Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Skier's Dream Weekend: 5 Reasons to Hit the Slopes

Park City turns 50 on Dec. 21. Happy Bday! Credit
The Christmas tree is decorated. Check. The holiday shopping is finished. Not quite. The gifts are all wrapped and sitting under the tree. Almost. Santa slides down the chimney Tuesday night, but I still have a lot to do before then. Where's my Christmas miracle, hehehe?

But pass up a weekend to ski? No way! And what a weekend it is for hitting the slopes. Here are five reasons we're itching to get out there before the holiday rush.

Park City
Big Sky isn't the only ski resort celebrating an anniversary this year. Park City Mountain Resort celebrates its golden 5-0 on Saturday, December 21, 50 years to the day that its lifts started spinning in 1963. The day will include an Opening Ceremony, birthday cupcakes, commemorative giveaways, a free concert by Robert Randolph and the Family Band, and a special 50th anniversary fireworks display. But even if you can't make it on Saturday, the celebrating will be happening throughout the season with more parties, giveaways and special events. For more details about Saturday's festivities, check out the event schedule.

Big Sky
What's not happening at Big Sky in December? The Montana resort has had something every weekend this month. First it was heavily discounted lift tickets. Then it was its 40th birthday party. And now Tony Horton, the trainer who became a household name thanks to creating the P90X workout, will be at the resort all weekend. The Master Fitness Trainer is an avid skier, and he'll be at Big Sky Resort's Wellness Studio for the second annual Tony Horton Weekend. The weekend is packed full with three days of workouts from Dec. 20-22, each lasting two hours, and a chance to meet Tony. Read more about it on Big Sky's event calendar.

Lake Louise
Searching for pow? You'll find it at Lake Louise Ski Resort in Alberta, Canada. It's been snowing at the resort for most of the week meaning there's more than a meter of snow base on most of the groomed runs. Hit up the back bowls and you'll find some deep pockets of windblown snow. And just in case you need a break from skiing, Lake Louise will be hosting its first FIS World Cup Boarder Cross race on Dec. 21.

For the last few winters, Keystone has erected a snow fort at the top of Dercum Mountain that provides climbing areas and tunnels for big and little kids to explore. Back for its fifth year, the Kidtopia Snowfort will open Dec. 21. Its unveiling kicks off the season's Kidtopia activities, which include fireworks, a cookie hour and the Ripperoo Village Parade.

Copper Mountain is starting Christmas a few days early by kicking off its 12 Days of Copper on Dec. 20. From December 20 to 31, you'll find plenty of holiday spirit around the resort from Santa Claus stopping in the village to deals and specials that'll make ladies dance and lords leap. Plus the snow continues to pile up, creating some of the best December conditions the mountain has seen in a few years.

Besides all of these events happening at resorts in North America, a week's worth of cold weather and a storm cycle have left plenty of fresh powder begging to be skied--and on terrain that is opening for the first time this season. Whistler-Blackcomb announced new terrain openings earlier this week. You know the ski season is off to a good start when Vail opens its back bowls before Christmas. But the conditions must be really good this season because it announced on Thursday that Blue Sky Basin would be opening for the weekend ahead.

Well, I'm sold. My skis are still in the car from last weekend. When do we leave?

Where are you taking tracks in the days ahead? What resorts have your favorite December powder stashes?

Photo grabbed from Rudi Riet, randomduck, via Flickr.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

6 Gifts for Athletes Who Have Everything

Credit: Alan Cleaver at Flickr
Forerunner? Got it. Triathlon backpack? Have it. New gear? Bought it the minute the old gear started showing wear and tear. Big-name race for next season? Already signed up.

Some people are strapped for cash around the holidays. Others are stumped when it comes to giving gifts to the people on their list who have it all, or buy it before you have a chance to gift it (I was accused of that last week). So stumped that you're still shopping for that special gift with less than a week's worth of shopping days left.

