Archive for January, 2017

NY Times Travel Show is Place to Go for Family Travel Ideas; Admission Free for Kids

January 26, 2017
2014 New York Times Travel Show

Culture of the world comes to New York’s Javits Center for the New York Times Travel Show, Jan. 28 & 29 © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The 2017 New York Times Travel Show will feature numerous presentations for attendees interested in activities for younger travelers. On Saturday (1/28) and Sunday (1/29), admission for children (18 and under) is free.

In its 14th year, the Travel Show doors open to the public on Saturday and Sunday (Jan. 28-29) for two days of on-site deals and offers, travel seminars, tips from professionals at Meet the Experts programs, stage performances, and other features.

The Travel Show is also presenting a new feature, the Family Travel Pavilion, a dedicated area divided into exhibit booth space, a Presentation stage and a Kids demonstration area, where kids can experience culinary classes, arts & crafts projects, face painting and travel-related activities. The pavilion will also showcase leading players in the Family travel space, including lodges, resorts, destinations, cruise lines and dude ranches.

Some of presentations of the Family Travel Pavilion include:

  • Ross Levi, Vice President of I LOVE NY, who will share top destinations for families to travel within the state of New York.
  • Learn about the hidden gems and can’t-miss experiences of Southcentral Alaska.
  • Lebanese cuisine culinary star and PBS personality Julie Taboulie takes kids on a creative, colorful and culinary exploration of fresh flavors from the Finger Lakes region, presented by Visit Syracuse. Book signing to follow.
  • Taste the Dumplings Before You Travel: Travel to Ukraine welcomes participants and their families to discover varenyky — a Ukrainian traditional dish — presented by Veselka restaurant located in N.Y.C.’s East Village. Book signing to follow.
  • Sally Black, acclaimed author and owner of Vacation Kids Travel Agency, will provide insights on how travel agents can really help parents plan the ultimate family getaway.
  • How to plan an Amazon Family Adventure: From upscale river cruises to rustic lodges, International Expeditions’ experts discuss options to reconnect with nature in the Amazon rain forest.
  • Ranjana Armstrong, Founder of nugget.travel, a community of family explorers making aspirational trips achievable and ordinary trips more enjoyable, will provide hacks on how to successfully travel with children.
  • “Getting Around Family Travel Roadblocks: Top Challenges Keeping Families from Traveling — and How to Overcome Them.” Experts will share personal insights and tips about how to overcome those challenges for families with diverse interests, budgets, desires and needs.
  • Fresh From Florida: Chef Justin Timineri provides culinary travel tips for families that want to make better food choices while vacationing in the Sunshine State — and invites participants to enjoy a fun, fresh and kid-centric demonstration and tasting.
  • Georgia Aquarium: Over 10 Years of Awe-Inspiring Wonder: Learn about Georgia Aquarium, their programs, events and exhibits and receive giveaways.
  • Kitchen Talk on L.G.B.T. Family Travel: Join celebrity chef Art Smith and his daughter, Zuky Francis Smith Salgueiro in the kitchen for tips on baking their favorite family chocolate cake — along with tips on L.G.B.T. family travel from Karen L. Christensen, the deputy assistant secretary for Overseas Citizens Services at the U.S. Department of State.

Some additional highlights at this year’s Show include a “Selfie Station” hosted by the Georgia Aquarium, where children can snap a picture under the sea; a LEGO®-building contest for kids under twelve, hosted by MSC Cruises; and the “Discover Costa Rica Challenge,” where participants can download an online program for activities and games throughout the Travel Show’s Kids Activity Zone, hosted by Il Viaggio Travel.

The New York Times Travel Show is proud to announce the Family Travel Association is an Industry Sponsor of the inaugural Family Travel Pavilion at the 2017 Show.

The Travel Show is the largest and longest-running trade and consumer travel show in North America, featuring the Travel Industry Conference, Consumer Seminars, and an interactive Exhibition including more than 500 exhibitors from Africa, Asia, Australia/South Pacific, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, Mexico and the United States.  In addition to discounts and special offers, the show provides educational seminars and live entertainment for families, individuals, couples and seniors.  Join the conversation and follow @NYTTravelShow for the latest Travel Show news.

