Grading on a Carve
"We wanted to know where we could ski that was environmentally friendly," says Jeff Berman of the Ski Area Citizens' Coalition, a Durango, ColoradoÐed group whose annual report card rates 57 Western ski resorts on their environmental sustainability. Resorts are graded in 11 categories, from habitat conservation to real estate development policies. According to the group's second report card, released last fall, Utah's Sundance Ski Resort, which recycles, offers discounts to carpoolers, and has curbed ridgeline development, is one of only eight ski areas to earn an A (other A players: Idaho's Sun Valley and Colorado's Aspen Mountain). On the other hand, 20 ski areas were slammed with D's and F's. The overall GPA of the 57 resorts? C minus. To check your favorite mountain's ranking, visit www.skiareacitizens.com.
Surfline (www.surfline.com), launched in 1995 to bring Californians free, up-to-the-minute surf reports, and home now to 56 webcams broadcasting real-time wave conditions at beaches worldwide, continues to break new ground. Its latest, subscribers-only feature ($30 per month) is a surf-prediction computer called LOLA. Type in the name of one of 40 selected beaches and LOLA crunches data on wave heights and wind speed gathered from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Within seconds you'll know whether over the next five days your surf spot will be blessed by barrels or cursed with ankle slappers.
Despite closing 15 of its 120 resorts this winter thanks to a turbulent travel market, in May Club Med is opening its first Oyyo, a bare-bones version of the French resort chain's fully catered experience, on 74 acres of scorching Mediterranean beach in Békalta, Tunisia. Designed to lure hip twentysomethings into the Club Med franchise, the new resort will offer one-week vacations for just $283 per person, including round-trip airfare from Paris. (A one-week stay at Club Med's popular Portugal resort Dal Balaia, in contrast, goes for $822 per person). Don't expect luxury: Oyyo guests stay in basic wooden bungalows and shower in communal washhouses. When not nursing hangovers (alcohol, by the way, is not included in the price), hedonists can windsurf, snorkel, and hike along Tunisia's rocky coastor get down in a 4,500-square-foot disco. Depending on the Tunisian resort's success, ten more Oyyos are scheduled to open within a year. Reservations will be accepted in late February; call Club Med at 800-932-2582.
New Trip: Ciclismo Classico's Tuscan Training
Practice your pack-riding skills alongside professional Italian racers like Paolo Bettini, Francesco Casagrande, and Mario Cipollini. From your home base, a renovated 14th-century farmhouse in the village of Reggello, 18 miles east of Florence, you'll ride up to 60 miles a day through gently rolling vineyards and over grueling passes in Tuscany's 2,000-foot Prato Maugno Mountains. Daily clinics in hill climbing and descending sharpen your skills; hearty meals (think wild porcini mushrooms, ricotta-stuffed ravioli, gelato, and tall bottles of local Chianti) will keep you flush with la dolce vita. Offered April 20, April 27, and May 25, the seven-day trip costs $2,495 per person, including seven nights' accommodations, dinners, and van support (airfare to Florence is not included). Bring your own bike or rent an Italian 21-speed for $155. Call Ciclismo Classico at 800-866-7314 or visit www.ciclismoclassico.com.
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