Beyond stunning bird’s-eye views, crisp air, and outdoor adventures, mountain vacations offer a bevy of experiential activities, as well, including hot air ballooning, Western adventures and visits to whisky distilleries.
At Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa in Vermont, the yearly, 3-day Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival (July 7-9) features over 25 hot air balloons soaring through the sky, while down below guests can take in live entertainment, a children’s corner offering
an array of activities, chair massages and facials, or they can swap their hot cocoa for a treat at the beer and wine garden. Guests can opt for either a sunrise or sunset launch through the clouds on a hot air balloon ($275 pp; reservations required), or go for a tethered hot air balloon ride ($10 pp). Admission to the festival is $10 pp; kids 12 and under are free.
When not enjoying the festival activities, guests can partake in a plethora of summertime fun such as going horseback riding or taking a horse-drawn carriage ride through the meadows; hiking or biking on the Recreation Path; or golfing and tennis. Though there is both an indoor pool and outdoor pool, recommend a swim in one of the natural watering holes around Stowe, such as the Waterbury Reservoir, or the West Branch River. And for total relaxation, guests can head to the onsite spa.
Managed by Auberge Resorts Collection, The Lodge at Blue Sky will be debuting in the fall of 2018 at Blue Sky Utah, a 3,400-acre hospitality and recreational area in the Wasatch Mountains.
“Our vision for The Lodge at Blue Sky blends contemporary luxury, a spirited sense of adventure and an outstanding mountain lifestyle that truly captures the Blue Sky motto of ‘Luxury with Wild Abandon,’” says Mark Harmon, founder, Auberge Resorts Collection. “Blue Sky’s distinct point of view and endless recreation options will enable us to provide guests with one-of-a-kind experiences for an unforgettable trip. Blue Sky offers the glorious solitude of the expansive West, yet is just minutes from a world class ski resort town.”
The Lodge at Blue Sky will feature 46 guestrooms and suites, plus a camp with four luxury tents. At the highest point of Blue Sky, a luxury yurt will welcome guests to a breathtaking mountain setting with views that stretch as far as the eye can see, a lake for stand-up paddleboarding, and hikes in the wilderness in the summer or alpine touring in the winter.
Guests will be able to partake in many outdoor adventures that will “introduce a modern take on Western adventure,” according to press materials. Activities will range from horseback riding, working cattle, fly-fishing, and championship-caliber shooting clays, to biking and cross-country skiing. Plus, there will be an onsite restaurant, and an Auberge spa offering yoga, fitness training, meditation and treatments. Guests can also venture off the resort to Utah’s first whisky distillery since 1870 for a lesson in whisky-making at the High West Distillery.
“Pleasant Holidays’ recently expanded Canada portfolio features a variety of mountain destinations ideal for active travelers looking to immerse themselves in the wonders of nature,” says Jack E. Richards, president and CEO of Pleasant Holidays.
The brand’s Canadian mountain destinations feature hotels and resorts that embrace their mountain surroundings. For example, at Fairmont Banff Springs, guests can enjoy a drink at the outdoor ice bar, while Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise offers mountain and lake activities such as year-round guided mountain tours led by an accredited naturalist, wintertime skiing, and hiking and canoe activities in the summer. And for those guests staying at Fairmont Chateau Whistler and Fairmont Tremblant, ski-in/ski-out from the resorts is available for easy access to the slopes.
For more active clients, recommend H+I Adventures’ mountain biking itineraries such as the 8-day Wild Yukon. It takes travelers high into Canada’s alpine mountains where they might come face-to-face (sort of) with wild caribou and bears. Intermediate mountain bikers will follow the path of gold prospectors and navigate the 500-mile trail network near Carcross, plus they’ll go canoeing down the Yukon River, and sample local craft beers at Yukon Brewing. Accommodation is provided in a remote mountain ranch. Rates start at $2,535. Departures available July 8-15, 2017 and Aug. 19-26, 2017.
Agents, keep in mind that for Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations, there are plenty of events planned throughout the year your clients can take part in, including free admission to all of Canada’s national parks.
H+I Adventures: mountainbikeworldwide.com
The Lodge at Blue Sky:
Pleasant Holidays: pleasantholidays.com
Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa: stoweflake.com