June 1.

P.S. Ski lodges aren’t just for winter! Many are open year-round, and summer is also peak season for outdoor recreation.

[Photo credits: Tamarack, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area; Strawberry, 50Cabins.COM; Sun Valley, Sun Valley Resorts; Nordic Inn, Ken Stone]

Daniel Suelo, The Man Who Quit Money, On Living And Traveling For Free

daniel suelo the man who quit moneyDaniel Suelo is easily the most famous homeless person in America. His story has been featured in Details, ABC News, BBC, The Daily Mail, the Guardian, the Oregonian, and a host of other publications. And last year, a division of Penguin Books published a book about Suelo’s life, “The Man Who Quit Money.”

Suelo, 51, who changed his given name from Shellabarger, (Suelo means “soil” in Spanish) spends most of his time sleeping in a cave but he’s not your ordinary homeless person. He’s a college graduate (University of Colorado Boulder) who served in the Peace Corps and once held regular 9-5 jobs before completely swearing off money in the Fall of 2000. In fact, society might view him as homeless, but in fact, he has two homes – one inside a small cave near Arches National Park and a small tent site on private property within the city limits of Moab, Utah.

Since he gave up using money, people from around the world have made the pilgrimage to Moab to seek Suelo’s advice on how to live for free. He runs his website from the public library in Moab and is happy to share his living without money survival skills with anyone who cares to listen.

daniel sueloSuelo and I were supposed to meet up while I was in Moab last week but since he has no phone, he isn’t the easiest person to reach. I caught up with him on the phone while he was house sitting for a friend to ask him about living and traveling without money and how his life has changed since “The Man Who Quit Money” was published.

It was freezing at night in Moab last week. I know you do some house sitting for people in the winter, but are you still sleeping outdoors even in this weather?

Right now I’m house sitting but I was living out just a few weeks ago. It’s not that bad when I’m in my sleeping bag and tent; it’s not as bad as people think it is.

What kind of sleeping bag and tent do you have?

I’ve had different sleeping bags. I find them in dumpsters or just lying around. I double up sleeping bags in the winter.

I imagine you have to sleep with quite a few layers of clothing?

Not really. I take my pants off and just sleep with a shirt and underwear.

So when you have a house-sitting gig, you don’t dread going back to your cave when it’s over?

No, not at all. I feel more liberated when I sleep outside. This is the first year I’ve used a tent. I used to just use a tarp. I found two tents – and I put the small one inside the larger one and it’s actually quite insulated in there. I light two or three candles and I’m amazed how warm it is. I’m warmer in there than in a house.

Has your life changed since the book came out?

In a lot of ways, it has. I went on half of the book tour with the author and I’ve had a lot more visitors.

How was the book tour?

We didn’t stay in any hotels. Penguin Books gave Mark a very low budget for the tour. He wanted me to come along so we crashed with friends and strangers. Sometimes we didn’t know where we were going to sleep that night and someone would always offer us a place and we camped out a few times. It was really fun. It’s fun not knowing where you’re going to sleep at night.

Do you think he envies your lifestyle?

In some ways, I think he does. He used to kind of live this way himself, so it’s nostalgic for him.

You both worked at a restaurant in Moab together, right?

Right – we worked at a natural foods restaurant together that isn’t here any more.

Have you had to move to a different cave since the book came out?

No. People still can’t find that place. Over the past decade, I’m always camping in different places, but I have this one cave that’s been pretty stable for me.

In the book, there’s a scene where a ranger evicted you from a cave. So after you were evicted did you move to a new cave?

Yeah, I switched caves. I found a much more stealth one.


Tell me about your cave?

It’s way back in one of the canyons here. It’s way up on a ledge. It’s quite stealth. I’d say it’s about an hour walk from the nearest road.

But you also have a crash pad set up outside on someone’s private property in Moab, right?

Right. I have a tent there too.

daniel sueloWhat’s your cave like?

