How to Spend 7 Days in Park City, Utah

How to Spend 7 Days in Park City, Utah

Park City is unique among winter vacation destinations because of the diversity that is created by having two world-class ski operations within minutes of each other. In some cases, Deer Valley Resort is separated by a rope on a ridge from Park City Mountain Resort, but there is no connection beyond that, so you’ll rely on the character, access, and infrastructure of the town to open the gates to both. You could easily spend 7 days at only one, but for this itinerary, buckle up for a whirlwind tour of both. For more information about Utah skiins, read our post Less Hassle, More Time on the Slopes: Why Utah Will Be the Easiest Ski Trip of Your Life

The High West Distillery & Saloon

Arrive at Salt Lake International Airport before noon, and it’s conceivable you could head straight to Park City and be on the mountain for a half-day of skiing/riding. Plenty of seasoned Park City visitors do it. But for this trip, you will be taking the long view, and there will be plenty of turns to come over the next week. Whether you are renting a car or taking one of the many shuttle services that will deliver you and your party from curb to condo, take your time making your way to where you’ll be spending our nights. You have plenty of choices, but a great one is Silver Star, which offers condo-style accommodations at Park City Mountain Resort. One of the nice things about Park City is that no matter where you stay, it’s an easy trip to hit either resort or the downtown area.

One of the nice things about Park City is that no matter where you stay, it’s an easy trip to hit either resort or the downtown area. After you get dialed into your digs, why not head to Main Street and start with some cocktails at High West Distillery & Saloon? If you like what you see on the menu (you likely will), either stay put for an early dinner, or take your pick of dozens of critically acclaimed eateries along Main and Lower Main Street to suit the mood.

Deer Valley Resort, UT

There is a lot of skiing to cover on this trip, and we’ll start with Deer Valley Resort. Start your day from Snow Park and you will be “Steining” hard, that is to say cruising some of Deer Valley’s legendary well-manicured mix of steeps and cruisers off of Bald Mountain. Take a few trips down Stein’s Way and the mixed terrain off of the Sultan chair. With amazing views of the Jordanelle Reservoir far below, you’ll find no shortage of selfie spots.

Lunch will be at the Silver Lake Lodge where the options will confound you, like Bald Mountain Pho. Seriously, where else can you get Pho on a ski hill? Dinner will be a reservation (highly recommended) for you and your group at Fireside Dining, a four-course, fixed-price experience that is more than just a meal. High up on the mountain at Empire Lodge, you’ll enjoy favorites from the European Alps like Swiss raclette, stews and roasted meats, and dessert fondue cooked right at the stone fireplaces at the lodge.

Stein Eriksen Lodge

Stop at the legendary Stein Eriksen Lodge for lunch or dinner. Photo courtesy Park City Chamber/ Bureau
The next day will be more of the same at Deer Valley, with an emphasis on exploring the terrain on the Empire Canyon and Lady Morgan side of the resort. You may or may not notice that while doing laps in Empire Bowl, you are literally just one rope away from Park City Mountain’s McConkey’s side, but hold those thoughts for a few more days and focus on Deer Valley.

If you are looking for steeps, try Daly Chutes. If there is a powder day in the forecast, you could spend half a day just lapping the trees off of the Lady Morgan chair. On powder days at Deer Valley it just seems like it doesn’t get tracked out quite as fast as other mountains. Use this wisdom to your advantage. For lunch, unbuckle your boots and sit down to a table at the legendary Stein Eriksen Lodge, just steps from the Silver Lake area. Resist the temptation to have a lunch blend into the apres hours. Get out there for some late afternoon runs, all the way until closing bell.

Dinner tonight will be a little more casual and ad hoc, you’ll head out on the town and see what feels right—maybe Southwestern at Chimayo, or locals’ favorite sushi rolls at Flying Sumo located on Lower Main in the Town Lift building. Pack up your gear and check out in the morning and shift focus to another part of town.

Day 4

Park City Mountain Resort is serviced by 41 lifts, enabling you to explore far from where you’re staying. Photo courtesy Park City Chamber/ Bureau

Nordic and Steak

After two solid days at Deer Valley, it’s time for a mid-week transition, but let’s not call it a rest day. It’s time to channel your inner Norwegian and sample some of the town’s other kind of groomed trails and get some cardio in. Check out the White Pine Touring Nordic Center, steps away from Silver Star. In the non-winter months, this is the home of Park City’s municipal golf course, but in the winter it’s transformed into the town’s cross-country skiing hub featuring a variety of groomed track for both skate and classic cross-country skiing.

All your gear needs can be handled right on site, and you’ll start off with a lesson from one of the many Nordic-certified instructors who will teach you things in an hour or two that would have taken a lifetime of trial and error to learn. When you’ve had enough, head back to your digs at Silver Star, because, you know, hot tubs. Dinner is at the iconic Grub Steak Restaurant in Prospector Square for a dose of old Park City. Enjoy the best in town for steaks, seafood, chops, and an epic salad bar.

Day 5

Park City Mountain Resort is serviced by 41 lifts, enabling you to explore far from where you’re staying.

Photo courtesy Park City Chamber/ Bureau

Park City Mountain Resort

There is nothing old about Park City Mountain Resort after Vail Resorts took it over and promptly pumped more than $50 million into capital improvements. The most noticeable of these is the Quicksilver 8 person gondola that connects the Park City side with the Canyons side, and the new Miner’s Camp day lodge and restaurant. From where these two are located, you could take the bait and hop on the gondola, but you could also spread yourself really thin riding lifts back and forth, so take a patient approach and ski the Park City side.

