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TODAY Show Video: 5 Great Winter Getaways

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Whether you want to ski or swim, we have some fun and affordable ideas for your getaway this season.

Caribbean Beach: Martinique
Stay: Plein Soleil
Located 25 minutes from the airport, this chic collection of airy villas faces Thalemont Bay; the pool overlooks the inlet, too. The pretty, soft-white bedrooms here have linen-draped chaise lounges and Koi fish live in the ponds on the terrace. Dine at the open-air restaurant for spicy crab farci and local fruits marinated in mint. American Airlines offers connecting service through San Juan, Puerto Rico from many U.S. gateways. Doubles from $219/night.

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6 Great Après-Ski Traditions Around North America

Basecamp

After an invigorating day on the slopes, who doesn’t love a good après-ski drink or bite? Each of these hotels takes the tradition to a whole new level, with fun activities and tasty tipples.

The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe has a “marshmologist” on hand every evening leading the Art of the S’more program. The whole family learns how to roast the perfect marshmallow, and adults can enjoy the delicious S’moretini. On the other side of Lake Tahoe, newcomer Basecamp (pictured) offers its guests plenty of beer pairing options, including beer and beef stew, as well as the extremely popular beer and croute au fromage (a hearty Swiss dish of melted cheese over toast). Yes please.

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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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