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Adventures in the Snow

Snow Adventures Criss Cross America
by
Jessica Howell

White snowy landscapes and powdery soft slopes beckon the thrill-seeker in all of us. From California's rugged snowcaps to the smooth snowmobile trails of the Wyoming, we've compiled a list of the best and most outrageous winter adventures offered across the United States. Plan an escape from the ordinary this year and take on one of these cold weather challenges that are sure to warrant a cozy evening reward beside a burning fireplace.

For the Ultimate Winter Warrior

Ride the Divide

The Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail runs from Wyoming to Montana and through some of the most majestic and wildlife-rich terrain in America. Far from the maddening crowds, this journey delivers 600 miles of groomed trail featuring blue skies, mountain vistas and thousands of acres of off-trail riding in virgin powder. Carving through the Wind River and Absaroka Mountains, the snow is deep and the views are endless.

Excellent food and lodging options, snowmobile rentals, guide services and shuttles make this trail widely coveted by avid riders. Whether you make this a one-way trip or base yourself in Lander, Atlantic City or Dubois you'll find an incredible number of sunny days, more snow than you've ever imagined and gorgeous mountain views in every direction.

Visit Wind River for more information.

Heli-Ski the Rockies

For the ultimate in ski snobbery, climb aboard a helicopter and be transported to the freshest powder around. Colorado's vast open bowls and steep chutes are only yours to enjoy when you take on the spectacular San Juan range of the Rockies with Telluride Helitrax, offering the highest helicopter-accessed terrain in North America.

An average run of 2,000 vertical feet awaits you on these renowned steep slopes. Various terrains suit beginners and advanced skiers and professional guides ensure a safe and secure experience.

Visit Telluride Helitrax for more information and for warm winter lodging, check out the Moutain Lodge at Telluride.

Smooth Sailing - on Ice

For the true, die-hard outdoor enthusiast, there is nothing like iceboating to stir up those inactive wintertime juices. Pennsylvania is home to plenty of frozen-solid lakes in the winter and offers up its smooth, crystal clear glass for all levels of enthusiasts.

Powered by nature's breathy bellows, a non-motorized iceboat can soar to speeds of 40 miles per hour (mph) in a wind that's only blowing a measly 10 mph. Grab your equipment and some wind-breaking gear - iceboating ensures the ultimate adrenaline rush.

Visit the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for more info and a list of lakes (permit required).


For the Annual Snow Adventurer

Mush! Mush!

Rub noses with huskies and experience the thrill of mushing while gliding through beautiful mountain scenery. A team of large and long-legged Yukon Huskie dogs can treat you to your own dogsledding experience while you quietly absorb Maine's white blanketed backroads with Mahoosuc Guide Service.

Sign up for an exciting day trip and get a taste of true Maine winters with the perk of a hearty lunch cooked over an open campfire and the chance to grab the reigns and drive one of the well-behaved dog teams on your own. Want to really connect with nature? Explore the Northwoods in a 4-6 day trip that reaches even more remote wilderness areas and pristine landscapes.

Visit Mahoosuc Guide Service for more information.

Rustic Retreat

Miles of scenic groomed trails make Garnet Hill in the Adirondack wilderness a prime spot for discerning cross-country skiers. Take the trails at your own pace or sign up for an all day guided backcountry tour - either way, the white mountain vistas and snowy woodlands will leave you breathless.

Two thousand feet of elevation, a complete ski and rental shop, and an authentic winter experience make Garnet Hill Lodge a must-do. An original Adirondack camp, the truly rustic atmosphere of these cozy cottage rentals will transport you to a simpler time and provide hours of sweet snowy solitude.

Visit Garnet Hill Lodge for more information.

Alaskan Train Tour

Where better to view snow-crusted scenery than Alaska itself? In a beautifully appointed touring train, of course. Rolling white terrain, all kinds of winter animals and Mount McKinley (North America's highest peak) await your gaze on this spectacular jaunt. Whether on a day tour or a trek across the state, guides are available to point out all of the best views and glass rooftops provide perfect wilderness peeking.

Offering a variety of day tours and 2-10 day adventure packages, there is literally something for everyone. We like the Glacier Discover Train that gets you to Spencer Glacier, but even cooler is the gentle float tour at Spencer Lake where you can get a truly up-close look at these age-old marvels.

Visit Alaska Railroad for more information and offered tours.

For the Chilled-Out Naturalist

Snowshoe Under the Stars

Discover Oregon's Cascades with the full moon reflecting off of the white snow, and look for animals in their own nocturnal wonderland. Perfect for beginners, naturalist guides bring the forest alive with fun natural and cultural history interpretation along the way, and finish the night with hot chocolate with marshmallows served on the snow.

Kids 8 years old and up can enjoy the moonlit spectacle. Reservations are required and all equipment and transportation are provided.

Visit Wanderlust Tours or Visit Central Oregon for more information.


Light Up the Sky

Having delighted and mystified all ages for years, the Aurora Borealis is easily seen in winter's dark months and best viewed in a moonless sky. Find out why the First Natives dubbed the eerie display "The Pathway to Heaven" in Anchorage, Alaska, where there's no better place to lay your eyes on nature's stunning artwork.

The glowing, dancing curtains of light that ripple and sway, fold and unfold then suddenly disappear are always changing. Plan your trip for a few days and ask if your hotel offers a "Northern Lights Wake Up" call to make sure that you don't miss this spectacular view. If you're lucky, you might catch the display during a relaxing soak in an outdoor hot tub!

Visit Anchorage.net For more information on the northern lights in Alaska and lodging.

Sleigh Rides

Baby it's cold outside! When the weather leaves you feeling chilly, grab a blanket and steaming cup of hot cocoa for a cozy sleigh ride with the ones you love. There's nothing better to warm you up to winter than a quiet tour through California's magnificent Lake Tahoe area. Icy landscapes and crystal blue skies soothe and tranquilize on a horse-drawn sleigh.

Stay at the Resort at Squaw Creek, minutes from Lake Tahoe, where sleigh rides can be pre-arranged and luxurious accommodations and world-class spa await your return from the cold.

Visit Reno Tahoe for more information. Visit the Resort at Squaw Creek to learn more about thier accommodations.

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