It goes back about 15-20 feet. It’s like a crevice in a cliff. It’s about 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide, 15 feet back. I have a few buckets of food in there, plus my sleeping bag, some books, and I built a little wood stove from a cookie tin. And I have candles and oil lamps too.

What percentage of what you eat comes from garbage bins?

When I’m here in Moab, 80% of my food is castoffs, stuff from dumpsters. The rest I forage – wild edibles and people give me things, though I discourage people from buying me anything.

So if I bought you some muffins you wouldn’t eat them?

I do it but I discourage people from doing that.

Is the stuff you find in garbage bins mostly expired?

Most of it is past the sell-by date but not the eat-by date. I don’t think I eat more expired food than anyone else. A lot of the food I find in dumpsters isn’t even expired.

I know you love to travel. What kind of travel tips can you offer?

Traveling is easy. I travel more now than I did when I had money. I just go out and hitchhike.

Is it hard to get rides?

It’s harder than it used to be but it depends on where you’re going.

How long do you usually wait for rides?

I would say it’s usually half hour to an hour. My hair is gray now and when you’re hitchhiking at this age, people wonder why. Why you aren’t settled down with a job and a car? A young person is out for adventure but when you’re older people think you might be mentally ill. Sometimes people will say, ‘You’re not an ax murderer are you?’

But if you were, you probably wouldn’t admit it, would you?

That’s what I tell them.

And they still let you in the car?

Yeah. It’s just a release of tension. A joke.

So how does one avoid looking like an ax murderer while hitchhiking?

Just be yourself. Smiling is good if it’s genuine. Be clean. A couple years ago, I found a guitar in a dumpster, and I’ve found that people are more likely to pick you up if you’re carrying a guitar.

You can’t be an ax murderer if you’re carrying a guitar, right?


daniel sueloDo you travel with a tent and a sleeping bag?

I don’t carry a tent – that’s too bulky. I just bring a tarp and a sleeping bag usually. There are so many places to sleep. I usually just find a grove of trees somewhere, or in abandoned houses, or the roof of a building, places like that. Someone gave me a hammock and one time, the people I was with, we strung hammocks up in a park in San Diego between trees about 20-30 feet high and no one thinks to look up, so you’re stealth sleeping up there.

Most of the reviews of the book were positive, but some people said you were a mooch or a parasite.

We braced ourselves before the book tour for that because there’s been so many nasty comments about me on the Internet but people were positive on the book tour. It’s easier to be nasty when you’re anonymous on the Internet.

In a lot of ways, the negativity feels confirming though. I’m glad I’m riling people up, making them think. People aren’t going to think unless they’re upset.

I read in the book that people are sometimes hostile toward you when they encounter you dumpster diving?

Sometimes I ignore people, other times I challenge them. Why is it that throwing away food is fine but retrieving it in a world where people are starving is bad?

Will you have to retire from this lifestyle when you get too old?

I don’t want to go back to using money. Worrying about the future is the worst thing you can do. The Peace Pilgrim was my hero – she walked the country for almost 30 years and she was like 80 and was still healthy. She was in an auto accident; otherwise she could have kept going.

When you follow your heart and don’t baby your body too much, you’re healthier than someone who’s sitting in a nursing home. I’m a strong believer in natural selection though. When it’s my time to go, I’ll go.

I know you do some volunteer work but how do you spend your time when you’re not on the road?

I do a lot of reading and writing. I hike.

I’m sure Mark Sundeen didn’t get rich writing this book, but he did make money off of your story. Does that make you uncomfortable?

Not really. Most authors don’t make much. He’s struggling like everyone else. I feel good about helping him make a living. People say you aren’t contributing to society, well what is contributing to society? Why does there have to have a monetary value for it to be considered a contribution?

How do you contribute to society?

