Outside Online Archives

May 2, 2004
Outside
Outside Magazine
Destinations, November 1998

Feast on This!
Five great alternatives to gorging


By Jake Brooks


To most of us, Thanksgiving can be boiled down to the three Fs: family, food, and football, not always in that order. But lest we forget that the day was originally intended to celebrate the bounty of our land — and not the flair of Deion's touchdown dance — a number of sporting locales would like to lure you back outdoors with prime shoulder-season deals. Here are five spots where you can trade forks for snowshoes or channel-surfing for the real thing. There is, however, one small caveat: Nobody's promising that the late-autumn weather will cooperate.


The Place: Crested Butte, Colorado

The Sports: Skiing, snowboarding

The Deal: Free lift tickets 11/20-12/19

The Catch: Over Thanksgiving weekends past, 9,000-plus freeloaders have dropped in, so this year only those who've booked a hotel room in the Crested Butte area qualify for the free pass.

Contact: Crested Butte Vacations, 800-754-3733


The Place: Pittsfield, Vermont

The Sports: Hiking and biking (or cross-country skiing)

The Deal: A two-night package at the snug Pittsfield Inn is $120 per person, including meals.

The Catch: You never know what it's going to be in late-November Vermont — snow or mud — so be flexible and bring gear appropriate for either circumstance.

Contact: The Pittsfield Inn, 802-746-8943


The Place: St. Lucia, West Indies

The Sports: Diving, snorkeling

The Deal: Five nights' lodging at the Jalousie Hilton, including all meals, six dives, and equipment, for $1,011 per person.

The Catch: Caribbean airfares start rising in November, the fringe of the islands' busy winter season, so you'll want to book early.

Contact: Jalousie Hilton, 888-744-5256


The Place: Gunflint Trail, Minnesota

The Sports: Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, canoeing

The Deal: The trail's classiest digs cut rates by 25 percent: Bearskin Lodge cabins are $142 per night; four-night packages at the Gunflint Lodge start at $375 per person.

The Catch: If the icy edge-of-Lake Superior winter kicks in a little early this year, brrr.

Contact: Bearskin Lodge, 800-338-4170; Gunflint Lodge, 800-328-3325


The Place: Maui, Hawaii

The Sports: You name it

The Deal: $216 a night at the swank, waterfront Aston Wailea Resort gets you breakfast, a room upgrade, and a fifth night free (normal rates: $259). Plus, gratis rental aqua-toys aplenty.

The Catch: $216 a night is still, you know, $216 a night.

Contact: Aston Wailea Resort, 800-367-2960

Illustration by J.D. King

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