There are plenty of great runs off of the Silverlode and King Con lifts. High atop the ridge above McConkey’s bowl will likely be the iconic selfie spot on this day. If you are enjoying yourself on this side of the mountain, the historic Mid Mountain Lodge is a great place for lunch. After lunch you’ll be in the right place to make your way to the Jupiter lift, where the most challenging terrain on the mountain sits hidden from plain view. Ski down at the end of the day all the way to where your day began at Silver Star Village, for après at the Silver Star Café. Dinner will be at Red Rock in Kimball Junction. A favorite of the locals, this brew pub features excellent drafts, seasonally bottled varieties, and great pub food.

Day 6

The Quicksilver Gondola transports skiers back and forth from the Park City side of the mountain to the Canyons Village side.

Photo courtesy Park City Chamber/ Bureau

The Canyons

This is your day to focus on the Canyons side. You could get there in two different ways: either from the Park City side, by beelining it up to the Quicksilver Gondola, or consider lining up a shuttle (or the free public bus) in the morning to drop you off at the Canyons Village to start from there. Let’s assume you do that. You’ll ride the Orange Bubble, named for it’s orange-tinted “hoods” that can be pulled down to shield passengers from the weather. Oh, and it’s heated. The bubble gets you to the core terrain on the Condor side, which is where you will find the goods on a powder day.

As you work your way back towards the Park City side, and the recently completely renovated Red Pine Lodge will be your spot for lunch. Make sure you leave some time at the end of the day to navigate to the Quicksilver Gondola, so you can make it back to the Park City side for the last run down to the King Con lift, then back to Silver Star. Tonight’s dinner will be back in Canyons Village at The Farm, where fine dining is fused with a farm-to-table menu.

Day 7

See future generations of ski jumpers and bobsledders train and explore the state’s Olympic legacy at the Utah Olympic Park.

Photo courtesy Park City Chamber/ Bureau

Utah Olympic Park

Had enough? Not likely. There is no way to do it all in Park City on one trip, and this is all just a scouting mission for your next trip here. If you are the type that burns the candle all the way down and you have a later flight out, you can get another half day at either side of Park City Mountain. If an earlier flight keeps you off your skis for the last day, then check out the Utah Olympic Park on your way out of town. 

Park City hosted many venues for the 2002 Winter Games, and the Olympic Park is still an active training and competition venue for our next generation of Olympic ski jumpers, freestyle skiers, bobsledders, luge, and skeleton athletes. the Alf Engen Ski Museum is located here and definitely worth a stop.

One caveat about this ideal trip: If there are snowboarders in your group, Deer Valley politely remains a skiers-only mountain. If you want to stay together, you’ll have to do it at Park City Mountain Resort. Or split up when they want to hit the terrain parks. Of course, the great thing about Park City is how many different options are available. Plan out some of your favorites ahead of time, but you really can’t go wrong spending time at either resort.

Written by Thomas Cooke for RootsRated in partnership with Visit Park City and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

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The Benefits Of Walking: Nine Reasons To Pound The Pavement

The Benefits Of Walking: Nine Reasons To Pound The Pavement

Walk it off – the weight, that is…

A recent survey found that one in five adults in the UK hadn’t walked continuously for more than 20 minutes in the past year. Pretty shocking when you consider walking is not only one of the easiest ways to get active, it’s by far the cheapest.

Forget pricy gym memberships and form-fitting Lycra – all you need are comfortable shoes. You don’t need to be scaling mountains or going on all-day hikes to see the benefits either.

If you need any more of an incentive to start walking more, sign up for Walk All Over Cancer this March. This fundraising event for Cancer Research UK asks people to commit to hitting an average of 10,000 steps a day for the whole month of March. The best way to do it is to hit the target each day, but don’t worry if you miss a day here and there – you can make it up with a long hike at the weekend.

London School of Economics found those who walked briskly for more than 30 minutes five days a week had smaller waists and a lower BMI than those doing other activities.

Taking part in Walk All Over Cancer is a great way to raise money for a worthy cause, but it’s not an entirely selfless act – by walking regularly you’ll benefit in at least the following nine ways.

1.

Walking can help you maintain a healthy weight.

In fact, it might be better than the gym. Research from the London School of Economics found those who walked briskly for more than 30 minutes five days a week had smaller waists and a lower BMI than those doing other activities.

2.

It can have benefits for your wallet.

Leaving the car at home or bypassing the bus and walking to work instead saves cash. And you’ll probably arrive in a much better mood than you would after your usual commute too.

3.

Walking is a cardiovascular exercise…

…which can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

4.

Walking can improve your posture.

“Posture is a really big issue – everybody tends to have their shoulders hunched forward and their head drooping,” says Joanna Hall, founder of WalkActive. “If you do that your back becomes very stiff. When you walk properly, with good posture, you’re able to have a much more open line across your chest, which is better for your breathing and your back.”

5.

You’ll live longer.

Research from the European Society of Cardiology found that the heart-boosting benefits of daily brisk walks can add up to seven years to your life.

6.

It’s a social activity.

“Walking provides a great chance to catch up and talk to somebody,” says Hall. “It’s easier to have really meaningful conversations when you’re in nature, rather than in an urban area.”

7.

It helps build muscle strength.

Walking uses more than 200 muscles and is particularly good for strengthening your thighs, calves and glutes. Plus, it’s low-impact so it’s good if you have any niggles or problems with your joints.

8.

It boosts your mood…

…especially if you walk somewhere green. A report from mental health charity Mind found that walking in parks or the countryside reduced feelings of depression in 71% of participants and boosted self-esteem in 90% of them.

9.

