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October 2008

October 31, 2008

Pre-Season Deals for Ski and Snowboarders

Photo: Cat skiing in Keystone Resort, Colorado (Nathan Borchelt)

Though temperatures across the country are fluctuating more than our temperamental stock market, that doesn't mean that hardcore skiers and snowboarders haven't already started dreaming of the heady, powder-filled that (will hopefully) come.  And we're in that same boat.

So, in an effort to get your mind focused on winter instead of fall, we offer a survey of the industry's best ski and snowboard deals, with something for everyone, from novice skiers and boarders to the most extreme, steep-and-deep obsessed.  Hopefully this state-by-state survey of the best incentives out there will also help assuage any economic concerns you might have while plotting out your 2008-09 season.

Also, over the next few weeks we'll be unveiling a huge bevy of snow-related content, including the new issue of the Outside Winter Buyer's Guide to profiles of Japan's volcanic slopes to a highly-opinionated list of the best resorts in North America.

Until then, sate yourself with our annual Ski and Snowboard Resort Guide (now outfitted with state- and country-level interactive maps) and last season's Outside Winter Buyer's Guide, which profiles gear that should by all accounts be severely discounted on gear sites like REI Outlet and Backcountry Outlet.

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Related Topics: Skiing & Snowboarding

Cooler Weather Makes for Good Swamp Hiking

By Johnny Molloy

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SWAMP TROMP: Apalachicola National Forest (courtesy, Visit Florida)

When the northland chill finally reaches Dixie, it's time to explore the swamps of the South. The cool breezes clear the bugs and send the sauna-like air packing, so break out your boots. Wilderness trails trek through diverse wetlands with plenty of dry ground mixed in. One such destination is South Carolina's Lowcountry. The Swamp Fox Passage of the Palmetto Trail travels its entire 45-mile length through the Francis Marion National Forest. Starting near Lake Moultrie at Canal Recreation Area, the trail heads east to span Wadboo Swamp, then past Cane Gully and Alligator Branch before making it to Witherbee Ranger Station. From here, the trail travels drier country before turning south and joining a railroad grade. It then comes along the deep beech forests of Turkey Creek before climbing to extensive longleaf woods. The pine and oak forests near Halfway Creek Campground are simply beautiful. The trail then stays mostly on level grades passing through wooded swamps before spanning Steed Creek, a tidally influence freshwater stream. The passage ends at US-17 in Awendaw.

Continue reading "Cooler Weather Makes for Good Swamp Hiking" »

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Related Topics: Outdoor Adventures

October 29, 2008

Ski Season is Here!: Cold Snap Brings Early Openings in Midwest and Mid-Atlantic

By awayblog

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EARLY BIRD: Chairlift at Cataloochee Ski Area, North Carolina (courtesy, Cataloochee)

A cold snap across the Midwest and along the East Coast from the Carolinas to Vermont kicked off the 2008-09 ski season earlier than expected this week. In the Midwest, Minnesota's 100-acre Wild Mountain took the honors as the first regional resort to open, while Cataloochee Ski Area in the North Carolina Smokies bested bigger Mid-Atlantic rivals for first turns yesterday.

Although temps are set to climb over the next several days, this is the earliest opening day for both resorts in several years. And while the snow dusting came as an added bonus, the freezing temps enabled Cataloochee's and Wild Mountain's snow-making guns to carpet several of their runs with a skiable base. Both intend to stay open for the duration of the 2008-09 season, weather permitting.

"It's so much fun!" gushes Amy Frischmon, Vice President at Wild Mountain, about Tuesday's opening. "And we had another really good night of snow-making last night," she continues. "So no matter what happens with the weather, we will remain open (so long as it doesn't rain)."

Continue reading "Ski Season is Here!: Cold Snap Brings Early Openings in Midwest and Mid-Atlantic" »

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Related Topics: Skiing & Snowboarding

October 28, 2008

10 Reasons For Family Adventure in Costa Rica

By Guest Blogger

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LIKE MOTHER, LIKE SON: Guest blogger Marina Kuperman enjoys the beach in Costa Rica with her son (Marina Kuperman)

Traveling with kids is always an experience—for better or for worse. However, I've noticed that traveling to a country like Costa Rica is a lot more fun than visiting a place like New York City with a young child. Not that New York isn't a blast and full of stimulation—it certainly is. But overstimulation can tire a child out too quickly and make your trip miserable by forcing you to spend half the time indoors or at a playground. Costa Rica, on the other hand, is perfect for kids of any age. They don't get cranky and restless as quickly because the adventures are more nature oriented with lots of fun diversions like beaches, national parks, volcanoes, rivers, and animal centers. Costa Rica is the quintessential Mother Nature's Playground.

