Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top 10 reasons why should you go on a ski trip

Unlike any other trip, ski trips give you limitless option to have fun. Many people around the globe love their ski escapades for different reasons.
Here are 10:
  1. Hone your skiing skills while having fun
Sports like skiing help you discover your capabilities while having fun in the process. In fact, many people enjoy skiing not only because they've made runs and turns, but also because they have fun while doing it.

  1. You’ll love the adrenaline rush
The speed sensation and the bumpy rides on the challenging terrains can give you the incredible adrenaline rushes you wouldn't experience in any other sport.

  1. It lets you see the wonders of the world
Ski resorts' chairlifts let you enjoy beautiful mountains and nearby places all from a bird's eye view.

  1. It's a multi-generational good time
Winter sports like skiing are suitable for all ages. That way, ski trips let you share the good times with your whole family and friends. How many other sports do you know like that? Playing basketball or soccer is also a fun way to spend time with your family, but you can’t expect your mother or grandmother to play with you.

  1. It can make you feel good
Skiing is a great physical activity to help you remain in good shape. A single downhill run can actually burn up to 700 calories in your body. Aside from that, the excitement that skiing gives can boost your body's' endorphins. Thus, it improves your mood and makes you feel good.

  1. There are endless possibilities
With skiing, there's always something new to try. If you're bored with the same downhill run every day, you can try cross-country, snowboarding, heli-skiing, and many more options. You can also hit different terrains starting from small volunteer runs to the higher Alps.

  1. Millions of enthusiasts
Skiing has many enthusiasts who share the same passion to the sport. It means that you'll probably meet new people who can help you learn new tricks and turns.

  1. No rigid training required
Unlike other sports, skiing doesn't require tedious training for you to hit the slopes. It can be taught for a week in a ski school and it's very easy to learn.

  1. Party all night long
Ski resorts offer you the best party experience in the local apr├Ęs ski bars. After the tiring ski, you can party all night long and make new friends while taking a break from the slopes.

  1. A return to childhood
On the slope, you can be a child again and forget your job responsibilities for a while by making downhill runs on a sledge with your friends or snowball fight with your kids. It's really a perfect break from a hectic everyday schedule.

Ski escapade simply boils down to one objective-- to have fun. As they say, if it’s not fun at all, then it’s not a ski trip.

Monday, September 29, 2014

6 reasons why a ski vacation has a positive impact on work

A ski vacation is proof that getaways can actually make you feel happier and more productive at work.

But according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the United States is a “No-vacation nation”. This is due to the belief of most Americans that 'hard work is associated with success', according to Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn on the Journal of Happiness Studies.

Let's debunk that belief. Working alone doesn't make Americans happy or successful. There's more to life than work.

Here are some of the good reasons why a great vacation leads to better performance at work:

A great vacation refreshes the mind

It's a fact that sometimes you’ll feel burned out at work, which makes it really hard to find an inspiration for great ideas (especially when you are under pressure). Having a break from work will help you refresh your tired mind. The scenery and the excitement on your ski trips can spark creative thinking. When you are relaxed, creativity flows.

Happiness is priceless

As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated one in every ten US adults experience depression. To combat this, a study in the University of Pittsburgh states that “The more frequent the vacations, the longer the men lived.” Leisure time helps boost optimism, which lowers depression.

So don't allow your work to keep you from experiencing happiness with your family.

Network and make new friends

You'll never know when and where opportunity comes. While you're on the trip, you could meet new friends, contacts, and possible clients. Some of the best opportunities happen in a moment when you're less pressured and in a good mood.

A trip measures your ability in 'planning ahead'

A vacation is also an opportunity for you to gauge your skills in planning things ahead. With good planning skills, all your projects and tasks will run smoothly, and that's something that your company should be proud of.

Health and wellness

You'll experience life and work more fully when you are healthy. Employees who spend time time off work enjoy a remarkable improvement in their health, thanks to reduced stress levels, which results to fewer sick days.

Reflects the culture of your company

Companies that value the importance of a break from work also speaks about their culture.

By encouraging employees to have a vacation, you are telling them that you care about them as individuals. This could enhance employee retention rates. In turn, this could serve as a competitive advantage of the company to hiring desirable employees.

So, forget all your workload and plan your ski vacation. You'll certainly get back to work fresh and with a more positive outlook.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ski Vacation Tips: How to do safe backcountry skiing

When the usual trails during your ski vacation gets a little boring, you can try something different, like backcountry skiing. It's skiing outside the boundaries of ski resorts, where there are no chair lifts, patrols, lodges and other amenities.

Not to ruin your expectations, but you should know that backcountry skiing, while exciting, is a dangerous activity, especially if you don't take precautions. So, if you plan to try this one out, here are some safety tips:

Know your ability
Before you go, ask yourself these questions: Am I you really prepared to try backcountry skiing? Do I have the proper knowledge and techniques in skiing in unmarked trails? Am I ready for the possible dangers I might encounter?

If you really think you can, proceed with caution. If not, don't worry because there are many ways you can enjoy skiing, which are definitely safe and fun for you.

Take an avalanche safety training course
Undergoing proper training on avoiding and surviving an avalanche is a must, especially for this type of activity. This is because you'll be skiing outside the jurisdiction of your ski resort, where risks of landslides, crevasses and avalanches are high, and help is nowhere near.

Get the right gear
Bring enough gear and supplies which can help you counteract the effects of severe weather changes. Bring extra clothes, food, a first aid kit, a map, a compass, a knife, some matches and a fire starter, a whistle and a mirror, but make sure they are compact enough to carry around.

