Friday, February 22, 2013

Play Hooky and Ski

Make tracks like that March 4-8 at Sun Valley. Credit
Who needs to get in some skiing miles this season? Who doesn't want to break the bank buying lift tickets? I know I'm guilty as charged. With the exception of last season when the snow was lackluster, I itch to get on the mountain as often as I can (take all this week). But there's one problem: Something else always gets in the way (again, take all this week).

Work time, family time, exercise time, vacation-to-a-warm-island time. But where's the skiing time? Left on the backburner--or left for the three-day weekend holidays in January and February. Except with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and President's Weekend already past, it's even tougher to get out on the slopes over the weekend when you only have two days to spare.

The answer: skip work, plan a vacay and get skiing. And Liftopia has just the ticket, provided you can wait until March 4. Literally. Liftopia, which is the largest online marketplace for deals on lift tickets and mountain activities, recently launched one of its biggest sales of the season to coincide with the second annual National Play Hooky and Ski Week. The unofficial holiday runs March 4 through 8, the perfect time to escape work and other obligations to go skiing. And if memory serves me correct, the powder forecast isn't half bad either (2011, I'm talking to you).

More than 100 resorts across North America are part of the sale, providing incentives for skiers to take to the mountains with deals that offer up to 84 percent off lift ticket prices. “With continuous snowstorms hitting many resorts across the country, the second half of winter is shaping up to be a good one for skiers and boarders. Now is the perfect time to forget work and school, pull out the excuses and plan a mountain getaway,” said Ron Schneidermann, co-founder and CMO of Liftopia. “Our ‘National Play Hooky & Ski Week’ sale is a favorite among our customers -- but possibly not their employers -- due to the killer savings, fewer crowds, and more fresh powder that can be found when hitting the slopes mid-week.”

Schneidermann is right. There are fewer crowds midweek after all the locals have returned to their desks. There's fresh powder to be had and repeat runs to take through it--how many times have you seen powder dump pictures while you're sitting at your desk? I know I did two weeks ago when some storms rolled through.

If you don't have a season pass to a favorite ski resort, lift tickets can easily cost $100 or more when you purchase at the ticket window. Yikes! But Liftopia has some sales that are pretty tough to refuse. Take a look:

  • Save 84 percent at Suicide Six in Vermont with lift tickets starting at $7. 
  • Save 78 percent at Caberfae Peaks in Michigan with lift tickets starting at $7.50.
  • Save 65 percent at Ragged Mountain in New Hampshire with lift tickets starting at $21.99. 
  • Save 51 percent at Loveland in Colorado with lift tickets starting at $29.99.
  • Save 50 percent at Alta in Utah with two-day lift tickets starting at $72.50. 
  • Save 44 percent at Diamond Peak in the Lake Tahoe area with lift tickets starting at $32.99.
  • Save 32 percent at Homewood in the Lake Tahoe area with lift tickets starting at $45. 
  • Save 31 percent at Sunday River in Maine with lift tickets starting at $59.00.
  • Save 30 percent at Sun Valley in Idaho with lift tickets starting at $67. 
Utah's Canyons, Colorado's Arapahoe Basin, and California's Squaw Valley  and Alpine Meadows also offer deals during National Play Hooky and Ski Week. The only catch is you have to grab these deals on Liftopia before they're gone. But really, what are you waiting for? The ski season is half over and only getting better. Now my only problem will be breaking myself from my desk. How about you?

Photo grabbed from jurvetson at flickr.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Love Is In the Air, Love Is In the Workout

Credit: moonlightbulb
Going out on Valentine's Day is overrated, I'd rather work out. Or ski. I know it's a pretty bold statement, but you're dealing with special menus that usually come at a higher cost...and the crowds...and the difficulty with finding a reservation in the first place. I don't need the champagne, chocolate, roses and fine dining. Just give me a good workout with my lover and I'm happy.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who shares that sentiment, at least in the Windy City. Whether it's to make some sparks fly for singles or give couples alternatives to dining out, some Chicago spots are giving the sweat sessions the royal treatment this Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

One of These Workouts Is Not Like the Other

Some TRX action at Camp Darby. Credit: Joyce Costello
TRX Boot Camp at Equinox might have boot camp in its name, but it's not your typical boot camp. For starters, it uses the TRX suspension trainers that uses bodyweight and gravity to perform hundreds of exercises. And it's most certainly NOT the boot camp-like workout I so lovingly despised when compared to the interval training workout at Lateral Fitness. That's probably why I forgot that it was actually the last boot camp workout I ached through and not the hated one.

