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Jackson Hole Gets Big Snow (and Direct Flights)

Jackson Hole

The mountain is open at Jackson Hole and eager skiers who’ve been watching the Wyoming weather (to summarize: snow and snow and more powdery snow) will be happy to hear that getting to the Tetons is easier this winter. United is flying directly from Newark and San Francisco and Delta has added direct flights from Minneapolis, bringing the number of cities with direct service to the valley up to nine.

Intermediate skiers (me!) get a little love from the notoriously Black Diamond-heavy resort, too. A recently completed detachable quad lift opened last week to sweep Blue Trail skiers (me!) up to mid-mountain in just three and a half minutes. The Casper trail network has been expanded and buffed and more than half the blue trails are open, even this early in the season, because of the benevolent snow gods have dumped over 130” so far—more than at any other Rockies resort.

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Guess Where? Snowy Beach Town

201103-b-guesswhere-152jpgCan you figure out which popular summer beach town this is? If it helps, it's somewhere that gets snow in the winter, as seen on the boardwalk here. Log in and leave your guesses below.

Check back next week for the answer!

UPDATE 12/11/12: That's right! This is the town of Virginia Beach, VA.

Lyndsey Matthews is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter @matthewslyndsey

Photo Courtesy of the T+L Photo Contest

Winter Travel Tweet-up with Travel + Leisure!

laura-begley-bloomjpgWhether you're looking to escape the unseasonably-warm-but-still-pretty-frigid winter weather of the north for a beachy getaway, or you actually want to get in some quality time with good ol' Jack Frost and hit the slopes, we've got the perfect solution to help plan your trip!

Tomorrow (February 1), we're hosting a live Twitter chat from 3p.m. until 4p.m. ET, along with Travel + Leisure Deputy Editor Laura Begley Bloom.

Also joining in the conversation is a panel of travel experts, all eager to answer your burning seasonal travel questions. Our expert panelists include:

1. Jamie Shupak, @JamieShupak
2. Johnny Jet, @JohnnyJet
3. Liz Sutton, @AlabamaWorldTvl
3. Rebecca Minkoff, @RebeccaMinkoff
4. Ryan Jones, @Liftopia

How does it work?

1. Log in to Twitter any time from 3-4p.m. EST and be sure to follow the chat hosts: @TravlandLeisure and @LauraBegley
2. Use the hashtag #TL_Chat to follow and participate in the chat.
3. To keep up with the chat in real time, head over to http://tweetchat.com/room/tl_chat
4. We'll pulse out some questions for our expert panel to answer, but feel free to post your own answers to our questions! Or ask your own questions! Take advantage of this special access to this fab panel and get some expert travel advice.

We hope to "see" you there!

2010-hs-josh-pramisjpgJoshua Pramis is the social media editor and resident tech aficionado. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuapramis

Colorado Storm Brings Avalanche of Deals

As a former Colorado resident and onetime liftee (my first job out of college, at Winter Park Resort), I’m a huge fan of skiing in the state. So it was great to hear about the recent storm that dumped up to 10 inches of much-needed powder. It allowed ski resorts to open up new terrain, including parts of Vail’s awesome Blue Sky Basin.

The storm also brought out some great deals at ski hotels—and there’s no better way to end a great ski day than by getting a bargain at a luxury hotel. Here’s a sampling:

• Free night. Stay any RockResort (or other properties in Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Northstar) and get a free night and a $50 gift card. Minimum stay varies, but book by January 31 and travel before April 30. More details here, or call 866-614-7625.

• Another free night. Stay 4 or 7 nights at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek and get your last night free, plus—here’s the kicker—lift tickets for 2 for your entire say. Get the details here.

40% off. Stay at one of the Destination Hotels & Resorts properties, like the Vail Cascade or The Gant, and get up to 40% off some weeks. You just have to be a member of the Destination Delivers program (it’s free).

• 30% off. The Antlers at Vail is offering 30% off during the week of January 28 – February 5 with a 3-night minimum. And yes, this one also throws in a two-day lift ticket. Get the skinny here.

