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Skiing vs Snowboarding: How to choose

Skiing versus snowboarding is an age-old discussion or at least a few decades old. It’s winter, the snow is falling all around and you can’t decide which winter sport you want to try. Sure, you have friends who have done both and they all give you differing opinions as to which sport you should give […]

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Skiing versus snowboarding is an age-old discussion or at least a few decades old. It’s winter, the snow is falling all around and you can’t decide which winter sport you want to try. Sure, you have friends who have done both and they all give you differing opinions as to which sport you should give a try. Skiers will tell you that snowboarding is for kids and snowboarders will tell you that skiing is lame. Who do you listen to and how do you choose?

 

I’ll be your impartial observer who gives you both sides of the story and you can decide your own fate. I’ll dictate some good talking points and some funny observations I’ve made in my over 20 plus years of winter sports participation. That’s all I’ll classify my activity as, I’m not an Olympic athlete nor am I completely uncoordinated. I am however a decent athlete and more than competent at both sports.

 

Snowboard

Style:

When discussing snowboarding, fashion is number one. Snowboarding culture is closely related to skateboarding, including their style and general demeanor. Snowboarders wear baggier clothing, the funkier the better with multiple clashing patterns. Snowboarders think they are cooler than they are and that attitude to important if you wish to emulate their style. Baggy pants and loose fitting jackets are the norm and you’d benefit from a cool beanie, like the hipster wear.

Vernacular:

The way one speaks is definitive to their culture and snowboarders definitely have their own traditions. Get ready to drop more “Dudes” and “Bros” than you are accustomed to. A snowboarders’ verbiage is similar to surfers and skaters. Also, break out your high fiving hand and be prepared to slap a few.

Boots:

The boots may be the classic difference between the two sports. Snowboarding boots are softer and cooler than ski boots. Snowboard boots are also much easier to walk around in, which makes a huge difference. These boots resemble normal winter boots except they are generally thicker and stiffer.

 

 

Ski

Style:

Skier style is more focused on speed and function than form. Skiers normally travel at a higher velocity than snowboarders so their outfits are tighter and more aerodynamic. You’ll notice bright colors and smoother fabrics, which help with speed and control.  

Also a huge difference between the two is skiers have poles. Poles help with balance and increase in the ease of moving on flat ground, which is a huge disadvantage to snowboarders.

Vernacular:

Skiers will speak of moguls and black diamonds, which will hardly be spoken by a snowboarder. Moguls are the bumpy sections of harder slopes and black diamonds reference the hardest and steepest courses. Snowboarders tend to stay away from black diamonds and tend to hang in the snowboard park. Skiers tend to speak in perfect sentences and mention lattes often.

Boots:

Once again the biggest divide between the two are the boots used. Ski boots are extremely stiff and almost impossible to walk around. Snowboarders will habitually make fun of the duck like walks of skiers. Ski boots are stiff to give the rider much more control at high speeds.

 

These are just a few of the differences between skiing and snowboarding, now it’s up to you to chose your poison. Skiing or snowboarding, it’s a tough decision, why not try both, and see what fits your style better.

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Glamping (Glamorous Camping): Pick your Shelter

Shelter Camping is a wonderful way to connect with nature and clear out all the stress that a modern world creates. This is true unless the idea of being dirty in the woods is a nightmare scenario, for these people I introduce GLAMPING. Glamping is glamorous camping, or camping with more modern conveniences and amenities. […]

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Shelter

Camping is a wonderful way to connect with nature and clear out all the stress that a modern world creates. This is true unless the idea of being dirty in the woods is a nightmare scenario, for these people I introduce GLAMPING. Glamping is glamorous camping, or camping with more modern conveniences and amenities. It is possible to camp and not get dirty, I know it’s blasphemous to many, but so is not being clean to others. It’s time to open up your mind and accept that some people enjoy being clean, so here are my tips to Glamping shelters and picking what is best for you.

Glamping all begins with choosing which type of shelter fits your needs best.

 http://www.rainier.com/

Yurt:

Yurts are an interesting option and not just because they are fun to say. Yurts are basically permanent tents and possibly the most rustic many glampers will go. You will soon find out that a yurt is usually canvas covering wrapped around a wooden frame. Seems pretty basic and that’s exactly what it is. There will be zero insulation for warmth but these are waterproof so you will stay dry but not cozy.  

Comfort level: 4 out of 10

 

Luxury Tent:

This is the baseline for glamping and anything below this is just camping. A luxury tent usually is made up of multiple rooms, zipper less doors and as little modern conveniences as possible. Don’t be fooled by their false claims of luxury, these tents are just bigger and more difficult to set up. These are basically made as an introduction to normal camping or glamping, dependant on where you are coming from.