I guess I would ask somebody, ‘What does a tree or a dog or a bird contribute to society? Is stopping to talk to someone in the street contributing to society?’ Or if they don’t have time to stop and talk because they have to get to work, are they contributing to society?

Have you been tempted to use money over the last 10-12 years?

I’ve taken things people bought for me – more for their sake than mine. People want to be generous and they like to give. Most of the time, I get too much and I want less.

You don’t ever walk by a bakery, for example, and see something in the window and think – that looks delicious; I wish I could go inside and buy that?

Honestly, I don’t feel that way. There’s a grand feeling of gratitude when things come on their own time. In the money culture, we spoil that sense of fun and gratitude. I like the feeling of hunger when I experience it, but I don’t experience it that often.

Do you hope that people will follow our example in living without money?

Deep down, I like the idea that my example might inspire people but I won’t worry about it if people don’t want to do it. I do like to proselyte though.

Why do you love to travel?

This is why I live the way I do – I don’t like to be tied down. I feel more free to travel now than when I had money even though it’s harder to get places. I just get up and go when I want to. I like the sense of freedom that travel offers. Especially when the travel is random. Sometimes I don’t know where I’m going. I have no idea what’s around the next corner. And I like that.

[Photo credits: Daniel Suelo, GQ]

Events Worth Planning A Trip Around In 2013

Have you ever landed in a place to find out you arrived just after the town’s can’t-miss event of the year? Well, hopefully that won’t happen again this year. Gadling bloggers racked their brains to make sure our readers don’t overlook the best parties to be had throughout the world in 2013. Below are more than 60 music festivals, cultural events, pilgrimages and celebrations you should consider adding to your travel calendar this year – trust us, we’ve been there.

Above image: Throughout Asia, Lunar New Year is celebrated with lantern festivals, the most spectacular of which is possibly Pingxi. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]

Kumbh Mela, a 55-day festival in India, is expected to draw more than 100 million people in 2013. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]

January 7–27: Sundance Film Festival (Park City, Utah)
January 10–February 26: Kumbh Mela (Allahabad, India)
January 21: Presidential Inauguration (Washington, DC)
January 26–February 12: Carnival of Venice (Venice, Italy)
January 26–February 13: Battle of the Oranges (Ivrea, Italy)
During Busójárás in Hungary, visitors can expect folk music, masquerading, parades and dancing. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]
February 3: Super Bowl XLVII (New Orleans, Louisiana)
February 5–11: Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo, Japan)
February 7–12: Busójárás (Mohács, Hungary)
February 10: Chinese New Year/Tet (Worldwide)
February 9–12: Rio Carnival (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
February 12: Mardi Gras (Worldwide)
February 14: Pingxi Lantern Festival (Taipei, Taiwan)
February 24: Lunar New Year (Worldwide)

Several cities in India and Nepal increase tourist volume during Holi, when people enjoy spring’s vibrant colors. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]
March 1-14: Omizutori (Nara, Japan)
March 8–17: South by Southwest (Austin, Texas)
March 20–April 14: Cherry Blossom Festival (Washington, DC)
March 27: Holi (Worldwide, especially India & Nepal)

Many Dutch people wear orange – the national color – and sell their secondhand items in a “free market” during Koninginnendag, a national holiday in the Netherlands. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]
April 12–14 & April 19–21: Coachella (Indio, California)
April 11-14: Masters Golf Tournament (Augusta, Georgia)
April 13–15: Songkran Water Festival (Thailand)
April 17–28: TriBeCa Film Festival (New York, New York)
April 25–28: 5Point Film Festival (Carbondale, Colorado)
April 30: Koninginnendag or Queen’s Day (Netherlands)

Up to 50 men work together to carry their church’s patron saint around the main square in Cusco, Peru during Corpus Christi. [Photo credit: Blogger Libby Zay]
May 4: Kentucky Derby (Louisville, Kentucky)
May 15–16: Festival de Cannes (Cannes, France)
May 20: Corpus Christi (Worldwide)
May 23–26: Art Basel (Hong Kong)
May 24–27: Mountainfilm Film Festival (Telluride, Colorado)
May 25-28: Sasquatch Festival (Quincy, Washington)
May 26: Indianapolis 500 (Speedway, Indiana)

