Friday, December 30, 2016

Sierra Ski Day

Yesterday I headed up to the slopes to ski at Sierra-at-Tahoe. I usually don't ski on weekends or holidays but decided to go up as it was going to be a beautiful day. The weather was just as expected with people skiing without jackets in the afternoon. However, the warm temps meant for spring like conditions with icy spots with a soft coverage. There were a lot of people up there but the lift lines weren't that long and I got in a lot of skiing. All in all it was a great day. 

For those of you that don't know where Sierra-at-Tahoe is located it is about 1.5 hours from Sacramento  on HWY 50 and about a half hour from South Lake Tahoe. It has 14 chairlifts and 2000 acres of skiable terrain. If you are staying in South Lake Tahoe it is one of three options with Heavenly and Kirkwood as the other two options.

The pictures were taken from the top of the 360 BBQ at the top of Grandview chair. Lake Tahoe is in the background.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Zhangjiajie Park in China

I found this picture on a site that had most incredible pictures of 2016. When I visited the park I actually went on this walk. Looking at it from this view makes it look a lot worse.

This was one of my favorite places I have ever visited. It's in the middle of nowhere in China and the scenes and inspiration for Avatar came from Zhangjiajie. I would highly recommend this not only for the park but for getting away from the big cities and experiencing China for it's beauty.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Denver's Sports Column Bar

After skiing in Denver I spent one night in Denver before flying home. It was a Sunday night with a football game on so we wanted to go somewhere where we could grab something to eat, drink and watch the game. The hotel recommended the Sports Column Bar and said it was the best sports bar in Denver. I don't know if it is the best sports bar in Denver as this is the first one I have been in in Denver but it was one of the best sports bars I have been in anywhere.

They have a good selection of pub food, a great selection of beer, full bar and plenty of TV's to watch the many games on that night. During commercials, of the game they have the sound on for, they mute the sound and have a DJ that plays music until the commercial is over.

It's in an old building with a great atmosphere. Here is the link to their site.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Travel with Pops: Vail Ski Weekend

Travel with Pops: Vail Ski Weekend: Last weekend my son and I did a short weekend ski trip to Vail Colorado. We arrived Friday and checked into the Galatyn Lodge in the Vai...

Vail Ski Weekend

Last weekend my son and I did a short weekend ski trip to Vail Colorado. We arrived Friday and checked into the Galatyn Lodge in the Vail Village. the Galatyn Lodge is in the village and a short 2 minute walk to Gondola One or the bars and restaurants. If you need to book a hotel in Vail I would recommend it for it's location and price. If you are skiing they offer ski lockers with extras like tissue packets, chapstick and snacks. They even had hand warmers to use. We didn't use it but they also had an outdoor pool heated to 100 degrees. With the friendly staff we had a great time.

Vail is awesome. The ski area is huge and the runs are long. An average run was about as long as the longest runs in the Sierra. This was my first time skiing in the Rockies and the powder was just like I had heard it would be. Being early in the year the coverage wasn't great but still about half the area was open. My only complaint, and it wasn't the resorts fault, was the altitude. I work out daily and thought I was in shape. I never got sore but the altitude did a job on me. I had to stop to catch my breath all the time. If you haven't skied the Rockies or Vail, go.

One thing I liked about Vail was the village. At night we had our choice of restaurants, bars, pubs, whiskey tasting rooms and entertainment. Stay close to the village and you will have a great time.

My recommendations --

  • Buy your lift tickets in advance. Make sure you do this early so they can send you the ticket. It is a card with RFI that you can leave in your pocket.
  • If you already have an Epic pass you can load more days onto the card.
  • If you need rental equipment the lodges have discount coupons. You can also rent equipment in advance. Check the Vail site.
  • Stay in the village area,
  • Have a great time.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Airport Transit Hotels for a Long Layover

Great Wall Tour

This last trip to Japan I booked a flight with an intentional long layover in Beijing. The purpose was that my son had never been to mainland China before and I wanted him to see some Chinese history. We flew on Air China from SFO to Tokyo with a 23 hour layover in Beijing on the way there and a 21 hour layover on the way back.

By doing this I was able to enter China on a 72 hour transit visa at no cost. Getting a normal visa into China can cost over $300. Since we had a long layover I contacted the airline to see what they offered for the long layover. To my surprise I was given a free night at a transit hotel away from the airport. If I didn't ask I would not have known.

The point of this post is if you have a long layover check with the airline if they will accommodate you for the inconvenience of the layover. Also, if you have the time, plan a long layover and take a short tour of the city you are in. We were able to see the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall on this trip.

I also know from experience that several  airports offer free tours of the city when you have a long enough layover. Singapore has a very nice tour with a boat ride on the Singapore River. The layover also breaks up a long flight.  

Monday, October 17, 2016

Japanese Grand Prix 2016

Kevin and I were able to attend the Japanese Grand Prix this year in Suzuka, Japan. We are trying to go to a different race every year. This year it worked out as I was going to visit NEC on a business trip.

The Suzuka Circuit is located just outside Nagoya in central Japan. We lucked out this year as the weather cooperated and the qualifying and race were dry. Other years have been very damp which effected the race. The circuit is in a figure eight with a lot of elevation change. Our seats have to be the best we have had for any race so far. We sat in section A1. If you are going look at seating there. We were able to see the start of the race and we sat right across from the pit exit. We were also able to see the straight until the first turn, the entire turn and up a lot of the hill on the backside. Most of the overtaking took place right in front of us.

Japan is a great place to hold the race. Take a week, at least, and see as much of Japan as you can.

Best Seats Ever

Supporting My Team