Rocky Mountain Recession Special

Vail, Colorado

OUTFITTED: KITEBOARD THE OUTER BANKS

They say you should try everything once—even kiteboarding. Enter the Kittyhawk Kites Kiteboarding Resort (nice alliteration!), an all-inclusive campus in Nags Head, North Carolina. During a three-hour course, instructors teach rigging, landings, and how to alter a kite's "power stroke." Spend day two testing out your new skills on 395 square miles of beginner-friendly Atlantic shallows accessible from your doorstep. $500 per person for two days, food and lodging included; March–November; kittyhawk.com

You probably know Vail as a sprawling ski resort with a surplus of fur. But in summer the town transforms into an affordable multi­sport epicenter, thanks to steep off-season discounts in glitzy hotels. Take the Mountain Haus, which hacks its prices from $415 to $176. On Saturday, ride the gondola up Vail Mountain to charge on 50 miles of singletrack (bring your own bike). Catch the 10 A.M. gondola to beat afternoon thunderstorms. When the rains come, gorge on a 14-inch "Recession Buster" sub at La Bottega. The next day, downshift and stroll the farmers' market. Highlight: the $7 brat at the Alpenrose Too restaurant's stand.

EXPENSE REPORT Two nights at the Mountain Haus (mountainhaus.com): $352. Two breakfast sandwiches at Loaded Joe's Coffeehouse (970-479-2883): $12. Two gondola passes: $50. Two Recession Buster subs (labottegavail.com): $20. Two brats (970-476-8899): $14. Total: $448

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