Dean Cummings H20 Heli Guides
Anybody who's read Jack London knows that Alaska is for men. Mountain men. Dean Cummings knows this, too. That's why Dean's H20 Heli Guides runs the Men's North Shore Big Mountain Camp—five days of heli-touring and skiing in Alaska's Chugach Range, a 300-mile crescent of mountains just east of Anchorage. While they can't guarantee you'll hear the call of the wild, they do promise a week of "skiing and snowboarding at the heli-guide and pro skier level." Exploring the white stuff runs from Sunday through Thursday, while Friday and Saturday are your "avalanche days" in case severe weather precludes hitting the slopes during the week. Dean promises six runs a day with an average of 20,000 vertical feet of downhill action. Travel to and from the Chugachs is aboard a sleek eight-seat helicopter, so space is limited.
H20's camp offers instruction in technical descent techniques, route selection, glacier travel, rope skills, and how to jump out of a helicopter with your skis on. They also provide all of your equipment: Salomon AK Rocket and Pocket Rocket fat skis, snowboards, Smith poles, Arc'Teryx heli-packs, Black Diamond harnesses, Back Country Access Tracker digital transceivers, probes, and shovels in case you need to dig a buddy out.
Accommodations are at the Valdez Harbor Inn where you'll catch breakfast and lunch at Alaska's Bistro, a casual restaurant that serves Mediterranean and Alaskan cuisine. Twelve restaurants in Valdez offer hearty dinners to restock all the calories burned on the slopes. The week of whirling adventure costs $4,885 for double occupancy and $5,165 for a single. But be sure to book early, as Dean and his guides offer the camp for only one intense week, April 16-23, 2005.
Dean Cummings H2O Heli Guides
P.O. Box 2501 Valdez, AK 99686
Simba East African Safari
Most tourists flock to East Africa's famed game parks to see the four-legged wildlife. But Simba East African Safaris offers a "Men Only" excursion that may entail frisky encounters with two-legged fauna of the female kind. All in the macho spirit of Hemingway, they say. Simba's 18-day safari promotes Kenya's natural wonders like a hooligan's paradise. Groups of ten to 16 men can roll from the thumping urban tempo of Nairobi's and Mombasa's nightclubs to peaceful evenings under the stars in two-man (or, if you like, one man, one woman) tents. Camel trekking and whitewater rafting are highlights, as is a visit to the Tsavo East National Park, home to the famous man-eating lions.
Simba doesn't promise that female companions are supplied by the tour, but the brochure suggests that lovely ladies will be as endemic as the tsetse fly. If you can't follow the tour's few simple rules, though (like knowing how to hold your drink and treating fellow safari-mates and the local Kenyans with respect), you might find yourself dumped in a nameless village halfway to Rumuruti. Embarking on this hedonistic adventure will set you back $6,230, not to mention all the drinks you'll want to buy for your new friends. Travel begins and ends in Nairobi, and pesky things like visas, vaccinations, and medicine should be looked into before embarking.
Simba East African Safaris
118 Flagler Plaza PMB 117, RT. 100 Palm Coast, FL 32137
Stag Party in the UK
The British Isles may not boast the finest of culinary traditions, but they do know beer. And what better way to enjoy an excellent frothy pint than on a custom-crafted Stag Night in a fun-loving exotic city? Reaching for your plastic antlers already? Round up your mates and log on to Stagweb.co.uk, the MI5 of party planning. Stagweb allows you to craft your ideal testosterone-jammed bachelor evening or weekend in more than two-dozen European locales, from Oxford to Glasgow to Prague to Vilnius (it's in Lithuania). Adventurous revelers can have Stagweb arrange outrageous outings including falconry demos, rides in armored personnel carriers, heavy construction machinery operation, or "zorbing" (a New Zealand game that involves rolling downhill in large air-filled globes). But don't forget the booze: When the sun sets, stag-partying lads heed the call of clubs, casinos, and the fine art of lap dancing. You can even attend a medieval banquet with tankards of amber mead that would make Beowulf wince. Attempting some alcohol acclimatization training before you leave is a good idea. Though the Americans won the Boston Tea Party, the Brits still rule on the harder stuff. Just remember to factor in recovery time, because airborne hangovers at 36,000 feet can get ugly.
Phone: 011-44-0122-547-4200 (from inside U.S)
Dean Cummings H20 Heli Guides