Tag archives for winter

You don’t “drive” a dogsled. You simply hold on tight and try to not fall off. My team of Alaskan huskies only have one speed—forward, and as a dabbling amateur musher, I only have one function—to slow us down. I jump on the rubber drag pad whenever we rocket down steep slopes, or those moments…

Alaska in Winter

In case you didn’t notice, I’ve been on vacation. Last year offered some incredible adventures, but I am glad for this time at home to recharge my batteries and prepare for upcoming travel thrills.  Nevertheless, it’s hard for me to sit still for too long, and so I embarked on a little vacation journey to…

‘Tis the season of snowy nights and short days, log fires and sleigh rides. It’s also the season of ice storms and slush piles and seasonal affective disorder—in other words, the perfect time to escape to somewhere else. This year, National Geographic celebrated all Four Seasons of Travel with our book by the same name.…

It began snowing sideways after midnight, and by dawn, the world was even whiter than the day before. Two inches of new snow lay on the ground, slopped upon the roofs and trees and mailboxes—even the dogs in the street shook their snowy dreadlocked fur and then playfully tumbled back into the drifts. My own…

Sixty-six below zero. That’s the coldest temperature ever recorded in Yellowstone: -66ºF at Madison, near the park’s west entrance at West Yellowstone, Montana. How cold is that? Cold enough to break the thermometer that made the measurement back in 1933. It was fitting then, that we should stop at this momentous site for a break…

I love toponyms (place names), because they reveal so much—and yet so little—about the places they are meant to typify. It was snowing in Minneapolis (Sioux Mni = “water”; Greek polis = “city”) when I boarded a flight for Kalispell, and briefly imagined that Kalispell was the name of some flaxen-haired, rose-lipped pioneer beauty in…

“You’ve come at the wrong time.” This is what everyone tells me. They don’t say, “Welcome to Shetland!” Instead they say, “It’s such a pity you came right now, in January.” Then, like an answering machine instructing you to call back later, they tell me to come back in summer. Some insist that June is…

Snø

There’s nothing quite like a snowstorm in June, which is what I encountered as  I hiked to the top of  Blåfjell (“blue mountain”) high above Geirgangerfjord in western Norway. Though my phone kept reminding me that it was indeed summer, but the snow and wind and near white-out conditions made me think I was wending…

Digital Skiing

“104 kilometers per hour? There’s no way that can be right.” My ski instructor was incredulous, shaking her head even after I showed her proof on the chairlift — with my phone.That morning I had downloaded the Whistler Blackcomb LIVE app for iPhone, which GPS tracks your entire ski path for the day, measures vertical…

Skiing With Nancy

“Press on your right foot when you wanna go left . . . and press on your left foot when you wanna go right.” Such are the basics of skiing as taught to me by Olympic gold medalist Nancy Greene, though she gives proper credit where it’s due. “A six-year-old taught me that principle,” she…

Powder Pilgrims

Matt tries to kill me before I’ve even digested my breakfast. Our first run of the day is a pole-gripping black diamond that drops through the trees and into a channel of menacing moguls. I clench a smile and skid my way downhill, tumbling once or twice but still making it alive. “You’ve got good…

Dogpowered

Of all the many ways I’ve traveled in the world, dogsled is by far the most exuberant mode of transportation I have experienced. To have eight eager, happy dogs all yipping, yapping, and barking with excitement is thrilling — and that’s before they take off running across the snow, pulling you behind them. At times…

I flew into Calgary yesterday afternoon and then caught the first bus to Banff. The 90-minute drive starts out straight, flat, brown, and boring–but soon, the bare white wheat fields ripple into true hills that roll into the western distance and its promise of great mountains. And then, before you have time to guess when…