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NYS To Spend $20 Million on Major Upgrades at Gore, Whiteface Mountains

January 26, 2017
Whiteface Mountain, Lake Placid, NY is so have millions of dollars in upgrades © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Whiteface Mountain, Lake Placid, NY is so have millions of dollars in upgrades © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

New York State will invest up to $20 million for major upgrades at Whiteface and Gore Mountains to attract more visitors and build on the North Country’s bourgeoning winter tourism industry. The investments will enhance the current facilities at Gore and Whiteface Mountains and create state-of-the art skiing, lodging, dining and retail opportunities as well as year-round activities. The project will be the first major upgrade at both Whiteface and Gore in 30 years and will develop opportunities to increase off-season revenue, while making these facilities more competitive with other resorts around the world.

“Winter tourism is a key driver of the North Country economy and we have made it a top priority to leverage natural assets in the region to increase visitors, create jobs and spur economic growth,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “New York State has Olympic-caliber assets and world-class skiing, but the facilities at Gore and Whiteface are outdated and sub-par. This investment will transform these resorts into year-round, world-class skiing destinations, and attract new skiers and snowboarders from around the globe.”

The investment will build on the current facilities at the mountains and create an unparalleled tourism destination for visitors in the North Country. In addition, it will help expand opportunities for local small businesses in the surrounding areas and help promote the state’s vast winter recreational opportunities. This investment will leverage up to $80 million in private funding to add additional amenities and retail options for guests. The $20 million for the upgrades at Whiteface and Gore is in addition to $10 million the state is providing to the Olympic Regional Development Authority as part of the 2017-18 FY budget.

Modern day ski resorts are shifting their primary functions from just purely ski and snowboarding based facilities to ones that provide upscale amenities, conveniences and year round attractions. Substantial improvements to the day lodge facilities at both Gore and Whiteface Mountains will make them competitive with other world resorts and able to meet ever-changing resort needs.

Improvements to the Whiteface Mountain Ski facility would encourage growth and investment in nearby Wilmington and other surrounding areas thereby increasing year-round visitation.

The upgrades at Whiteface include:

  • Expanding the Bear Den Lodge and adding a state-of-the-art learning center, bar and restaurant;
  • Expanding and renovating the Adirondack Base Lodge and parking lot;
  • Installing a line connecting the Bear Den Learning Center area to the Mid Station;
  • Building one of the longest zip lines in North America; and
  • Building the longest mountain coaster in the United States.

Improvements to Gore facilities would significantly increase revenue opportunities and growth internally and for private investors. Enhancing this market reach will make Gore to a more competitive experience.

Snowboarding at Gore Mountain. Improvements include restoring the original 1967 gondola unloading station into a Gore summit warming facility and overlook © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Snowboarding at Gore Mountain. Improvements include restoring the original 1967 gondola unloading station into a Gore summit warming facility and overlook © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The upgrades at Gore include:

  • Expanding seating capacity and modernizing the Saddle Lodge’s facilities and infrastructure;
  • Adding a third story to the Base Lodge – building corporate meeting room space, additional seating and customer amenities, and expanding the rental shop in the Northwoods Lodge; and
  • Restoring the original 1967 gondola unloading station into a Gore summit warming facility and overlook.

When comparing Whiteface and Gore to other competitive North American ski resorts including Killington, both facilities fall short in providing world-class amenities and year-round activities. Making improvements at these mountains will drive increased revenue for the facilities and the surrounding communities and will ultimately expand economic growth and investment opportunities. It will also make unparalleled skiing and winter recreation opportunities more accessible to visitors from New York City and downstate regions closer than other skiing locations throughout the northeast.

Economic Impact of Tourism in New York
Tourism is an economic driver for New York State, and especially important in Upstate. In 2015, the tourism industry generated a total economic impact of $102 billion – an all-time high for the state. Winter tourism at Whiteface and Gore Mountains accounts for more than $100 million in economic impact each year in the North Country.