It’s a great way of getting to know your local area…

…and discovering shops, green spaces and hidden streets you may not even have known were there. Maybe the odd pub, too. “You’ve got all the National Trust and English Heritage [also Historic Scotland and Cadw in Wales] sites,” says Hall, “but there’s also the Thames Pathway, the coastal paths… and there are a lot of urban areas now where the cities are focusing on improving the quality of the walking areas.”

How To Walk Faster

An old saw says get off public transport a stop or so before your destination then walk the rest. All well and good, unless it takes you ages and makes you late. But there’s a technique that can help so you can hold your head high – literally – as you speed past gridlocked traffic. “Often when people increase their speed it becomes a powerwalk, which has a lot of tension in it,” says Hall. “This can create back pain and stiffness around the shoulders. Walking should look effortless and really smooth, but internally it should feel like you’re working quite hard.” Hall has three tips to sharpen up your walking technique. “We call these your accelerators. One is to push more through your toes. The second is to lift your head, which means that your stride length will increases because you have greater hip extension. “The third thing is to have greater back arm swing. The more your arm goes back, the more your body will be propelled forward. These three accelerators will help you increase your walking speed without it looking stiff.”

How To Walk More

Once you’ve nailed your walking technique, it’s time to put your skills into practice by doing more walking. Hall suggest getting a fitness tracker to help motivate you and also adding walking to your most common activities. “I encourage people to find something they do every day and give themselves a target to walk for ten minutes before they do that task. Whether that’s getting a coffee, or reading emails, or speaking to a friend or family member. Find yourself a task you do every day and piggyback ten minutes of walking onto it. If you do that with three tasks every day it’s a really good way to get walking into your day.”

Written by Charlotte Thomas for Coach and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

How to Prep Your Gear for Ski Season: 6 Pro Tips

How to Prep Your Gear for Ski Season: 6 Pro Tips

As ski season approaches, you may be more than ready to hit the slopes—but is your gear?

For some pro tips on prepping your equipment, RootsRated spoke with Zach Yates, gear guru and repair shop manager at Footloose Sports, a popular ski shop in Mammoth, California. The bottom line, Yates says: “You want everything as predictable as possible,” in order to prevent injury and set yourself up for a kick-ass season on the slopes. Here, Yates’ tips on how to make that happen.

1. Start with your skis.

First things first: Make like the Karate Kid and start waxing. You’ll be waxing off first—as in, removing that grubby layer of wax you (hopefully) rubbed on at the end of last season to prevent oxidation and damage to the base of the ski. Then, grab some new wax—it’s designated for various temperatures, depending on where you’ll be skiing—and don’t skimp on applying it.

“You can never over wax a ski—the more wax the better,” Yates says. “For World Cup racers, their skis are prepped 20-30 times before they hit the snow. And beginners will sometimes say, ‘I don’t want a lot of wax, because I don’t want to go too fast,’ but wax really helps to just make the ski glide better. Whenever a ski glides very well, you won’t have any resistance, and it will make everything easier.”

2. Drop the cash on detuning.

A few words on detuning (which basically means removing burrs and blunting the edges of tips and tails to prevent them from hooking into the snow): You can do it at home, but Yates points out that you can never get back the material you wear off. Detuning generally costs around $50, and as Yates says, “it’s worth spending the money to get it done right, just like with anything.”

We tend to agree. But if you must attempt it yourself, check out YouTube for videos that show the process step-by-step.

3. Give your boots plenty of love.

Your boots are your most important piece of equipment, so be sure they’re in tip-top shape before the season starts. Start by removing the liners and foot beds, making sure no creepy-crawlies made them their summer home. After airing everything out, put it all back in and buckle the boots, to help maintain the shape.

Considering buying new boots? Start shopping now, when selection is still good, and keep in mind that boots should be snug. “Everyone has a misconception that, if my boots are too tight, it’s going to hurt,” Yates says. “But it’s actually the opposite. If there’s too much movement, you’ll get a hot spot.”

But expect your new boots to be uncomfortable for the first few days. And, if you notice any trouble spots, a professional fitter can use a technique called punching out, which involves heating and stretching the plastic shell where necessary. (Don’t even think about trying it at home). Check out bootfitters.com to find your perfect boot and local bootfitter. 

4. Give your bindings some love too.

Two words here: function test. This is a critical run-through that gear specialists perform using a torque wrench on the binding to make sure it’s releasing properly. It’s crucial to get a function test on a regular basis—at least once a season, or between 15-30 days of skiing—as the factors that influence the binding setting (more on that below), including body weight, fluctuate (like that weeklong après feast of fondue and beer, for example).

“The most common injury in skiing is a knee injury from a slow, twisting backward fall, and if your bindings are set too high – say you lost weight over the summer—then you can blow out your ACL,” Yates says. “A function test costs about 20 bucks, and ACL surgery is at least $5,000.”

5. Know your number.

If you’re renting gear, be sure to ask the rental shop what your DIN setting is, if you don’t know already. Generally, the DIN setting refers to a calibrated standard that indicates the force necessary to release your bindings and reflects several factors, including your age, weight, skill level and type of skier. It will be displayed on your paperwork as well as the binding itself.

Why is it so important to know your DIN number? Because it’s a good point of reference if you need your bindings adjusted. And, as Yates points out, “At a shop that’s doing everything by the book, legally they have to tell you your DIN setting, and if they don’t, a red flag should go up.”

