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December 14, 2006

Affordable winter escapes are but a snowball’s throw away

http://www.jewishjournal.com/travel/article/affordable_winter_escapes_are_but_a_snowballs_throw_away_20061215

Now that the holiday season is upon us, it's time to do a little carving -- and we're not talking brisket.

The recent tease of fresh powder has left rippers and freeriders hopeful that there won't be a repeat of last season's half-open San Bernardino snow farms.

Already some local ski resorts, like Mountain High and Bear Mountain, have reported base depths of more than 2 feet at their upper elevations. Mammoth was the first ski resort to open in California on Nov. 9, hot on the heels of its record-setting 52 feet of snow during 2005-06. And with the last of the Rocky Mountain resorts set to open this week, it's beginning to look a lot like ski season.

Even though most resorts currently have less than 50 percent of its trails open, don't put off planning your getaway until the powder drops. Plenty of Jewish ski packages are already filling up, and this year's bevy will be kinder to you wallet since much of the action is being kept fairly close to home.

Southern California
San Bernardino Mountains

Chabad on Campus and Chabad of California are reaching out to Jews of all denominations with its men-only and women-only Winter Break Ski and Learn Experiences. Geared toward Jewish undergraduate and graduate students (ages 18-26) with little or no background in formal Jewish learning, the six-day trips will feature morning Jewish learning sessions on three different tracks with rabbis and Chabad staff from Southern California, Oregon and Washington. After 11:30 a.m., the mountain is yours until the last run of the day. Subsidized pricing will include transportation to and from the slopes, kosher meals, lodging, alternative outdoor activities and a full Shabbat service. There is no dress code, however you will have to arrange transportation to the Kiryas Schneerson Lodge in Running Springs and pay for your own lift ticket and rentals (three-day package for $160).

Dates: Dec. 21-27, 2006 (men), Dec. 27, 2006-Jan. 1, 2007 (women).
Cost: $50.

For more information, call (213) 748-5884, or visit www.winterbreak.info.

For high school students, West Coast NCSY is hosting a Ski Shabbaton in February. The Orthodox youth group is renting a group of cabins near Wrightwood and Big Bear, and will feature skiing and snowboarding all day Friday, Saturday night and all day Sunday. For tuchus-draggers and frum bunnies, optional snow tubing and alpine sliding will be available Saturday night. A reduced rate is available for students who wish to join the group after Shabbat ends.

Dates: Feb. 17-19, 2007.
Cost: $125 (full Shabbaton), $60 (post-Shabbat).
For more information, call Ouriel Hazan at (310) 876-6631.

Northern California
Mammoth Mountain

Leave the car at home and let someone else do the driving. Now in its 12th year, JSki is the only L.A. Jewish ski group that puts its 20- to 40-somethings on a luxury bus, complete with videos and a bathroom. Cost includes two-nights lodging in a luxury condo with fireplace, kitchen and Jacuzzi; transportation to and from the slopes; dinner and hors d'oeuvres party. Bus picks up and drops off at Van Nuys Flyaway, Federal Building and Irvine Transportation Center.

Dates: Jan. 19-21, 2007; Feb. 9-11, 2007 (joint trip with Mosaic, Kesher Israeli and Nexus); March 2-4, 2007; March 23-35, 2007.
Cost: $199.
For more information, call (818) 342-9508 or e-mail jskila@aol.com.

Lake Tahoe

Want to schmooze on the slopes with the high-tech crowd? The Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley's Young Adult Division is sponsoring its annual ski trip to Northstar-at-Tahoe. Price includes housing, lift ticket, food, drinks and a cocktail reception.

Dates: Jan. 26-28, 2007.
Price: $255.
For more information, call (408) 357-7503 or visit www.jvalley.org/svyad.html.

Colorado
Breckenridge

Steppin' Out Adventures is planning a trip for Jewish singles to Breckenridge with a seven-night or four-night option. Breck's Victorian charm is complimented by its renowned nightlife. While accommodations at The Village at Breckenridge are renown for being a bit austere, its prime location and recent $2 million facelift might make your stay a bit more tolerable. Price includes lift tickets to Vail, Keystone, Beaver Creek or A-Basin; transfers to and from Denver airport; lodging; full breakfast; two dinners and planned optional activities.

Dates: Feb. 4-11, 2007; Feb. 7-11, 2007.
Cost: $1,290-$1,650.
For more information, call (866) 299-5674 or visit steppinoutadventures.com.

Copper Mountain

Just 75 miles west of Denver, Copper Mountain is known for its accessibility -- beginner, intermediate and expert skiing trails naturally separated into three distinct areas. The resort also features some of the best early and late season snow, along with four alpine bowls and renowned terrain parks. This JSki trip includes roundtrip air from Los Angeles or San Diego, transportation from and to Denver airport, three nights lodging (double occupancy) at Best Western Lake Dillon Lodge, three days lift tickets, round trip shuttle to slopes and a daily breakfast.

Dates: Jan. 12-15, 2007.
Cost: $699.
For more information, call (818) 342-9508 or e-mail jskila@aol.com.

Vail

Vail's Bavarian-style resort is regularly ranked as one of the top ski destinations in the United States. Boasting 5,289 skiable acres and one of the largest networks of high-speed quad lifts, Vail offers greater room for skiing or snowboarding and more time on the slopes. This Steppin' Out Adventure package features accommodations at the Lion Square Lodge in LionsHead Village, which includes a fitness club, spa and complimentary Internet access; transfers from Eagle Airport (30 minutes from Vail); lodging; lift tickets to Golden Peak, Vail Village, LionsHead Village or Cascade Village; full breakfast and two dinners; and planned optional activities.

Dates: March 18-25, 2007; March 20-25, 2007.
Cost: $1,955-$2,330.
For more information, call (866) 299-5674 or visit steppinoutadventures.com.

Utah
Salt Lake City

The New Year's trip with JSki drew 130 people last year and this year is filling up fast. The roundtrip flight chartered by New Horizon Tours has already sold out, but no worries -- simply book your own flight Salt Lake City. There's still room on the bus from and to the airport and in the hotel, but that won't last long. The trip includes five nights lodging at the Marriott (double occupancy); five days of lift tickets to Alta, Solitude and Snowbird (tram extra), Deer Valley and The Canyons; transportation to the slopes, daily buffet breakfast and a welcome dinner party.

Dates: Dec. 27, 2006-Jan. 1, 2007.
Cost: $705.
For more information, call (818) 342-9508 or e-mail jskila@aol.com.

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