I am addicted to TRX Boot camp, specifically the one taught by Gideon Akande on Wednesday nights at Equinox Lincoln Park. I'm hooked. I'm obsessed. I make it my mission to stop working and get to class. And it makes for one crazy Wednesday workout(s) because I'm equally addicted to the Shockwave circuits offered midday (taught by Gideon and fellow trainer Mike Nickles, it's the fastest 45 minutes you'll sweat through, but that's a separate story). Getting me to choose between the two doesn't happen--I just make myself extra sore the next day, or collapse halfway through a core set with my abs aching and my legs burning.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Time to Get Lateral

Lateral Fitness's main floor 
The last time I went to a bootcamp-like workout, I hated it. The minute hand on the clock wouldn't budge, the recruits kept to themselves for the most part (or whomever they already knew in class, which spelled disaster for this newbie), the fearless leader was more into shouting commands than motivating or correcting our poor form (you know that bootcamp persona that you either love or hate), and the moves, while challenging, often seemed to lack a sensible purpose (probably because of my poor form).

My first visit to the Recruit high intensity interval class at the newly opened Lateral Fitness was the exact opposite. The class flew by, the recruits were properly introduced to one another and class size was limited to eight, the leader--Lateral's co-owner Erik Marthaler--was engaging and motivating, and the moves--if you did them correctly--got you to notice your weaknesses (hello tight hip flexors, nice to see you again) and reach a point of full-on exhaustion.

Considering I had no clue what I was getting myself into when I accepted the invitation less than two hours before class (thank you cancellation), I was pleasantly surprised. And I got a killer workout. I had already broken a sweat before we finished our first 10 minutes where the burpees, jumps, push-ups and sit-ups hardly felt like a warm up. My quads screamed for relief during the lunge and squat set. I didn't know medicine ball throwdowns could crunch your obliques, while standing up, or that the minute rotations through cardio and strength on the gym floor could be so exhausting (I'm blaming the treadmill hills climbs). And my abs literally gave out on me halfway through the core section, protesting the crunches. Where one intense workout failed, Recruit soared with flying colors--and reassured me that I can fall in love with intervals outside my comfort zone.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

We Bring You a Fit-Ink / NTC Update...

Where did all our pictures go? Apparently only Firefox seems to be liking the NTC Lincoln Park slideshow we created yesterday. It's the only browser where we're able to view our creation that showcases the awesome retail and studio space we toured last week. And even that's spotty--the page loads are slow, the feed is non-existent, and good luck getting more than a blank page with Safari.

We're beginning to realize that as clever as it was to create this slideshow, we need to start over with the old-school scrolling method we've grown accustomed to building with other posts. We just wanted to share that we recognize the error and will get the images loaded soon. Thanks for your patience and sorry you can't preview NTC quite yet. Or maybe this glitch is telling us it's time to go there in person to check it out.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Take a Peek at NTC Lincoln Park

We were super psyched to spend some quality time with Nike last week, but we had no idea we'd be getting personal with the new NTC Lincoln Park that opened on Jan. 28 at 833 W. Armitage. We toured the new store, learned about some new footwear (more on that soon, promise!), and got sweaty in the second-floor studio space.

Retail therapy and workout therapy in the same space? Now here's a boutique space after my own heart. Take a look!

Photos provided by Nike, taken by Ross Dettman on Jan. 29, 2013.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Top Workout Songs To Sweat To: February 2013

Credit: Taylor Burnes at flickr
A cold and somewhat snowy Saturday? I think I'll download music. You have to admit that cabin fever isn't always a bad thing, especially when it means I can add some new tunes to my workout mix. Considering I'll most likely be doing my long-ish run on the treadmill tomorrow (something about me and ice don't mix), the following list from Run Hundred couldn't have come at a better time. Long ago, I dubbed the treadmill the dreadmill. Barely able to tolerate four miles on the sucker before wanting to hop off, I'm going to need every ounce of energy, especially that in musical form, to get me through double that distance.

And February's top workout songs from Run Hundred will do just the trick. These 10 hits are upbeat and fast-paced, exactly what I need for some dreadmill monotony. I can't say that I'm the type of person who wants my gym time to sound like a night at the club, at least on a regular basis, but that happens to be the theme of this playlist. Maybe we all need fast club beats to battle through our winter workouts?


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