Some Wonderful Places Outside

SNOW SPORTS

Mushing huskies in Maine

Zip up your parka and explore the hemlock forests, frozen shorelines and glassy ice surfaces of the Rangeley Lake region from behind a team of frisky Yukon sled dogs. Between mushing lessons, you’ll do some vigorous cross-country skiing.

Who: Appalachian Mountain Club, 603-466-2727. When: Just one weekend in winter; 2001 dates to be determined. How much: 2 days, $360 for members; $400 for nonmembers. Travel advisory: Don’t skimp on the polypropylene: You’ll need to change twice a day to stay dry and warm.

Extreme skiing in Chile

Ever dreamed of starring in a Warren Miller ski film? If you’re an advanced-intermediate or better skier, here’s your chance. After a week with the XTEAM in Valle Nevado, led by extreme skiers such as Dan and John Egan, Rob and Eric DesLauriers, and Dean Decas, you’ll carve expert turns and plow through powder like a pro. Taking advantage of the challenging South American terrain, you’ll also learn to ski steeps, couloirs and trees.

Who: XTEAM Advance Ski Clinics, 800-XTEAM-70. When: August. How much: 7 days, $2,540. Travel advisory: Do not underestimate the searing equatorial sun. Pack some heavy-duty sunblock, a pair of UV-protective sunglasses and a baseball cap or visor.

Skill building in Colorado

Telemark ski through pristine aspen forests and then camp down for the night in a snow cave you built yourself during the Winter Multi-Skill Intensive, held in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. In addition to teaching snow sports–such as ice climbing, mountaineering and telemark skiing-this backcountry primer tutors you in winter survival smarts, including cold weather physiology, avalanche safety and snow-shelter construction.

Who: Colorado Outward Bound School, 800-477-2627. When: December 29-January 20. How much: 23 days, $2,395. Travel advisory: Only hearty backcountry enthusiasts who are comfortable on telemark skis and are ready to handle nearly a month of nonstop outdoor activity need apply.

MOUNTAIN BIKING

Chewing it up in Oregon

Coast through alpine meadows at Mount Hood Skibowl, which converts its ski runs and maintenance roads into a 52-mile, lift-assisted mountain-bike park during the summer months. Independent riders can trace marked trails, carve turns on summer snowfields and tear it up in weekend races. For novices, there are guided tours and plenty of group or private lessons.

Who: Mount Hood Skibowl Resort, 503-272-3206, ext. 244. When: Memorial Day-October 1. How much: One-day lift pass, $15; one-hour private lesson, $35; group lesson, prices vary according to group size; 4-hour expert clinic, $115. Travel advisory: All lessons and tours require advanced reservations and credit card deposit.

Pedaling through the Cuban countryside

The International Bicycle Fund has teamed up with Cuban bike-club members to provide a ride that really immerses you in the local culture. You’ll bike 18 to 50 miles per day, pausing to visit schools, farms, museums and other sites. Avoiding the tourist “ghettos,” the group stays in private homes and small pensions.

Who: International Bicycle Fund, 206-767-0848. When: November-March. How much: 13 days, $990 with round-trip airfare through Cancun ($200 is tax-deductible). Travel advisory: Bring your own mountain bike.

 

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