6. Get the skinny on your skins.

Don’t overlook prepping your skins for the season, too (no judgements if you just tossed them into the closet after your last backcountry excursion). To remove old glue and all of the gunk that sticks to it, Yates recommends cutting or tearing a paper bag in pieces, placing them along the length of your skins and running a hot iron over them. Slowly remove the bag pieces, which will also pick up the old glue and grime. (Here’s a quick video tutorial ).

Follow all these steps, and your gear will be as ready as you are for ski season. See you on the slopes.

Written by Blane Bachelor for RootsRated and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

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The Ultimate Home Workout Plan

The Ultimate Home Workout Plan

It can sometimes feel like the fitness industry is in a constant rush to find the next big thing – the new diet, workout class or item of training kit that will get amazing results. In the process, everyone ends up overlooking tried-and-tested tools that do an outstanding job. Take the dumbbell, for example. The chances are you already own a pair that are gathering dust in a cupboard or under a bed. They’re not innovative and they don’t use amazing technology – but you know what? They work. So go dust them down and do this four-week plan. The kit may not be new, but the physique you’ll have after 28 days certainly will be.

How To Do The Plan

Do the following two workouts once a week (on Monday, and Friday) for four weeks, following the set, rep and rest counts indicated. Try to increase the weight you use each week so that you’re completing more work as you progress.

Workout 1: Monday

Dumbbell Swing

Sets: 3 Reps of 10; Rest 60 seconds

Send the dumbbell between your legs by hingeing at the hips, then push your glutes forwards powerfully so you use hip drive to raise the dumbbell to shoulder height. Reverse the movement to the start and go straight into the next rep.

The Ultimate Home Workout Plan

2. Overhead Squat

Sets: 3 Reps of 10; Rest 60 seconds

Start with both weights held directly overhead, then simultaneously bend at the hips and knees to lower into a squat, without letting the weights come forwards.
The Ultimate Home Workout Plan

3. Side Lunge

Sets: 3 Reps of 8 each side; Rest 60 seconds

Start with a dumbbell in each hand, then take a big step to one side and bend your leading knee, keeping your foot pointing forwards and your knee in line with your toes. Push off your leading foot to return to the start, then take a big step the other way to repeat the move. Alternate sides with each rep.
The Ultimate Home Workout Plan

4. Press-up

Sets: 3 Reps of 8; Rest 60 seconds

Holding a dumbbell in each hand, perform a press-up then at the top, row one dumbbell up to your side. Lower the weight, then row the other dumbbell up to complete one rep.
The Ultimate Home Workout Plan

5. Leg Raise

Sets: 3 Reps of 10; Rest 60 seconds

Hold a dumbbell in one hand between your legs with your knees bent. Explosively extend your hips, knees and ankles to raise the weight overhead. Once your body is straight from head to toe, drop into a half squat to “catch” the weight overhead, then stand up straight.
The Ultimate Home Workout Plan

Workout 2: Wednesday

Like the first workout of the week, this session focuses on functional movements. And you can’t get more functional than a power snatch, which involves shifting a weight from a low position to above your head in one explosive move. The next move is the jump squat, which is a safe way of improving power just as you start to fatigue in the workout. The two abs moves at the end of the session are among the most effective exercises you can do in your quest to develop a rock-hard six-pack.

1. Power Snatch

Sets: 3 Reps of 10; Rest 60 seconds

Hold a dumbbell between your feet with your heels raised slightly off the ground. Keeping your legs straight, raise them until they are vertical, then lower slowly under control without letting your heels touch the floor.

The Ultimate Home Workout Plan

2. Squat Press (or Thruster)

Sets: 3 Reps of 10; Rest 60 seconds

Start with the dumbbells at shoulder level and lower into a squat, then stand up and press the weights directly overhead. Lower the weights and return to the start position.

The Ultimate Home Workout Plan

3. Jump Squat

Sets: 3 Reps of 6; Rest 60 seconds

Start with the dumbbells by your sides and lower into a half squat. Jump straight up off the ground, land softly and go straight into the next rep.

The Ultimate Home Workout Plan

4. Windmill

Sets: 2 Reps of 10 each side; Rest 60 seconds

Hold a dumbbell overhead, then bend at the waist by guiding one hand down your leg. Make sure you keep looking at the weight throughout the move.

The Ultimate Home Workout Plan

5. Roll-out

Sets: 3 Reps of 10; Rest 60 seconds

Kneel with the dumbbells below your shoulders. Roll the weights forwards as far as you can, using your abs to control the movement, then return to the start.

The Ultimate Home Workout Plan

Written by Men’s Fitness for Coach and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Featured image provided by Coach

Sharpening Skills

Sharpening Skills

Like their bases, your skis’ edges require regular maintenance to ensure they’re running as smoothly as possible in all snow conditions. Leif Sunde, ski technician and cofounder of the Denver Sports Lab, recommends getting into the habit of inspecting your skis’ edges at the end of every ski day to make sure they’re free and clear of any nicks and burrs. “If you find any major damage from rocks, especially on your base edges, take your skis to a shop and have the technicians address it with their machines,” says Sunde. Unless you’re an accomplished and confident ski technician, sharpening base edges should be left to the pros.

Minor scratches, burrs, rust, or dull patches on the skis’ side edges, however, can be easily addressed at home. The trickiest part is figuring out which file guide to use, as this depends on your skis’ factory side bevel. Skis generally come with a 1- to 3-degree factory side bevel, which means the skis’ side edges have an 89-, 88-, or 87-degree angle. Before tuning your edges, check your skis’ side edge bevel and use a file guide with the appropriate bevel angle. 

Pro tip: While adjustable file guides can be set to varying bevel angles, Sunde recommends working with a fixed file guide for a more accurate tune. 

