Monday, February 28, 2011

The 48 hour challenge

How many states can you ski in during 48 hours? I'm about to find out... next week I'm going on a business trip to Boston, and it turns out that I can save 1600€ in airfare by going two days earlier. Thank you airlines for your Saturday night stay ticket rules! You designed them to rip off the business traveler, but they've also been known to provide people much needed opportunity to adjust to the timezone or spend an additional day or two in an interesting city, all while saving our employer's money.

So what's the deal with the skiing? I am ashamed to confess that I have never skied in New England. Its about time! My friends keep telling me about icy bumps -- as if they were a bad thing -- but I suspect this year may be different, with all that snow that has been dumping in east.

I'd like to ask for your help in planning the best way to do this.  Here's what I'm looking for:
  • I will arrive in New York, rent a car, and 48 hours later I must be in Boston for a meeting.
  • I want to experience some good skiing and spend time on the slopes. Some off piste adventure would be a big plus.
  • But I also want to see if I could "collect" additional states that I have skied in. I have skied in New York and Pennsylvania, but nothing else in the northeast.

One idea is to catch some night skiing in Sundown, Connecticut on my my way up from New York.  Then keep driving to Waitsfield, Vermont, spend the night there, and ski the day in Mad River Glenn. This place sounds very interesting!

Sometime in the afternoon, get back to the car and drive to Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, and do some night skiing there. In the morning, drive down to Berkshire East, Massachusetts, and spend the morning skiing there. And finally drive to Boston.

This route is 1303 km long, and that's quite a drive, even if split to five stretches.

Are there other places that would offer better skiing? What interesting skiing is there in New England, to begin with?

Can you see a shorter route that would enable me to cover four states? Is there something in MA that would be closer to Boston? What's the traffic like from JFK to Hartford, CT on a Friday evening?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I am on a mission

Hitting a rocky patch, CL
The mission is to ski in as many places in the world as you can. All countries where there's natural or man-made snow. In every major ski destination in the world. In at least some of the smaller places. On mountains, on hills, indoor, in winter and summer, on piste and off piste, on powder, slush, crust, and, occasionally - frequently, as my ski repair shop would say - on rocks. Going up by ski lift, on foot, on skins, crampons, cats, cars, or helicopters.

Night skiing in Kuopio, FI

Why? Obviously because I love skiing, the feeling that you get from making rhythmic turns on a steep mountain face, the scenery, the physical challenge, and my great skier friends and family.

But not only that. First off, my doctors tell me that I need some exercise and that working 24/7 is not an option. The problem is, I would rather submit to waterboarding in Guantanamo Bay than endure an exercise session at an indoor gym. I need a more interesting form of exercise, preferably outdoors.  Secondly, my work requires a lot of travel, and, in addition to hating the hotel gyms I also hate spending my evenings and weekends in in bars, restaurants, or shopping malls. I need a healthier way to spend my free time.

Grass skiing in Treble Cone, NZ

So I have ended up spending a lot of my time skiing. My goal is to find some time for skiing every week and on every trip, be it a family vacation or a business trip, or if the destination is France, Netherlands, or Indonesia. This is a not a new thing, last season I skied in five different continents, for instance. But I'm still at the beginning, having skied in only a small fraction of all possible places.

This blog will cover the continuation of my search for new places to ski in. I hope the blog is interesting to those who also search for something fun to do on their travels, skiers who search for that special experience, dirtbag travelers searching for the affordable ski option, and round the world travelers who want to know where to go. And I'd love to get some feedback and ideas for where I should go next!

In the winter I hope to make a post every week or so, in the summer probably a bit less, except when I point my skis to the southern hemisphere or find a summer skiing area. But I also like to go climbing and biking, so I might write about those, too. In the coming months there will also be blog entries about:
  • Review of world's indoor ski destinations. Can you really enjoy it?
Skinning up Mount Ruapehu, NZ
  • World's skiable volcanoes. Want to ski to the crater of a live volcano? Wait for my report...
  • Dirtbag skier's guide to heliskiing. Taking the heli ride and not paying a fortune.
  • The truth about family ski destinations. How come there are only two places in the world where you can take a family that has both skiers and non-skiers?
  • Skier's guide to packing & airline travel.

Photo credits (c) 2010 Jari Arkko and Tero Kivinen.