2013 marks the 100th anniversary for the Tour de France. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]

June 13–16: Bonnaroo (Manchester, Tennessee)
June 13–16: Art Basel (Basel, Switzerland)
June 14–16: Food & Wine Classic (Aspen, Colorado)
June 21: St. John’s Night (Poznan, Poland)
June 24: Inti Raymi (Cusco, Peru)
June 28–30: Comfest (Columbus, Ohio)
June 29–July 21: Tour de France (France)

The annual observance of Ramadan is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Visit Istanbul, Turkey, at this time and see a festival-like atmosphere when pious Muslims break their fasts with lively iftar feasts at night. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]
July 6–14: San Fermin Festival (Pamplona, Spain)
July 9–August 2: Ramadan (Worldwide)
July 12–14: Pitchfork (Chicago, Illinois)
July 17: Gion Festival Parade (Kyoto, Japan)
July 18–21: International Comic Con (San Diego, California)
July 19–22: Artscape (Baltimore, Maryland)
July 24–28: Fete de Bayonne (Bayonne, France)

Festival-goers get their picture taken at a photo booth during Foo Fest, an arts and culture festival held annually in Providence, Rhode Island. [Photo credit: Flickr user AS220]
August 2–4: Lollapalooza (Chicago, Illinois)
August 10: Foo Fest (Providence, Rhode Island)
August 26–September 2: Burning Man (Black Rock Desert, Nevada)
August 31–September 2: Bumbershoot (Seattle, Washington)

More than six million people head to Munich, Germany, for beer-related festivities during the 16-day Oktoberfest. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]
September 5–15: Toronto International Film Festival (Toronto, Canada)
September 13–15: Telluride Blues & Brews Festival (Telluride, Colorado)
September 21–October 6: Oktoberfest (Munich, Germany)

Around 750 hot air balloons are launched during the nine-day Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. [Photo credit: Flickr user Randy Pertiet]

October 4–6 & 11–13: Austin City Limits (Austin, Texas)
October 5–13: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
October 10–14: United States Sailboat Show (Annapolis, Maryland)

During Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), family and friends get together to remember loved ones they have lost. Although practiced throughout Mexico, many festivals take place in the United States, such as this festival at La Villita in San Antonio, Texas. [Photo credit: Blogger Libby Zay]
November 1–2: Dia de los Muertos (Worldwide, especially Mexico)
November 3: Diwali (Worldwide)
November 8–10: Fun Fun Fun Fest (Austin, Texas)
November 11: Cologne Carnival (Cologne, Germany)
November 28: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (New York, New York)
TBA: Punkin Chunkin (Long Neck, Delaware)

The colorful holiday of Junkanoo is the most elaborate festivals of the Bahamian islands. [Photo credit: Flickr user MissChatter]
December 2–3: Chichibu Yomatsuri (Chichibu City, Japan)
December 5–8: Art Basel (Miami, Florida)
December 26–January 1: Junkanoo (Bahamas)

So, what did we miss? Let us know what travel-worthy events you’re thinking about journeying to in the coming year in the comments below.

Video: Winter Time-Lapse Of America’s Southwest

If you’ve been reading Dave Seminara’s posts this week on winter hiking in Arches and Canyonlands National Park you probably already have some sense of just how spectacular this region of the U.S. actually is. But just in case you need a reminder, this beautiful time-lapse video from the American southwest will certainly do the trick. In addition to being filmed in the parks mentioned above, this short film was shot in a number of other great locations throughout Utah and Arizona, including Zion, Monument Valley and Horseshoe Bend.