Additionally, use skis appropriate for backcountry skiing because skis for regular ski trips are not suitable here.  But if you have the skis from your last alpine touring, mountain skiing and ski mountaineering, you can still use them. Skis like those can handle difficult terrain conditions.

Don't forget the safety gear
Safety gear such as a transceiver or beacon, a probe and shovel can significantly improve chances of survival when you or a member of your group is caught in an avalanche.

Condition yourself
Backcountry skiing is exhausting as there are no lifts to get on top of the mountains, and you have to trek your way to the zenith. Thus, being in a good physical and mental state can make your skiing safer and enjoyable.

Do not travel alone
Solo backcountry skiing is not advisable due to critical weather and avalanche-prone conditions. If it's your first time, find someone who actually knows the safest route well.

Prepare for the worst
Be alert all the time and prepare for possible accidents and emergencies. Learn about conditions like hypothermia and high altitude sickness, and ways to overcome them. Also master navigational skills such as map and compass reading.

Backcountry skiing is definitely a worthwhile experience. However, it involves a lot of risks, such as the chances of being caught in an avalanche, exhaustion during a climb, and the dangers posed by severe weather conditions. So do make sure that you have sufficient preparation and training, and don't throw caution to the wind when embarking on activities like this on your ski vacation.

Melting Snowman Cookies and more on Pinterest!

If you have not found Pinterest you need to. 

Pinterest is a visual tool website that is amazing. It can help you organize and plan just about anything your heart desires. You can search any and every thing. You create your own "boards" and can "Pin" the recipe, ski clothing item, quote, skis, places you dream of traveling onto the boards that you create. Then you will not spend hours searching the Internet for that one website, or idea that you loved and can no longer seem to find. You will have it organized in one spot. Super cool give it a try you just might like it!

This recipe idea was found on Pinterest via the "Baking and Mistaking" blog and what an adorable idea for the winter! 

Melting Snowman Cookies

Recipe: Makes 15 to 20 Melting Snowman Cookies

Sugar Cookies (recipe below)
Royal Icing (recipe below) 
15 to 20 marshmallows
Edible pen
Mini chocolate chips

Make and bake the cookies and icing as per the below recipes. Let the cookies cool, and spread the thinned out icing over the cookies, letting some drip over the edges. 
Place the marshmallows on a microwave-safe plate and zap them for 20 to 25 seconds until puffed out. With greased fingers, carefully place them (and smoosh down slightly) on the cookies, trying not to disrupt the icing.  
If using mini chocolate chips or pearl sprinkles, carefully place three in a row below the marshmallow. 
Let the icing dry completely - at least an hour. 
Using the ink pen, add on arms and faces to your cookies. Enjoy!

Sugar Cookies: 
1/2 cups (1 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Beat together butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
Gradually mix in flour, baking powder and salt. Shape the dough into two balls, flatten, and wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze for an hour or two (or refrigerate overnight). Either pinch of pieces of dough and flatten or roll it out and cut out shapes. Bake the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10 to 13 minutes at 350F, without letting them get brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Royal Icing: (makes more than enough)

3 egg whites
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1 pound confectioner's sugar

Beat the egg whites and lemon juice together.
Gradually add in the sifted sugar on low speed until smooth. Beat for several minutes until shiny. 
Use immediately or cover and refrigerate or it will begin to harden.

For this recipe - thin the icing out (with water) until you can swirl a spoon through it, and the mark will disappear in a second or two. Only add a tablespoon or so at a time.

-Kamlyn Cantrell

Kamlyn is our resident foodie, so don't be surprised to see some additional gastronomical tips from her this winter. Personally, I'm hoping for some quick and easy ski trip dinners when your're too tired to do much gourmet cooking after a hard day on the slopes! Kam?

Can you hear me now??????

Let’s face it. In this world of smartphones and instant information and updating even on vacation we can’t seem to put down the technology. Yes, we are ingrained to post, share, poke, tweet, tumble and on and on.  And that does not change just because we are on the slopes! Sure coming down you have your phone all warm and snuggled in a pocket but as soon as your bum hits the gondola or base lodge it’s on!

Fortunately, there are some wonderful apps available to all you snow lovers that will actually HELP you while on the mountain!  While there are choices galore I have highlighted for you a few that I personally think are worth whipping that phone out while you are actually on the mountaintop.

#1  - Need help deciding which hill will have the best conditions for a last minute weekend trip?

This top-rated app is free and delivers up-to-the-minute ski and snow conditions from your favorite ski resorts. You can track multiple resorts at once, and the app will provide with you details such as recent snowfall, temperature, snow depth, wind gusts, as well as a weekly forecast.

#2 – Forgot to grab a trail map or where you left your snowboard before heading to Apres Ski?
Download - REALSKI 2.1
This iPhone app uses your phone's camera to show you where you are and what ski runs are before you, helping you navigate the slopes. It posts digital overlays that appear within the app, showing you where the lifts, lodges, restrooms and restaurants are, as well as trails (and their level of skill) and any other parks or features of that resort. The app is linked to over 100 North American ski . The newest version of the app allows you to geotag important points - for example, your parked car, favorite run, or a pole dropped off the chair - and also integrates Twitter and Facebook sharing.

#3 – Want to challenge yourself this season and see your progression on the slopes?
Download - SkiTracks
One of the most popular Android apps for skiing enthusiast. Using your phone's map and GPS tracking abilities it shows you exactly where you've skied on a satellite map, while also tracking distance, speed, altitude, duration, and more.

Just remember, be safe out there... Don’t Text and Ski!!! ;)

-Samantha (Sam) Burrier

Thanks for these great tips Sam! I personally downloaded SkiTracks last season, and have been having fun tracking my ski day data at different mountains. Look for more great suggestions from Sam during the season!