Comfort Level: 2 out of 10

 http://www.momondo.com/

Tree House:

Now we are getting into some interesting choices for glamping shelters. Tree houses are becoming more and more popular because of popular television shows about tree house builders. Gone are the days of tree houses just being for children, now adults are enjoying their functionality. Tree houses give users an out of the ordinary perspective on nature and help increase the overall enjoyment of outdoors living. Many will have some power but few have running water. Expect a pretty primitive experience.

Comfort Level: 5 out of 10

 http://www.stardust.com/tipigigante.html

Teepee:

Bringing it back to the native’s preferred mode of shelter, the tipi is a favorite among the spiritual travelers. Teepees bring out a real primal sense and create a mystical meeting place for glampers of all levels. You must remember that teepees are basically yurts or a tent, so your luxury lies solely with the coverings used. Many times animal pelts are used to cover the teepee.

Comfort Level: 2 out of 10

 http://www.countryliving.com/

RV/Tiny House:

The most luxurious way to glamp of course is to stay in a RV or a tiny home. RV’s have always been a favorite of the glampers whether they are at Coachella or the Kentucky Derby. Tiny homes are relatively new to the glamping world but are also popular due to many new reality shows. These little guys have all the conveniences of a larger home but on a miniature scale. Running water and electricity are almost always included. RVs and Tiny homes are the ultimate tool to any glamper.

Comfort Level: 9 out of 10

 

 

Cabin/Cottage:

Glamping at its finest and truest form, a cabin has all the amenities of a normal home. Renting a cabin will be the easiest way to ease someone into the outdoors lifestyle while still maintaining his or her level of luxury. Cabins usually have electricity and running water, but don’t expect it, that is something I recommend checking on before booking. Bugs and vermin may be an issue since many cabins and cottages go empty for long periods of time

Comfort Level: 7 out of 10

 

Enjoy these choices for glamping and get your hands an acceptable level of dirty.

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Don’t go to the snow without packing these!

Winter is in full swing as snow is falling and temperatures are dropping. The snowfall this season has been extraordinary and outdoor enthusiasts are in freshie powder heaven. The snow has reached record levels in parts of California, Colorado and Utah so if you are a winter sport adventurer then the season is upon you. […]

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Winter is in full swing as snow is falling and temperatures are dropping. The snowfall this season has been extraordinary and outdoor enthusiasts are in freshie powder heaven. The snow has reached record levels in parts of California, Colorado and Utah so if you are a winter sport adventurer then the season is upon you. If you’re planning a trip to a mountain resort then you can’t forget to pack these must have items.

Ski pants, jacket, gloves and a warm hat go without explanation, because if you need to be told to bring these then maybe you shouldn’t be going in the first place.
Here are some items that are often forgotten.

Warm socks
A good pair of ski socks are so crucial to your comfort and often overlooked. Many people just toss their old gym socks in their ski bag and call it a day. Boo to you I say. Any skier or boarder worth their weight will tell you that cotton is not the way to go. A wool blend or synthetic sock is the best way to go. I advise a trip to your local sports store or ski shop to find the perfect pair. When shopping for socks, make sure they are not too tight because proper circulation is key to keeping your extremities nice and toasty.

Long johns or Thermals
Fashion be damned when skiing or snowboarding is all about keeping warm and dry. Layering is your best friend and it’s always smart to start off with a quality pair of thermal long underwear.  Steer clear of the cheap stuff and invest in a nice pair, this time I recommend cotton or a blend. Synthetic fabric doesn’t breathe as well and you want sole of the heat to escape so you don’t sweat too much.

Hand and feet warmers
These little buggers are a lifesaver. What many people don’t understand is that skiing and snowboarding is actually about 60% sitting in the ski lift, so hand and foot warmers come in handy. See what I did there, pun time!  These guys can be found at almost any store in a colder climate, usually by the checkout register. If no luck there, I guarantee them to be at ski shops or a sporting goods store. They cost less than a few dollars and last up to 8 hours.

Adventure pack
A good quality adventure backpack or waist pack are key to any good ski trip. When buying one, look for a secondary securing apparatus like a waist or chest strap. This will help with all the vigorous activity you are about to do.
A good pack can hold all your stuff and so much needed water. Staying hydrated is important and often over looked because you are in cold weather. I like a pack that also has a hydration system, like a Camelback.

Goggles/sunglasses
It’s so bright in the mountain during the day it’s crazy. My first time skiing I was amazed at how blinded I was from the sun reflecting off the snow. Grab a cheap pair of shades that you don’t mind breaking or losing.
Nighttime skiing can be dangerous without a good pair or goggles. The wind is whipping around and snow can be blinding, so quality goggles can save the night.

Sunscreen
Everyone always forgets the sunscreen. I understand, you figure it’s cold and you are all bundled up, but you don’t know want to look like a raccoon when you return home.  I recommend a strong sun block, SPF 50 or above and get a waterproof or sweatproof one. You’d be surprised at how much you actually sweat when skiing or snowboarding.