How to remove rust and minor burrs from ski edges

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Ski Magazine

To remove rust and burs, use a spring clamp to affix a diamond stone to the file guide.

Tool: File guide with diamond stone
Step 1: Using a spring clamp, affix diamond stone to the angle-indicated side of the file guide so that the smooth and clean side of the guide is in contact with the base.

Step 2: In a light and feathery motion, move the file guide with diamond stone down the length of the side edge. Allow the file guide to do the work—you shouldn’t be getting an arm workout while polishing your edges. Ensure constant contact between the file guide and the ski’s base.

How to sharpen skis' side edges

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Ski Magazine

To sharpen edges, affix a bastard file to the file guide.

Tool : File guide with bastard file
Step 1: Using a spring clamp, affix bastard file to the angle-indicated side of the file guide so that the smooth and clean side of the guide is in contact with the base.

Step 2: In a light and feathery motion, move the file guide with file down the length of the side edge in sections to remove some of the edge material. Again, work in a feathering motion to take care not to take off too much material.

Step 3: Once edges are sharp, affix a diamond stone to the angle-indicated side of the file guide and work down the length of the edge to give it a polished finish.

Meet the technicians

Leif Sunde and Sam Petty are are highly experienced ski technicians who cofounded the Denver Sports Lab in Golden, Colo., to make Olympic- level tunes available to the public. 

Written by Jenny Wiegand for Ski Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Featured image provided by Ski Magazine

Ski Town: Stowe, Vt.

Ski Town: Stowe, Vt.

Vermont’s quintessential ski town has comfortably settled into life as an epic destination.

So what would you do with the extra $1,000? That’s about what the average pass-buyer saved when Stowe, the blue chip of Eastern skiing, was added to the Vail Resorts portfolio in 2017. Never mind what they saved using their pass at any of the other Epic resorts.

We could just spend it all on beer—the effects of beer tourism are nowhere more explosive than in Stowe, and whatever famous Vermont beers aren’t actually brewed here are available on tap or at the local grocery.

But there’s so much more to enjoy in Stowe: We could grab some sushi at the Matterhorn, then apps and wine at Cork Wine Bar. Get our skis tuned at AJ’s and our boots tweaked at Inner Bootworks, then massages at the Stoweflake. You’re buying, right?

Maybe it’s just the extra spending money, but spirits are especially high in Stowe lately. Two great winters in a row— and an especially gratifying spring session this year—also have a lot to do with it. If Stowe regulars, an intensely passionate and possessive lot, were initially worried about Epic crowds, things seem to have worked out just fine. (Weekdays, if you can possibly swing it, are still unbelievably uncrowded.) And all the wags who warned that Vail’s famous Yellow Jacket patrollers would ruin the fun by trying to make Stowe skiers slow down (good luck with that) owe Vail management a huge apology.

Stowe just seems pretty much the same in the Vail era. And all its charms remain patently obvious: a historic, quintessentially Vermont clapboard village, windows warmly glowing on winter evenings; superb ski terrain from sunny bunny slopes to the deepest, darkest trees on the flanks of Vermont’s highest peak; first-class slopeside accommodations and amenities at the now fully evolved Lodge at Spruce Peak hotel- cum-base village; and an access road lined with independent restaurants, shops, inns, and bars for every taste and budget.

The locals, meanwhile, seem pretty content with their choice of a town to build their lives in—and only a little smug about it. As long as it keeps snowing the way it has lately, that’s likely to remain the case.

Next time you’re in the area, stop by some of our favorite places:

Where to Sleep in Stowe:

Field Guide

Field Guide renovated an old lodge with whimsical design and nostalgia that will satisfy both Vermont purists and inner hipsters. The throwback vibe combines a dash of 1970s ski-town golden-era aesthetic with some all-purpose high-New England camp. What’s more, the lodge is located near all the action on the lower part of the Mountain Road.

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Ski Magazine

A cozy room at the Field Guide in Stowe, Vt.

Lodge at Spruce Peak

There’s a grandeur to the Lodge at Spruce Peak which seems fitting to its majestic setting. While many new hotels have dispensed with the lobby concept, the Lodge’s lobby is a big, gracious space with huge windows framing the slopes. Spa, valets, luxe rooms, innovative cuisine—come here to be pampered.

Stowe Attractions

Vermont Ski Museum 

Minnie Dole and the birth of the National Ski Patrol; the Civilian Conservation Corps; Andrea Meade, Billy Kidd, the Cochran family. When it comes to ski history, no state has a richer one than Vermont, and it’s all on display at the Vermont Ski Museum, located in the town of Stowe. A must for ski history buffs.

Where to Eat in Stowe:

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Ski Magazine

Food tastes as good as it looks at Plate.

Plate

Plate has been building buzz since chef-owner Aaron Martin took over. Martin takes inspiration from the California culinary scene, especially its commitment to fresh, simple, and local. The menu varies by season, but the house chicken-liver mousse, tuna tartare, and Chinese barbecue wings are staples after a day on the slopes.

Best Place to Drink in Stowe:

Doc Pond’s

Doc’s is still pretty new, but it feels like an instant Stowe classic. It’s a bar, for sure, but a food forward one. It’s co-owned by James Beard–nominated chef Eric Warnstedt, who’s had so much success with Hen of the Wood in Burlington (and before that Waterbury, where Warnstedt’s group recently bought Prohibition Pig as well).

Micro Breweries

When The Alchemist moved here from Waterbury, Stowe instantly took on new gravitas as a beer destination. Its Heady Topper, the brew that launched a new style (the Vermont IPA), is a little easier to find now, and just as hoppy. Beer hunters should also sample the malty lagers at the Trapp Lodge and visit Rock Art in Morrisville.