Last week, the Governor also unveiled a new marketing campaign designed to increase visitors and generate interest in New York State’s top winter tourism attractions and destinations. New York will host its annual Free Snowmobiling Weekend for all out-of-state and Canadian snowmobilers from Friday, February 3, through Sunday, February 5, 2017. The state’s snowmobiling community generates a total economic impact of approximately $868 million, according to a 2011 study by the State University at Potsdam.
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Learn to Ski or Ride at Liftopia’s Top-Rated Beginner-Friendly Ski Areas

January 6, 2017
vt-ski-smuggs-122610_58e2-c-karen-rubin

Smugglers Notch, Vermont, came in #7 for Best Family resorts and #10 for Top Beginner Friendly in the Northeast on Liftopia’s Best in Snow Awards list © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, and Liftopia, which claims to be the largest online and mobile marketplace for lift tickets and other mountain activities, has compiled a list of the top beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas across North America that are ideal for those looking to learn one of winter’s signature sports.

This list is part of Liftopia’s Best in Snow Awards, honoring North America’s most beloved ski areas. The awards, unveiled last week, feature winners across five regions and seven categories (including Beginner-Friendly and Family-Friendly) that Liftopia customers said would be most useful in helping them make the most informed decisions when choosing where to ski or snowboard, regardless of ski area size. You can find the complete list of winners along with methodology here: https://bestinsnow.liftopia.com/#/.

Some highlights:

West Coast:  California has the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the West, including Tahoe Donner (first place in the family-friendly category), June, Boreal, Bear Valley, Snow Valley, Homewood, Donner Ski Ranch, Mammoth, Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows and Sierra-At-Tahoe. Anthony Lakes (OR) is the #1 beginner-friendly ski area in the region.

Northeast: Bretton Woods is the #1 beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski area in the region. In addition to Bretton Woods, New Hampshire has the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the Northeast, including King Pine, Cranmore, Black Mountain, Pats Peak, Ragged and Attitash.

High West: Utah is home to the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the High West, including Eagle Point (#1 Beginner-Friendly Ski Area), Sundance, Brighton, Powder, Alta, Solitude and Brian Head. In the Family Friendly category, Sipapu, NM came in #1 in the region.

Midwest: Michigan ski areas reign supreme in the Midwest, with the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas including Crystal Mountain (first place in both categories), Shanty Creek, Boyne Highlands, Caberfae, Nubs Nob and Boyne Mountain.

Southeast: West Virginia has the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the Southeast, with Canaan Valley the number one Beginner Friendly and Family Friendly Ski Area in the region. Other winners include Snowshoe, Timberline Four Seasons and Winterplace.

Liftopia operates the largest online and mobile marketplace and resort technology platform serving the ski and mountain activity industry. Skiers and riders can purchase lift tickets, equipment rentals, meal vouchers and more from more than 250 ski areas in North America on Liftopia.com and via the Liftopia mobile app, with savings of up to 85% off walk-up window rates when purchased in advance. Founded in 2005, Liftopia is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by leading institutional and angel investors. Visit the Liftopia blog or follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.

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Magic Mountain, Crystal Mountain, Mad River Glen Get Top Spots in Liftopia’s First-Ever ‘Best in Snow’ Awards

January 6, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO– Liftopia, the largest online and mobile marketplace for lift tickets and other mountain activities, unveiled its first-ever 2016-17 Best in Snow Awards honoring the most beloved ski areas in North America. Unlike other awards, the 2016-17 Best in Snow Awards, is the only ranking that incorporates the largest dataset in the industry combined with feedback from thousands of skiers and snowboarders to determine ski areas they are most passionate about in North America.

The 2016-17 Best in Snow Awards, Powered By Liftopia, features winners across seven categories that Liftopia customers identified as most useful for choosing where to ski or snowboard, regardless of ski area size. These categories include Beginner-Friendly, Most Challenging, Family-Friendly, Best Snow Consistency and Quality, Least Crowded, and Best Value in addition to overall Best in Snow. Winners were compiled in five different regions: Northeast, West Coast, High West, Southeast and Midwest.

Magic Mountain in Vermont took the top spot as Overall Best in Snow winner in North America, with customers saying it’s “the best kept secret in the Northeast” and “a true skier’s mountain” that is “steeped in tradition” and “never overcrowded” with “awesome terrain,” “challenging runs,” and “the best staff in the business.” Crystal Mountain in Michigan, coming in second, received raves for their “great atmosphere,” “lifts and runs are fun and varied,” “people are very friendly” and “they’re always doing improvements at the resort.” Liftopia customers love the terrain at third place Mad River Glen in Vermont, saying “Nothing compares to the challenge of Northeast skiing and Mad River Glen. It is simply the best if you are up for it.”

The remaining Overall Best in Snow winners include Alta, Utah (#4); Jay Peak, Vt. (#5); Bretton Woods, N.H. (#6); Wildcat Mountain, N.H. (#7); Powder Mountain, Utah (#8); Snowbird, Utah (#9); and Sugarloaf, Maine (#10). Bretton Woods and Crystal Mountain took top spots as Beginner- and Family-Friendly Ski Areas as well as Ski Areas With the Best Snow Consistency and Quality in their respective regions (Northeast and Midwest); Magic Mountain is the Most Challenging Ski Area in the Northeast; Alta has the Best Snow Consistency and Quality in the High West; and Powder Mountain offers the Best Value in the High West.

“For years people have told us they wanted a ranking system that wasn’t based simply on which resorts were the biggest or relied on a handful of ‘expert’ opinions or advertising dollars. They want to find their next favorite ski area and to know which resorts are most beloved by other skiers and boarders,” said Evan Reece, co-founder and CEO of Liftopia. “We crafted the Best in Snow Awards with details from a consumer survey and combined the results with our proprietary data to uncover the ski areas people love most. We are excited that the findings show what we already believed to be true: consumers do have amazing passion for ski areas of all sizes.”

Methodology

To compile the 2016-17 Best in Snow Awards, Liftopia surveyed their customers to measure their enthusiasm on specific aspects of their favorite resorts such as family friendliness, challenging terrain, crowds, and snow consistency and quality. Respondents took into consideration criteria such as snow quality and conditions, grooming, accessibility, terrain variety and difficulty, vertical drop, learn to ski and snowboard programs, staff and instructors, resort size, crowds and lift lines, accessibility of lifts and beginner terrain, off-slope activities, the surrounding community, and cost of lift tickets, rentals and programs, among others. More than 10,000 responses were then weighted with a proprietary algorithm based on Liftopia’s exclusive dataset that includes skier and snowboarder visits annually, acreage, uphill capacity and average true cost of skiing to surface the best ski areas overall, across seven categories and five regions, based on what matters most to skiers and snowboarders.

Winners for the Overall Best in Snow, Beginner Friendly Ski Areas, Most Challenging Ski Areas, Family Friendly Ski Areas and Ski Areas with the Best Snow Consistency and Quality categories were determined by the total number of votes from survey participants for their favorite resorts in each category, normalized by skier and snowboarder visits annually. Winners for the Least Crowded Ski Areas category were determined by total number of skier and snowboarder visits annually divided by skiable acreage as well as participant feedback and votes on the least crowded ski area. Winners for the Ski Areas with the Best Value category were determined by total number of votes for ski area with the best value, normalized by skier and snowboarder visits annually and the average true cost of skiing based on effective ticket prices per resort, including ticket window, advance purchase and season pass data.

Complete List of 2016-17 Best in Snow Awards, Powered By Liftopia: The winning ski areas in each category and region can be found by visiting http://bestinsnow.liftopia.com/

About Liftopia

Liftopia operates the largest online and mobile marketplace and resort technology platform serving the ski and mountain activity industry. Skiers and riders can purchase lift tickets, equipment rentals, meal vouchers and more from more than 250 ski areas in North America on Liftopia.com and via the Liftopia mobile app, with savings of up to 85% off walk-up window rates when purchased in advance. Founded in 2005, Liftopia is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by leading institutional and angel investors. Visit the Liftopia blog or follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.

For more travel features visit:

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