Continue reading "10 Reasons For Family Adventure in Costa Rica" »

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Related Topics: Beach Vacation · Central America Travel · Family Vacation

October 21, 2008

Nau... Now!: The Innovative, Philanthropic Apparel Company Returns

Modus_trench_3 Five months ago we bid adieu to Nau, one of the most innovative and philanthropic apparel-makers in the industry.  But rather than honoring its demise, we’re pleased to announce that Nau is once again open, as they say, for “business unusual.”

After unsuccessfully attempting to secure late-round financing (long before other “too big to fail” corporations were saved by the federal government), it looked like the visionary company was done for. Enter, Horny Toad, a Santa Barbara-based clothing company, who purchased the assets of the business, injecting a second life into the company.

Continue reading "Nau... Now!: The Innovative, Philanthropic Apparel Company Returns" »

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Related Topics: Travel Gear

October 15, 2008

Switzerland Mobility

By Karen Chen

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Think of Switzerland, and you probably envision snow-capped peaks, rolling hills (aà la The Sound of Music), and sparkling alpine lakes—the perfect backdrop for an active vacation. Now the SwitzerlandMobility Foundation, in conjunction with Switzerland Tourism, makes it easier to plan outdoor adventures through its new SwissMobility initiative. An organization that is working towards the development of a network of leisure and tourism routes for non-motorized traffic, SwissMobility  is a unique nationwide push to get people out exploring the country in a healthy and green way.

Within the foundation's network of 3,900 miles of hiking routes, 5,300 miles of cycling routes, 2,000 miles of mountain-biking routes, 680 miles of in-line skating routes, and 155 miles of waterways, no matter where you are in the country, or how intense (or relaxing) you want your trip to be, you'll be sure to find a trail, road, or river that suits you. Choose from hiking, mountain biking, cycling, skating, and canoeing planners on the SwissMobility website,, with free printable guides and maps. The user-friendly sections reflect the amount of work they've done to ensure you can plan a trip easily using non-motorized traffic and public transportation. Find recommended trips, information on historic routes and landscapes along the way, suggested accommodations—even bookable packages with outfitters that offer luggage transport while you zip away on your bike or skates! It's like an Easy Button for getting active. Now all you have to do is get your gear in order—and get yourself to Switzerland.

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Related Topics: European Travel · Outdoor Adventures

Fall in Asheville and the Carolina Mountains

Fall colors in Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina (Bill Russ/courtesy, NC Tourism)

If you think fall foliage is exclusive to the Northeast, you haven't been to Asheville, North Carolina, in late October and early November. Leaves on the dogwoods, sweetgums, mountain ash, red maples, poplars, and birches all change color this time of year. Take the Blue Ridge Parkway, which rises from 2,000 to 5,000 feet, and you're bound to find something. Many hiking trails lead from the road if you want to wander into the forest. Or head ten miles down the road from Asheville to Pisgah National Forest, one of the Southeast's top mountain-biking locales. Some 200 miles of narrow singletrack and many more miles of old logging roads weave through the mixed hardwood forest. Children will like the clay tennis courts and spacious rooms at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Asheville.

For more seasonal inspiration, visit's Fall Foliage Guide, which features state-by-state leaf-peeping guides, peak foliage estimates, activity recommendations, and seasonal photo galleries and screensavers.

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Related Topics: Family Vacation · Outdoor Adventures

October 09, 2008

How to Grab a Nightcap in Bangkok's New Airport

From a distance, the new Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok is a revelation, a beacon of modernity that personifies the future of that the city—and all of Thailand. The inside matches the building’s exterior. Slick décor reigns, with narrow-oval, chest-high speakers that double as air-conditioning vents; evenly-spaced  islands of luxe bar/restaurants lining the center of the wide walkway; and flanks of haute duty-free shopping that would’ve sent an ex-girlfriend of mine into paroxysms of credit card abuse. Prada, Zenga, Hermes, Bvlgari, Cartier, Coach, Dior, Boss, Swarovski, Ferragamo… No, there’s no Red Bull or Beer Chang t-shirts, knock-off Puma sneakers or pirate DVDs—the souvenir staples on the backpacker haven of Koh San Road. Here it’s all high-brow. Expensive goods discounted to prices that are… still expensive to me.

And that’s perfectly fine. Because I always spend whatever local currency I happen to have left in largely the same fashion. Clear security, locate my gate, and then grab a drink. Tonight? Whiskey, before boarding the midnight flight to Tokyo.

Continue reading "How to Grab a Nightcap in Bangkok's New Airport" »

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Related Topics: Air Travel · Asia Travel · Travel Tips

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