Local Tip from Stowe’s Kristi Brown Lowell

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Ski Magazine

Kristi Brown Lowell

Mountain Sports Ambassador, SKI Magazine ski tester, former pro skier, and proud mom of three.

The Octagon, at the top of the Mansfield quad, serves the best egg sandwich in Stowe—plus a view. Just get there before 10:30 a.m., even on a powder day. Order the works: Vermont cheddar, bacon, sausage, caramelized onions, and arugula.

Written by Joe Cutts for Ski Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Featured image provided by Ski Magazine

Demystifying Nordic Skiing

Demystifying Nordic Skiing

Could there be anything more peaceful than gliding along on your skis among towering pine trees with views of the Dillon Reservoir glistening in the sunlight and snow-capped mountains in the distance? While downhill skiing or snowboarding is all about getting from Point A to Point B as fast as possible, Nordic skiing is gaining in popularity for those looking for a change of pace. And there’s no better place to soak in the scenery than in the mountain town of Frisco, Colorado.

"Nordic skiing is not only fun, it’s great exercise too," says Linsey Joyce, Recreation Programs Manager for the Town of Frisco. “It’s a great alternative to downhill skiing or snowboarding. The Frisco Nordic Center offers solitude and breathtaking views.”

Located just a few minutes away from Main Street, the Frisco Nordic Center offers options for skiers of all ability levels. "The main goals of the Frisco Nordic Center are to be a community hub for cross country skiers," explains Joyce. “We aim to provide a variety of programs and events for our community while welcoming skiers of all ability levels.”

Whether you’re looking to take a break from a nearby resort or have been inspired by the recent Winter Games in Pyeongchang, now is a great time to try a new snow sport. Here’s everything you need to know about getting started at the Frisco Nordic Center.

What’s special about Frisco?

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Nordic skiing is fun for all ages. Todd Powell/Town of Frisco

Frisco’s Nordic scene is uniquely situated to make cross-country skiing accessible to all ages and abilities. Unlike most other Nordic centers, Frisco actually produces man-made snow, just as a downhill ski resort would. As a result, even in otherwise low-snow years, Frisco makes considerable effort to open a 2.5-kilometer loop to Nordic skiers.

"They already have the infrastructure there because of the tubing hill," explains Whitney Hedberg, director of the Summit Nordic Ski Club. “But [the ski trails] aren’t in one centrally located place, so they have to take front-loaders and physically move snow onto the trail—it’s a huge operation. The town has gotten behind it and is willing to do that. That’s what makes us stand out.”

The Summit Nordic Ski Club is a huge part of the Frisco Nordic Scene. The club is for kids as young as six on up through post-high schoolers and uses the Frisco Nordic trails. (They also compete nationally under the direction of head coach Olof Hedberg.) In addition to the youngsters, you’ll see plenty of hardened locals hitting up the trails even on the chilliest mornings—these folks are dedicated.

Where do I start?

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The Nordic Center offers lessons and clinics to help you get started. Todd Powell/Town of Frisco

"The Frisco Nordic Center offers beginner ski terrain right out our back door, creating a welcoming experience for anyone who is new to the sport," says Joyce. “I would highly recommend taking a ski lesson if you really want to learn tips and technique that will create a positive experience for you.”

Luckily, the Frisco Nordic Center offers budget-friendly lessons for new skiers, along with regular clinics and events for those looking to improve their skiing. There’s at least one block of lessons every weekday during the season (two blocks a day on busier weekends), so a knowledgeable staff member will give you the tools to have a great time on your first outing.

"A lesson will make the difference between it being a one-time thing and something you come back to," Hedberg adds.

Once you’ve gotten yourself ready for a day on skis—dress more like you’re going for a run in cold, wet weather than like you’re downhill skiing, since you’ll work up a sweat—it’s time to decide what kind of skis work best for you.

Cross-country skiing encompasses both classic and skate skiing. Classic skiers have slightly wider skis, often with a fish scale pattern on the bottom to help with kick and glide. These are the folks you’ll see in the classic track, which are the two parallel lines on any groomed cross-country trail. It’ll take some time to develop a solid technique, but this is a great way to take in the sights and, if you’re eventually so inclined, explore more backcountry trails.

Then there’s skate skiing, classic’s speedier cousin. Skate skiers are the Olympians you see double-poling and getting a serious upper-body workout on the groomed track. It’s a fantastic full-body exercise and definitely requires some fitness to get the hang of.

Fortunately, the Frisco Nordic Center rents both types of skis.

Where are the best Nordic skiing trails in Frisco?

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Once you get into Nordic skiing you might want to take up racing! Todd Powell/Town of Frisco

The Frisco Nordic Center boasts 27 kilometers of ski trails. They start making snow as early as November, so even in the early season, you’ll have the 2.5-kilometer loop near the Nordic Center to ski.

Those 27 kilometers include beginner, intermediate, and advanced trails, which are marked like an alpine ski area (green circle for beginner, blue square for intermediate, and one or two black diamonds for advanced and expert trails). On intermediate and advanced trails, you won’t find cliffs or moguls as you would at a downhill resort—more like steeper or more sustained ups and downs and sharper turns. Keep an eye out for one-way signs, too.

Before you head out onto any of the trails, check out the Frisco Nordic Center’s Trail Conditions page.

