Here are some sources to help plan a ski vacation:
As kids, we pored over the Sears Wishbook. As adults, we have “The Skier’s Book of Trail Maps.” This just-published book provides full-color, large trail maps for more than 80 ski resorts in North America. Published by Dandelion Press, the book costs $19.95 and can be ordered by calling 800-263-1991.
Utah Winter Sports Park in Park City gives you the chance to train like an Olympic athlete. Race down the luge and bobsled tracks that will be used in the 2002 Olympic Games. Call 801-658-4200 for times and fees.
Find another Olympic experience in Aspen, Colo., at the Snowmass Cross-Country Center biathlon range.
Hone your cross-country skiing and shooting skills on a six-kilometer course groomed for classic and skate skiing and snowshoeing. The course will be open daily beginning Dec. 6. Pellet rifles can be rented for $10. Ski and snowshoe gear also is available. A one-time biathlon safety introduction course is required; it also costs $10. Call 970-923-3148.
Northstar-at-Tahoe provides tips on how to ski with your child at free clinics. “Mommy, Daddy & Me” meets at 2:30 p.m. daily except on Saturdays. Call 800-466-6784.
In Granby, Colo., the C Lazy U Ranch delivers a variety of winter activities with a Western flavor in an all-inclusive setting.
Guests can count on lodging, three meals a day, horseback riding, cross-country and telemark skiing (equipment and instruction included), snowshoeing and shuttle service to Winter Park and Silver Creek ski areas. The ranch also boasts a library, indoor racquetball court, whirlpool and exercise facility. Prices start at $115 per person per night (double occupancy) with a two-night minimum; this offer is good Jan. 6 through March 30. Call 970-887-3344.
Our favorite winter sports-related Internet site is http://www.skicentral.com. This home page links you to more than 4,100 ski-related sites in more than 56 categories.
Another Internet site you may want to check out is the Resorts Sports Network (http:/ /www.rsn.com), where you’ll find the latest news about weather, snow conditions and special events at the world’s top ski resorts. A nifty option is its Broadcast Email Program that allows you to receive weekly e-mail updates including vacation bargains.
Get your first taste of the back-country experience on a trip to Janet’s Cabin at Colorado’s Copper Mountain Resort.
The overnight, fully guided weekend trip offers access to fine beginner and intermediate back-country skiing. Guides provide skiing and safety tips, dispense snacks, lead wilderness tours and cook gourmet meals for participants. Trips to Janet’s Cabin will be offered Jan. 24-25, March 1-2 and March 20-21, and a women’s-only trip will be Feb. 9-10. Cost is $215 per person and includes meals. Call 970-968-2318, Ext. 6342.
If you’re looking for some unusual after-ski action, consider a cooking class at the superb Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City, Utah.
Each month throughout the year, the lodge combines a themed cooking class in a lecture-style setting with a sit-down dinner. The pros discuss food and wine pairings, as well as prepare the dishes. Classes are about three hours in length. Classes scheduled during ski season: Jan. 9, a Dessert Extravaganza for $50 per person; Feb. 6, a Romantic Dinner for Two at $60 per person; and March 27, Contemporary English Fare spotlights British beers for $50 per person. Class size is limited; reservations are advised. Call 435-649-3700.
Can’t decide what to do this winter? Try it all with the “Colorado Winter Sports Sampler.”
The weeklong adventure includes downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and ice skating, as well as a sleigh-ride dinner and a twilight snowmobile tour to a back-country feast. Activities are centered in Breckrenridge and Leadville.
Cost of the five-night adventure is $1,595. Departures are Dec. 14, Jan. 4 and Feb. 8. For details, contact Roads Less Traveled at 800-488-8483. Or visit the company’s Web site (http://www.roadslesstraveled.com) for details on other winter programs.