By Dave E. Leiberman and Laini Miranda
Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com
It’s 2:30 pm when we leave The Lorca, our lodge just up the road from Oak Mountain. By 3 pm we’re on Einstein’s Express, the quad chairlift that takes us up this delightful ski area, most likely overshadowed by nearby major Adirondacks ski destinations, Gore Mountain and Whiteface. Looking behind us, the snowy Adirondack lake vista of Speculator bears a beauty that reminds us of the scene when you ski down Heavenly Mountain and come upon that sweeping view of Lake Tahoe.
Our first run down is Sacandaga, a lovely green cruiser with gorgeous views, some nice bends, and exquisitely groomed snow. Our Weather app says it’s 9 degrees, but in the sun we don’t notice it. Perfect warm-up run.
We check out Upper Ryan’s Run (a black) and Lower Ryan’s Run (a blue). For a small, very family-friendly mountain that is so close to Lake Pleasant, Indian Lake, Blue Mountain Lake, and other popular Adirondack lake towns, Oak Mountain surprises us with its variety of trails to explore. Nova, Alternate, Skidway, and the other trails on that side of Einstein’s Express aren’t open, but we enjoy an hour of runs down Oak Mt. Run, Fifth Ave, and the trails surrounding Sacandaga.
It’s fun (and educational!) to see the local high school ski team practice as we ride the chairlift. It inspires us to work on our weight-shifting and carving for the remainder of our spontaneous Friday afternoon ski outing.
We hear great things about Acorn Pub and Eatery down at the base where there is often live music. We’ll need to check it out next time for après ski.
This quaint ski area – popular with families since 1948 though a new discovery for us – offers 22 trails (snowmaking on 40%), a 650-foot vertical from base (1,750 feet) to summit (2,400 feet), and four lifts (quad, two T-bars and a surface lift). The longest run is 7,920 feet.
In addition to downhill skiing and snowboarding, Oak features four lanes of snow tubing and miles of snowshoeing trails that take you through a majestic forest.
Lift tickets to Oak Mountain are very reasonable. Full-day tickets are $44, four-hour tickets are $37, and two-hour tickets are only $30. We highly recommend starting or ending the day with even just an hour of skiing at Oak Mountain. (Capacity is limited, and lift tickets, rentals and lessons must be booked in advance online.)
Oak Mountain, 141 Novosel Way Speculator, NY 12164 518-548-3606, www.oakmountainski.com
Oak Mountain’s website lists nearby accommodations and “Play and Stay” packages.
Among them is Lorca ADK, our lodge which we recently renovated from a historic motel, to accommodate stays year-round.
Lorca ADK is a classic drive-in lodge, reimagined as a self-check property for the contemporary traveler. It’s surrounded by forests, across the road from Indian Lake with gorgeous islands. The eight units provide coffee, tea, mini-fridges, s’mores and firewood. The property offers grills, fire pits, lawn games, a seasonal pool with weekend hours, and a nature walk. Lorca ADK is about 20 minutes from Oak Mountain, and about 30 minutes from Gore Mountain Resort.
Lorca ADK, Sabael, NY, 518-300-3916, [email protected], thelorca.com/adk
Winter for Nonskiers: Take Advantage of Off-Season Rates at Five-Star Broadmoor Resort
If you are the sort who prefers après-ski to actual skiing and luxury at value rates, explore a Colorado resort that isn’t all about the downhill, The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.
Winter is The Broadmoor’s off season, so nightly rates at the Forbes Five Star resort are as low as $259/night in winter/early spring (a major savings compared to their starting rates of $555+ in summer). And with 784 guest rooms, suites, cottages, and brownstones, there’s usually plenty of inventory during the winter, making it perfect for a last-minute getaway. And you’ll be anything but bored or feeling left out from the Colorado outdoor fun. Here’s what makes The Broadmoor the best winter resort for non-skiers.
Winter Outdoor Adventures
• Fat Bikes keep guests riding throughout the winter at the resort using locally-made Borealis fat bikes. These high-end bikes are designed to handle the winter snow of Colorado Springs’ terrain. Guided tours or rentals are available.
• Falconry is considered the sport of kings, and The Broadmoor’s team of master falconers gets guests up close to the birds of prey, all year-long. NEW FOR WINTER 2022: one can even participate in a falconry hunt and experience Harris Hawks in pursuit of live game, including pheasants, rabbits or squirrel. Hunts are offered by reservation only through March.
• Fly Fishing in winter is a great option to opt outside, from quick one-hour casting lessons to full-day trips with The Broadmoor’s professional guides.