Fees and Season Passes

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Grab a season pass if you plan to spend a lot of time at the Frisco Nordic Center. Todd Powell/Town of Frisco

Day passes for the Frisco Nordic Center are $20 per day for adults. If you’ll be hitting the trails ten or more times this season, invest in a season pass or, better yet, pick up a season pass that includes the Breckenridge and Gold Run Nordic Centers. Frisco Nordic also offers discounts for residents and families. Rentals at Frisco Nordic Center are $20 per day for skate or classic setups and include skis, boots, and poles.

Written by Emma Walker for RootsRated in partnership with Town of Frisco and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Featured image provided by Joe Kusumoto/Town of Frisco

The 8 Best Places to Ski and Snowboard in Minnesota

The 8 Best Places to Ski and Snowboard in Minnesota

While we may be flatlanders, Minnesota is known for producing some of the best alpine skiers in the country. Indeed, there may be some advantage to our topography. Local coaches cite the ability to ski or ride hundreds of runs in a single day, something they don’t have the chance to do in say, the Rockies. That’s not to mention the strong ski culture and community of support that exists all across the state.

If you’re looking for a great place to ski and snowboard in Minnesota, check out one of these top locales. From destinations up north perfect for a long weekend, to city hills that you can hit up on a weeknight, there’s no shortage of options here in the North Star State.

1. Buck Hill

Buck Hill offers some of the best skiing close to the Twin Cities.
Buck Hill offers some of the best skiing close to the Twin Cities. Buck Hill

A widely known metro-area location, Buck Hill is where ski stars like Lindsey Vonn and Kristina Koznick got their start. The ski and snowboard area offers multiple surface tows, three chairlifts and lighted night skiing. For freestyle buffs, they also have a new airbag jump, which provides a 50 foot by 50 foot safety cushion to catch riders after launching off a 15-foot high snow jump. Rentals and daily, group, and private lessons are available on site.

2. Hyland Hills

Situated within the Hyland Lake Park Reserve in Bloomington, Hyland Hills has long been a favorite among metro residents. The ski and snowboard area offers world-class grooming, some of the best snowmaking in the Midwest, and a progressive terrain park. What’s more, their brand new chalet will make you want to hang out for an apres ski snack. Equipment rental is available, along with lessons through their SnowSports Academy .

3. Lutsen Mountains

Lutsen Mountains offers 95 runs over four mountains, making it one of the largest resorts in the Midwest.
Lutsen Mountains offers 95 runs over four mountains, making it one of the largest resorts in the Midwest. John Warren

The highest mountains and some of the best views on the North Shore are in the Sawtooth Range. Lutsen takes advantage of those mountains, featuring 95 runs over four mountains with a lift-serviced vertical rise that is more than twice that of most other resorts in the Midwest. An ideal winter getaway, they offer ski and stay packages, along with special festival and event packages. Equipment is available at their rental shop and lessons for both children and adults are conducted through their Snow Sports Learning Center.

4. Giants Ridge

Giants Ridge features 35 downhill runs and multiple terrain parks.
Giants Ridge features 35 downhill runs and multiple terrain parks. Bill Butkovich

Giants Ridge may be a four-season resort, but winter is the best time to visit. With 35 downhill runs and multiple terrain parks, every level of skier and snowboarder will feel at home here. A family-friendly resort, they also have a great tubing park. If it’s great scenery you’re looking for, you’ll catch plenty of glimpses of the Superior National Forest at Giants Ridge. They offer both equipment rentals and lessons for kids and adults alike.

5. Afton Alps

Afton Alps features 48 trails and 18 lifts.
Afton Alps features 48 trails and 18 lifts. Afton Alps

Situated in the gorgeous St. Croix River Valley, Afton Alps is considered one of the Midwest’s best spots for winter outdoor recreation. Owned by Vail Resorts, they tout state-of-the-art snowmaking and four impressive terrain parks, along with 300 skiable acres, 48 trails, and 18 lifts. Just 30 minutes from the Twin Cities, they also offer rentals, lessons for all levels and race training.

6. Welch Village

Located near Red Wing in the Cannon River Valley, Welch Village features terrain fit for beginners on up to expert skiers and snowboarders. They have 9 chair lifts, 60 trails, and lighted night skiing, along with snowmaking. For a no-hassle option only 40 minutes from the Twin Cities, Welch Village is a great an easy choice. Lessons, rentals and group rates are all available.

7. Wild Mountain

Wild Mountain is located on the shores of the St. Croix River just an hour north of the Twin Cities.
Wild Mountain is located on the shores of the St. Croix River just an hour north of the Twin Cities. Wild Mountain

Wild Mountain in Taylors Falls has 26 trails spread over 100 acres. A perfect place to bring the whole family, their four terrain parks and novice discovery area accommodates skiers and snowboarders of every experience level. Located on the shores of the St. Croix River just an hour north of the Twin Cities, this winter playground provides an easy escape from the city. Package rentals go for a nominal fee and lessons are offered daily.

8. Spirit Mountain

Eight lifts, 22 runs, and the largest terrain park in the Midwest make up Spirit Mountain in Duluth. Providing beautiful views of the city and harbor below, if you’re heading north, be sure to check out Spirit. They are also one of the first in the country to offer lift-access to fat bikers on certain days in their fat bike ski area. Ski and snowboard rentals, along with lessons, special winter programs and camps are all offered at Spirit Mountain.

Written by Mackenzie Lobby Havey for RootsRated and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Featured image provided by Paul Pluskwik

5 Resorts With Great Backcountry Access

5 Resorts With Great Backcountry Access

Think Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has rad terrain? The resort's backcountry accessible right from the ski area will blow your mind. And it's not just Jackson Hole—resorts across the country are opening the boundaries of their ski areas to give powder-hungry skiers access to a playground beyond the ropes. The growing trend is great news for experienced skiers wanting to challenge themselves and find untracked lines in lift-serviced backcountry terrain, but it bears remembering: there's no ski patrol or avalanche control beyond the gates, so know before you go.