Helmet
We aren’t all professional snowboarders or skiers so grab a helmet and wear it. They serve multiple purposes; a) to keep your noggin safe and b) to keep that same noggin warm. Most of your body heat escapes through the head and a stocking cap doesn’t always work best. You can rent a helmet at every reputable ski resort and most ski rental shops. They want you to come back so they always offer helmets for safety reasons.

Comfy sweats
When you get off the slopes and take a long hot shower or jacuzzi you are going to want some comfortable sweats to lounge in, believe me. The warmer and softer the better, your sore body will thank you.

Flask
I’m not advocating skiing or snowboarding drunk but a little nip of an old flask always warms you up from the inside out. Maybe save this for after your skiing is done for the day or maybe not, I’m not your parent or guardian.

GoPro
These little guys are awesome and getting increasingly more affordable. They are impact and water resistant so throw them into your adventure pack and capture all the amazing memories. Just make sure the battery is charged and memory card is empty so you don’t accidentally tape over your kid’s recital.

Good luck out there and remember to have fun, life is too short.

 

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Vacation like a King on a Pauper’s Budget: Maldives

Vacation on a Budget in the Maldives Maldives has quickly become one of the world’s hottest vacation destinations. Commonly referred to as “paradise on Earth,” the Maldives is a group of naturally formed coral islands located in the Indian Ocean. The Island country is home to crystal clear waters, vibrant coral reefs and the perfect […]

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Vacation on a Budget in the Maldives

Maldives has quickly become one of the world’s hottest vacation destinations. Commonly referred to as “paradise on Earth,” the Maldives is a group of naturally formed coral islands located in the Indian Ocean. The Island country is home to crystal clear waters, vibrant coral reefs and the perfect temperature above and below the water.  

The island chain is enjoying newfound fame, thanks to recently being featured in the 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. You may remember Bar Rafaeli and Brooklyn Decker heating up the already hot beach, or maybe you paid attention to the beautiful surroundings.

The Maldives is a Muslim country so contrary to many rumors alcohol is illegal except on a few select resorts. This is one of the reasons the Maldives are considered a favorite among families. Don’t let the lack of alcohol stop you from having the time of your life in this paradise lost. I would visit sooner than later as the super secret vacation destination will soon be over populated and overrun by hotel chains. The island’s best attribute has to be their unbridled beauty, which is seriously unmatched.

The island chain boasts some of the world’s most pristine beaches, untouched reefs and incredibly opulent resorts.  Many of the resorts offer private villas, with glass bottoms, situated over the crystal clear ocean.  These stunning views don’t hold a candle to ITHAA, The first and only underwater restaurant.  Located at the Hilton Maldives, this restaurant sits completely under the Indian Ocean, where diners can enjoy freshly caught seafood in a human aquarium.  The dining experience was second to none and definitely a bucket list situation.

Popular among the Dubai elite, Maldives isn’t just a playground for the rich, if you plan the trip right. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to make your vacation memorable and budget friendly.

Everything on the island can be affordable if you eat like the locals, stay in a neighborhood guesthouse and travel by the regional ferries.   The most expensive price tag will be your airfare, unless you are flying from Dubai, it’ll break your bank. A good budget to stick to would be roughly $60-100 USD a day including accommodations.   Since there is no alcohol allowed on the islands, you can scratch that added costs off your budget.

You can find a room in a local guesthouse for around $40 USD per night and that is way cheaper than any hotels.  Here is a website that helps you find guesthouses in Maldives. This also gives you an insider view on the islands and their inhabitants. It’s always cheaper to live like a local when traveling.

Getting around is easy if you stick to the ferries (side note: they don’t always come and when they do its rarely on time). You must remember that you are on an island so it completely runs on island time. You don’t have anywhere you must be so relax, tyke your time and enjoy the scenery.   Y=the only time I would recommend renting a speedboat is when you need to make it back to Male´ to catch your flight. In that case, a speedboat rental is only $30-40 USD.

You won’t spend much on food and beverages as long as you eat local. Many resorts have 5-star restaurants but remember you will pay a pretty penny for those. I was able to keep my daily meals to under $20 USD and I think I ate like a king. The seafood is plentiful and the freshest I’ve ever eaten.

Aquatic activities are dirt cheap and around every corner. You can’t walk 50 feet on the beach without seeing someone doing an awesome water sport. The snorkeling is possibly the best in the world with some of the most vibrant coral reefs and abundant aquatic life.   Average snorkeling trips will run you roughly $20 USD and that’s for an all day excursion. I was able to find a scuba trip where we dove with whale sharks for under $100 USD. Possibly the most majestic activity I’ve ever done.

I was amazed at how cheap the trip to Maldives ended up being. Overall I spent less than when I go to the Caribbean. SO moral of the story is, there is nowhere on these green earth that isn’t accessible if you plan accordingly and budget correctly.

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