Rich Beattie is the executive digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Video from Rex Lint on Vimeo/Courtesy of Vail Resorts

Just Back: Killington, Vermont

201201-b-beerjpg

As a professed snow snob I scoffed when a group of friends recently proposed a ski weekend in Killington, Vermont. It’s hard to get excited about mountains that look more like the hills I used to sled down as a kid in Salt Lake City than the exhilarating, death-defying declines that tattoo the Rocky Mountains. When you grow up within an hour of seven world-class ski resorts you tend to develop a cavalier attitude about the prospects of cleaving down a worn, icy tilt and paying good money for it. So I opted to head for this quaint northeastern burg sans my snowboard. Half the fun of a ski vacation anyway is exploring the town, enjoying the fresh air, eating at great restaurants, and plunging into the après ski scene.

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TODAY Show: Winter Getaways

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

From Canadian ice hotels to Vermont sleigh rides, Digital Projects Editor Sarah Spagnolo shares her favorite tips for snowy getaways right now.

Vacationist Hotel Deals: Lake Tahoe + St. Lucia

201201-b-vacationist-plump-jack-innjpgThis winter may be Lake Tahoe’s best yet, thanks to a slew of new restaurants, just-opened trails, and adventurous snowcat tours to back-country skiing. A bonus? You can access all 6,000 mountain acres from the 56-room PlumpJack, at the base of Squaw Valley, for less than $130 a night when you book with Vacationist. Or, for those who want to leave the snow behind, there's up to 33 percent off stays at St. Lucia’s Jade Mountain, where the weather is so warm that suites are built without a fourth wall—for unobstructed views of the sea.

Still not a member? Click here to join.

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5 High-Speed Ski Lifts to Check Out This Season

ski lift

These new high-speed chairlifts shave minutes off those mountain rides—which means more time going down than up.

Resort: Mount Snow, Vermont
New Lift: Bluebird Express
Vertical Feet: 1,608
Duration: 7 minutes
Time Savings: 7 minutes

Resort: Bergbahn AG Kitzbühel, Austria
New Lift: Resterhöhe
Vertical Feet: 1,657
Duration: 5:45 minutes
Time Savings: 8 minutes

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Third Night Free at Top NYC Hotels

trump soho

Mayor Mike Bloomberg recently announced that New York City played host to a record 50 million visitors this past year. Seems like we can expect a few more in 2012: NYC & Company, the official tourism board for our fair Gotham, has rallied some extraordinary big-name luxury hotels to participate in their wintertime Third Night Promotion, where you get one free night for every three-night stay.

The list of  ‘signature collection’ properties hosting this winter sale includes both elegant, storied hotels and see-and-be-seen hip newcomers. Choosing just one may be the biggest challenge of your stay:

The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel
The Chatwal New York
Hôtel Plaza Athénée New York
Jumeirah Essex House
Loews Regency Hotel
The London NYC
Mandarin Oriental, New York
The New York Palace
The Peninsula New York
The Pierre
The Plaza Hotel
The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park
The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park
The St. Regis New York
The Setai Fifth Avenue
The Sherry-Netherland
The Surrey
Trump International Hotel & Tower
Trump SoHo New York
The Waldorf Towers

As one who regularly watches these hotels for affordable offers, I can tell you that an opportunity to save 33% doesn’t come along very often. I can also guarantee that a visit to NYC this winter will be a memorable one. Whether you take the budget route of window-shopping, people-watching, and street food, or use those savings to indulge in some of the thrilling culture, cuisine, and commerce of the city—either way, you’ll leave already planning your next visit.

Ritz-Carlton Central Park

Top photo courtesy of Trump Soho; bottom photo of the Ritz-Carlton, Central Park © Kelly Kollar.

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Winter 2012 Ski Resort News

Campiglio Val Rendena Val di Sole ski trail

The 2011–12 season ushers in major improvements at these ski resorts.

Northstar California Resort, California
The News: Thanks to a $30 million investment, the mountain welcomes additional trails, a high-speed quad lift, a new 500-seat on-mountain restaurant—plus a 22-foot halfpipe designed by Shaun White. 5001 Northstar Dr., Truckee; 800/466-6784; one-day pass from $85.

Big Sky, Montana
The News: The remodeled, slopeside Solace Spa & Salon expands its treatment rooms and salon services, and Andesite Mountain adds 20-plus gladed acres. 1 Lone Mountain Trail, Big Sky; 800/548-4486; one-day pass $84.

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