1. Jackson Hole, Wyo.

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Ski Magazine

One of the first resorts to swing open its gates, Jackson Hole led the charge on resort-accessed backcountry terrain and is still the Holy Grail today. Don't venture into the classic zones of No Name Peak of Cody Peak (nor anywhere else on this list) without the skills, equipment, or, if needed, a guide. 

2. Jay Peak, Vt.

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Ski Magazine

Touring into the wilderness of Big Jay Peak feels so remote, it's hard to believe the resort is so close. With steep pitches, natural obstacles, and super-tight trees, this is Eastern backcountry at its finest. 

3. Powder Mountain, Utah

Ease into the out-of-bounds on a guided backcountry experience into Pow Mow's challenging Wolf Creek terrain. Full-day tours provide up to six 3,000-vertical-foot runs into this zone known for its steep pitches and abundant snow. 

4. Stevens Pass, Wash.

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Ski Magazine

Walks from the peaks of Big Chief and Cowboy mountains reward skiers with a sampling of Stevens Pass' abundant and varied backcountry offerings. Be prepared to hike back along Route 2.

5. Stowe, Vt.

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Ski Magazine

There are many options but we're partial to the Teardrop Trail, a Mt. Mansfield classic chock-full of natural obstacles, glades, and cut-backs, ending in a double fall line that will challenge the most confident of skiers.

Written by SKI Magazine Editors for Ski Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Featured image provided by Ski Magazine

Why You Should Start Snowshoeing This Winter

Why You Should Start Snowshoeing This Winter

It’s easy to fall in love with Grand Teton National Park. On my first visit a few summers ago, I’d been enchanted while hiking with my family among fluttering aspens to a clutch of small, backcountry lakes. We admired the great peaks—Nez Perce, Teewinot, and the Grand Teton—and I vowed to return sometime soon to venture deeper into the famous terrain.

As it turns out, my next opportunity to visit the park comes in winter. This means the main park access roads will be closed and reaching the more remote areas will require an expedition, but I decide to go anyway. I hire a guide to maximize my chances of getting beyond the surface-level stuff and to the kind of immersive experience I’m after, but when I meet Josh from Jackson’s Eco Tour Adventures in the lobby of my hotel, he tells me conditions are not great for going high or far. Climbing to reach a viewpoint of any sort is off the table, he says. Instead, we’re heading to a close-by snowshoe trail that meanders through a meadow.

A meadow? I think. What about tracking out to the lakes I longed to see again? What about snowshoeing to something?

We arrive at the Granite Canyon trailhead at the southern end of the park, and I feel like I’m just out of reach of the prize. The frosted trees create a muted, serene scene, sure. And the parking lot is notably quieter than any we visited summers earlier. I admit to myself that, beyond the meadow, the mountains I can see are lovely painted in winter white. Still, I hope we’ll get to see more of them as we cover miles.

Poles in hand, we step onto a ribbon of packed snow surrounded by feet of fluff. I exhale and find my rhythm, the click-clack of my snowshoes stomping powder.

After walking no more than 10 minutes, we stop. (I think: Already?) Josh points to large, dark-gray gashes on an aspen tree, and some dark-brown markings cut into its white bark. He tells me the elk, deer, and moose all eat the bark and use it to scrape the velvet off their antlers. The markings tells us that the animals frequent the area. “Cool,” I say. (Let’s go, I think.)

We continue only to stop again shortly after, when Josh points out some tiny tracks in the snow. He tells me they’re from red pine squirrels, and explains how he can tell—they’re tiny, for one, but also move in a bounding pattern. Josh notes the direction of the track where it ends at the base of a pine tree and explains that the squirrel cached a pinecone. Seeing these little stories written in snow makes something click for me, and my impatience with the minutia starts to soften. As we meander, I soon can’t stop scanning the snow for more tracks. Even though we haven’t seen a moose or elk or any of the wildlife the park is famous for, winter animal tracking—and learning clues, like markings on tree bark—is a new way to experience them. It’s like all these immediate and small details are a lesson in not missing the forest for the trees.

The sun sinks behind the peaks and the temperature drops into the single digits. Josh asks if I’d like to trek off the established track. The snow is light, but breaking trail is notably more work than walking on packed snow. Josh lets me lead. “Think about the larger ungulates like elk, moose, and bison that live here,” he says. “They walk single file through deep snow, too.” I picture myself as the lead bison.

My mind is calm and I realize I’ve given into the meadow, even though we’re only a couple miles from the trailhead. I’m appreciating what I’ve been learning about the area wildlife. But when Josh mentions we could either hike to a stream or head back to the truck, I snap to and say, “Stream.” A destination!

We approach Granite Creek. I’m mesmerized by the water dancing around river rocks and underneath melting ice, all bordered by a blanket of snow, smooth but for tiny pawprints that describe tiny lives.

As we head back to the trailhead, the pink light of dusk illuminates the meadow and the peaks in the distance. I know the lakes and mountains I’d seen in the summer are just beyond the horizon to the north. And I know they’ll still be there next time I visit. Today was not for looking up or out over long distances; it was about seeing what the snow right below my feet could reveal.

As I look around, scanning the snow for just one more set of animal tracks, I don’t miss that grand mountain vista. I may have fallen in love with the lakes in the summer and longed to touch the summits, but by seeing the park anew in the winter I’ve deepened my relationship with the place, one step at a time. 

Written by Lisa Jhung for Backpacker and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Featured image provided by Backpacker

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