• Hiking with The Broadmoor Outfitters is another way to get the heart pumping, and guided hikes can be customized to fit interest and fitness levels.
• Rock Climbing can be arranged in the winter months, if Mother Nature agrees of course. The Broadmoor’s guides work with everyone from newbies to seasoned climbers.
• Develop your Wild West skills with a chance to try your hands at archery, tomahawks, and pellet guns during a two-hour group experience that’s perfect for families who enjoy some friendly competition.
• Ziplining at The Broadmoor’s Seven Falls continues in winter, offering stunning views of the secluded South Cheyenne Canyon, often dusted in snow.
Spa + Relaxation
• The Spa at The Broadmoor is known internationally for its innovative services and integrated approach to health and relaxation. In winter, guests love the Oxygen Infusion: a cutting-edge treatment that delivers oxygen under hyperbaric pressure to infuse an active serum to the deeper layers of the skin. And the spa’s large indoor pool is open for guests to enjoy year-round, no matter the weather.
• Take in a Movie at the resort’s own theater, including popcorn. It’s free and open to guests with showings each evening and matinees on the weekend (often featuring films that are still in regular theaters).
• Tucked away just off the main lobby, The Broadmoor’s Portales Library is perhaps the coziest place on the property, with an intimate setting and warm/glowing fireplace.
• Spend a fun-filled evening at Play, a Broadmoor restaurant with six bowling lanes plus a host of games including shuffleboard, a pool table, foosball, Xbox, PlayStation, and Wii to keep everyone entertained all evening long.
• Tennis and pickleball are very popular at The Broadmoor, even in winter. Two of the resort’s hard courts are covered by an illuminated, heated bubble during the winter months, and lessons can be arranged.
• A bit indoor AND outdoor… you can travel to the top of Pikes Peak on the heated rail cars of The Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway. Winter rides are typically offered Friday through Monday.
Food… Glorious Food
• NEW FOR 2022: During winter weekends, The Broadmoor now offers hands-on cooking classes. In February, it’s all about Italy.
• The Broadmoor has 17 restaurants, cafes, and lounges that range from fine dining to casual patisseries.
To book , 877-527-3828, www.broadmoor.com.
Winter in Moab, Utah’s Secret Season for Uncrowded Adventure
MOAB, UT– Even in the winter, the rocks can feel warm to the touch as they absorb the sunshine that kisses the world-renowned, red rock playground of Moab, Utah. While campsites are closed for the winter season, there is comfortable lodging and dining open in and around Moab, while Moab Adventure Center, offers various activities and tours during the off-season between now and early March.
Two, three, and four-hour Hummer Safari tours are available beginning in February. Rates range from $98 to $215 per person depending on the off-road excursion. All safaris are conducted in comfortable 4×4 off-road vehicles. Your driver adds meaning to the spectacular canyon vistas and stops along the way.
Arches National Park tours are conducted year-round by land or air. Land tours are four hours long and air tours range from 30-60 minutes. On the land tours guests have an opportunity for short hikes to phenomenal vistas of famous arches. Air tours give a birds-eye view of Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park; a new flight allows visitors to capture spectacular vistas of Capitol Reef National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park.
Local experts recommend first visiting the Moab Giants Dinosaur Park & Tracks (interactive) Museum (reopens for the season Feb. 18). A Dinosaur Discovery Tour reveals Moab as the original Jurassic park. The surrounding expanse comprised of Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park invites the curious to ponder where those ancient creatures might have ambled and foraged.
Hiking Arches National Park: a four-hour morning tour for hikers exploring this ancient plateau concealing more than 2,000 natural arches, representing the highest concentration of such wonders on the planet is offered year round.
Throughout the year guests can rent four-door Jeep Wranglers so they can do their own exploring of the region. The jeeps hold up to five people and can be rented for 10.5 hours.
Through the late winter season, Moab Adventure Center recommends tapping into http://udottraffic.utah.gov to see real-time road conditions across Utah.
Moab Adventure Center is a division of Western River Expeditions (http://www.westernriver.com/) an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah with operations and offices in Moab and Fredonia, AZ. The company is the largest single tour provider in Moab, Utah.
Moab Adventure Center, 225 South Main St., Moab, UT 84532, 435-259-7019 or 866-904-1163, www.moabadventurecenter.com.
© 2022 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit goingplacesfarandnear.com, www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin, and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com and moralcompasstravel.info. Send comments or questions to [email protected] Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures