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If you thought Yellowstone National Park was only a place to visit in the summer months (along with throngs of tourists) think again.
An unexpected, but thrilling time to take a tour would be in the winter, and especially if you take advantage of Spring Creek Ranch’s new Winter Wildlife Safari program.
You’ll still get to see Old Faithful erupt, but due to lower temps (yes, it does get cold) the geyser bursts will be bigger than ever—and you’ll share the sight with fewer people. Then there’s the second best reason to come during the December-March season—riding around Yellowstone in a snowcoach for animal watching.
Celebrity Chefs / Michael Mina / Four Seasons Hotels / Jackson Hole Hotels / Wyoming Hotels / Luxury Hotels / → All Tags
We had the pleasure of being invited to the recent Savor Borgata Event in Atlantic City where chefs Bobby Flay, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Mina, Geoffrey Zakarian and others were there presenting food demos and a huge culinary showcase for a crowd we were delighted to see come out in droves to support the city just a week after Hurricane Sandy hit.
We were lucky enough to spend a few minutes interviewing some of the chefs. We talked about some of their holiday plans, and more importantly what’s on their hotel horizon.
Today we recount our talk with superstar, but super humble Michael Mina, who not only has the Seablue restaurant at the Borgata, but has just opened a new bar and grill at the Four Seasons Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
HotelChatter: We've followed you through LA and are in love with your restaurants across the country, where will you be branching out to now?
Michael Mina: Well, I just opened three restaurants in Baltimore at the Four Seasons, and on December 14th, we'll be opening at the Four Seasons in Jackson Hole. That's going to be called Handle Bar. It's going to be a bar and pub, serving burgers, sausages, chili--lots of great food.
HC: Elk sausage? Is that something you've worked with before? How did you research the ingredients for your new menu?
MM: The concept is a natural fit for the environment. It's a bar, and it's a pub. We're just trying to elevate the quality of fun bar snacks by doing a lot of fun twists on classics and using a lot of great products and cooking techniques. We'll do great plates where we actually make the cheese for the cheese sauce, for instance, taking into account our location and the challenges it brings.
Nice herd! And you may see one just like it on the winter wildlife safari tour offered at Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole
Christmas is around the corner, ski resorts are starting to tout first snows, and you better believe it's already starting to fall. It's official: ski season has begun! We've already shared some of the best early-bird ski package deals, but with so many ski deals and options flying around, how to make heads or tails of where to go first? We'll make this easy; start with the Four Seasons Resorts Jackson Hole. And not just because it offers some of the best ski terrain ever seen thus far out its back door at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, but also because the winter adventure doesn't stop at ski and snowboard.
Though it does indeed start there, and so shall we. Following three years of recent enhancements and additions to the slopes at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort -- a ski destination best known for its challenging terrain -- the mountain now brings the total percentage of intermediate ski terrain from 20% to 40%. Four Seasons Jackson Hole may just be the perfect place to get your beginner's feet wet, with a ski-in ski-out base that backs right up to both the majority of Jackson Hole's beginner terrain. When you're ready to move up, ride the new gondola -- also right behind Four Seasons -- directly to the beautiful new intermediate terrain.
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Recent snowfall in Colorado and Utah have kicked off an early ski season sparking a storm of deals and packages from resorts across the country. It's not uncommon to see early-bird discounts this time of year, but it appears there's an extra bit of excitement after last year's flop of a season.
It seems every mountain resort imaginable is offering some sort of bargain, whether it's ski and stay discounts, kids ski free, or complimentary hotel nights, so check around before checking in.
Here’s a sampling of some of the best deals from major areas in the US and a few from afar:
Winter Park, Colorado: This local favorite owned by the city of Denver rewards guests who book a five-night stay ($169/night) at the Vintage Hotel before December 12th with a free season pass. The resort puts icing on the cake with a snow guarantee - previously booked nights can be rescheduled if snow conditions are not up to your liking.
Hotel lobby design is something that hoteliers have been focusing on to wow guests upon first impressions. Grand lobbies are nothing new and the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park is no exception. Walking into the log cabin lodge certainly elicits oohs and ahhs and might cause some stick necks from gazing upwards. While the lobby is quite impressive, the awe inspiring design isn't left just for the lobby. The uniqueness and 'wild west' feel is carried through the guest rooms, dining room, and gift shop.
The Inn is smack in the middle of Yellowstone's most visited geothermal attraction, Old Faithful. The accommodation is as consistent as the geyser since it has been open for business since 1904, when it boasted steam heat and electric lighting. It has seen almost as much as the surrounding land, by successfully dodging forest fires, earthquakes and the throngs of tourists coming to admire the timber hotel.
Chalk it up to pre-Olympics madness, or the public's general fascination of anything, like, "totally extreme!" Snow sports like Heli-Skiing, which entails being dropped onto the slopes via helicopter, are popular among the adventure-seeking set. It's certainly not for novices or the faint of heart—and in the case of a package being offered by The Four Seasons Jackson Hole, the faint of wallet, either.
"Recommended for strong intermediate through expert skiers," the Four Seasons is holding a three-day, four-night How to Heli-Camp from February 3-7, 2010 wherein participants will be educated on safety standards and essential Heli-Skiing techniques. The payoff will be the chance to put what you've learned to the test on "untouched snow."
The confusingly named Rusty Parrot Lodge & Spa (Who ever heard of a lodge being named for a tropical bird? In Wyoming?) is welcoming the new Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Tram, an engineering feet years in the making:
Two years in construction, the new tram is one of the most expensive and technically challenging aerial trams in the U.S. Twice the size of the original, the new tram will carry 100 passengers and cover 4,139 vertical feet--the longest continual vertical rise for a ski lift in North America--in nine minutes to the crest of the Tetons where untracked powder awaits.
Right then. A ten-minute ride scaling a mountain so that you can plummit down it. Those of us with a fear of heights probably won't be skiing. But those of you who get excited about this sort of thing will want to hit up the Rusty Parrot because, get this, they are giving you free ski rental. FREE!
We knew there was something fun in Wyoming! Get this: a cool hotel has popped up in Cody, Wyoming and features six themed suites. Among them: Annie Oakley and Lewis & Clarke.
The Cody, whose walls are made with lumber taken from planks that once surrounded Old Faithful, is also hardcore eco-conscious. Says the owner:
We have no paper products in the hotel except for tissue paper and that is biodegradable. Our breakfast has cloth napkins, china, and glass wear. So we're washing a lot of dishes.
You know, we might consider going totally paperless if we were to stay in the Lewis and Clark room. When in Rome, do as the Romans do ... and when in a themed room, you might as well apply the theme to your -- okay, we're done.
The new Hotel Terra Jackson Hole officially opens on January 29, and to celebrate the green hotel's offering up a "Ski Green" package that includes a room and lift tickets for two, starting at $303 a night.
With that, you'll get a warm fuzzy feeling for staying in a hotel that goes way beyond not washing the towels every night. The bed is 100 percent natural as are the bath amenities, there are recycling bins in-room, heating is via an in-floor system to reduce energy waste and the coffee set up offers fair trade organic brews.
The Jackson Hole property is the first in a planned chain of Terra Resorts, all of which aim to provide boutique amenities (whatever that means) while also being green enough to score LEED certification. But don't hold your breath for a massive expansion: Terra is shooting to open just 12-15 new hotels in the next seven years.