At just two minutes and thirty-three seconds in length, it is a bit short, however, and by the end you’ll be left wanting more. Perhaps that is just the teaser you need to inspire your own journey to his breathtaking outdoor playground. If you haven’t been there yet, definitely add it to your list of places to visit.

White Southwest Timelapse” from Zhuokang Jia on Vimeo.

Hiking Arches National Park In Winter With A Pair Of Worn Out Sneakers

arches national park utahHow did I end up on the ass end of the famous Delicate Arch rock formation at Arches National Park in Utah? That’s the question I asked myself one afternoon last week as I was standing on the slippery base of the arch in completely inappropriate sneakers, looking down at the steep drop into the canyon below. (see video below)
At Arches, you can’t miss the Delicate Arch, a huge rock formation that stands on the brink of a canyon with the imposing, snow capped La Sal Mountains as a backdrop. (It’s even on the state license plate in Utah) But you can easily get lost trying to find the damn vantage point above the arch, especially in the winter, when the crowds range from sparse to nonexistent and there’s no one to follow.

delicate arch arches national park utahIn truth, I should have known better. I’m a fairly experienced hiker, so I know that you’re supposed to follow the cairns- those short stacks of rocks that mark trails. But I like to hike fast and when I’m wrapped up in the natural splendor of a place, I tend to lose concentration, as I did on this day, when I began to follow footprints up a series of steep rocks, rather than the cairns.

When I finally reached the base of the Delicate Arch, I looked to my left and noticed a cluster of hikers sitting up on top of a colossal wall of rock looking down onto the arch. There was a steep drop off and no way for me to walk across and up the rock to their vantage point, so I made the assumption that I needed to climb around the arch to get up to where they were.

I had planned to buy a new pair of hiking boots on the trip, but had been so busy waking up before the crack of dawn to hike and take photos each day that I didn’t have time to buy them. I was wearing a pair of running sneakers with virtually no tread left and my attempt to shimmy around the sides of the arch, which has a fairly steep drop on both sides, scared the hell out of me.

It seemed hard to believe that the park’s most popular trail would lead people along such a treacherous path, yet I couldn’t figure out how to reach the upper vantage point I could see. I considered yelling across to the hikers on the plateau but felt too ashamed to scream out, ‘HEY! HOW DO I GET UP THERE?’ But after I nearly slipped and fell down the canyon (see video above and below) I finally realized that I must have taken a wrong turn.

arches national park utahI retraced my steps and eventually realized that the path requires hikers to make their approach behind the steep wall of rock in order to reach the upper vantage point of Delicate Arch. It was a humbling start to my visit to Arches, but I soon fell in love with the place nonetheless. Arches is a remarkably beautiful place and it’s only a couple miles outside Moab, one of just a handful of left-leaning places in a very red state.

The park has at least 2,000 arches, formed by erosion over a period of more than 100 million years but it’s relatively easy to see most of Arches in a day or two, depending on which hikes you take. How beautiful is it? Chose any adjective you like- stupendous, awe-inspiring, breathtaking, mesmerizing- they all fit.

arches national park utah
Delicate Arch is the most hyped hiking trail in the park but I enjoyed the Park Avenue, Windows, Balanced Rock, and Devil’s Garden trails just as much. (Though I only completed part of Devil’s Garden, due to my shoddy footwear) Arches is a popular place for most of the year, but I had the place mostly to myself on a Sunday afternoon and almost completely to myself on a Tuesday in early January. Nearby Canyonlands National Park was even quieter.

Some sections of the roads in the park were a bit icy, but given the choice between sitting in traffic at Arches when it’s 100 degrees or having the place to myself when it’s 30 and a bit icy, I’ll take the later every time. If you want to go someplace quiet to relieve stress, I can’t think of a better place than Arches in the winter. But dress warm, bring your own food and water, and, whatever you do, follow the cairns, not the foot and paw prints.

[Photo/video credits: Dave Seminara]