I'm currently in that category. My husband already gifted himself new skis (at least I helped with the ordering, that has to count for something.) I spilled the beans to my dad on some new Adidas shirts, shorts and pants perfect for a workout, and he sent my mom to buy them. Aside from some random stocking stuffer ideas I've had, I was screwed until I devised this list.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fit-Gear: Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap Review

It zips, it clips, it's's the Transition & Seat Wrap
Genius, Orange Mud, Genius. You've made changing after a race loads easier by creating the Transition & Seat Wrap. No wardrobe malfunctions a la Janet Jackson. No slipping towels especially when you're bare under there. No waiting until you get home--even when it's 2.5 hours away--to swap out those damp, sweaty and stinky clothes.

And for anyone who cringes at the sight of damp car upholstery--aka, my mom--you'll appreciate the Seat Wrap component to Orange Mud's dual-purpose towel. It's large enough to completely cover the seat, and one end zips together to create a hood that slips over the seat back to prevent it from sliding when you sit down, a common problem of a basic towel. My mom can attest to that one: She'd have the car equipped with four dry towels, two each for my sister and I, so we'd have one to sit on and one to lean our backs against. I haven't told her about this towel yet, but I can already see her smiling. It's like the Orange Mud developer read her neat-freak brain.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Seat Wrap idea, too. But these days I'm rarely wearing my swimsuit home from the pool or beach, and if I am, I'm walking or riding my bike. I'm just digging the Transition component to the towel more. For a girl who lost her perfection at deck changes 15 years ago (dang, I'm getting old!), this is a welcome addition to my race-day backpack.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Fit-Gear: Ezeefit Ankle Booties Review

No blisters today: my foot is loving Ezeefitsports' Bootie.
To put it simply, I get a lot of foot blisters. Whether it's running shoes, cycling shoes, apr├Ęs-ski boots, or mary janes I'm wearing, I've managed to get blisters somewhere on my feet. In between the toes, on the toes, on the back of my name it, and I've most likely had a combo of band-aid and first-aid tape covering it. 

So when I heard about Ezeefit Sports' Anti-Friction Ankle Booties, which are said to help protect feet from rubbing and blisters, I was all for seeing if they'd banish my blisters for good. These ankle booties are form-fitting, soft (well, as much as neoprene and lycra can be), and said to be good for any sport where the footwear causes blisters. Plus they're not so thick that they feel weird underfoot--I went with the ultra-thin option, but they're also available in 2mm and 3mm thicknesses.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Trade a Turkey for a Lift Ticket

What would you do for a free lift ticket to the "Biggest Skiing in America?" Sing and dance? Dress in a costume that's worthy of winning any sort of contest? Camp out to be the first person in the lift line?

How about bringing a turkey? And no, not one that you have to go hunt in the wild. We're talking a frozen turkey, one you can grab at the grocery store before driving to Big Sky Resort in Montana.

If you're planning to ski at Big Sky on Friday, December 13, you don't need any fancy gimmicks to score a free day of skiing on the mountain. You just need a turkey or 20 cans of food to donate for Big Sky's 7th annual Turkey for a Ticket day, which is the largest one-day food drive benefiting Gallatin Valley Food Bank, Madison Valley Food Bank and the Big Sky Food Bank. In exchange for the food donated, participants receive a free lift ticket to Big Sky and businesses receive a lift ticket voucher for every 20 pounds of food donated.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What's the Deal with Brighton's Quad Wednesday?

Not every ski day has to break the bank if you don't have a season pass to that favorite mountain. Lift tickets might seem pricey during holiday prime times, but pick an off day to hit the mountain (powder flu, anyone?) and you don't need a season pass to feel like you're skiing for free. And it's even better when those ski deals coincide with cold weather and snow dumps.

Take last week where cold weather and snow falling across ski country made it hard to believe it was only the beginning of December. A season pass already feels like free skiing since you plunked down the big bucks earlier, and the more days you make it to the mountain, the less it'll cost you per day (or at least that's how this skier justifies a pass purchase). Big Sky Resort in Montana offered $20 lift tickets on December 6. Brighton Resort in Utah offered $20 lift tickets on December 4 provided you brought a gift for the charity it was supporting for the day (in this case, a toy valued at $10 or more for Toys for Tots). It's a deal Brighton likes to call Quad Wednesdays--and it happens on December 11 and 18, too.


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