The epic winter may have crushed our spirits with bone-chilling cold and record amounts of snowfall, but there is an upside: The ski season is far from over and you can enjoy monster snowpack and fun hills without flying West. Take one last ski trip in northern Michigan at Boyne, which has seen 180 inches of snowfall this season (up 30 percent from last year). The base has been as deep as 73 inches, not shabby when you consider Vail’s 69-inch base.
This weekend, you can take part in the town’s annual spring fest, as you ski 115 trails on two impressive sister mountains— Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain (a relatively easy six-hour drive from Chicago and the closer of the two resorts)—and enjoy peak vertical drops ranging from 500 to 552 feet. No kids to wrangle? Go to Carnival Weekend at Boyne Mountain, which kicks off with a party in the Snowflake Lounge on Friday with green beer and the Irish-folk band, The Waxies (9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; free, 21 and up). Other activities include an on-hill party on Saturday with the King and Queen of the Mountain costume contest and a 70’s Snow Disco party with The Shagadelics, a Chicago-based 70s cover band (9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., free, 21 and up). While at Boyne Mountain, grab a bite to eat at Everett’s: Try the new Everett’s IPA, a golden, hoppy brew made exclusively for Boyne by Petoskey Brewing Co.
Families should drive 27 miles farther north, past scenic Little Traverse Bay, for Krazy Daze at Boyne Highlands. This ski-centric event for all ages includes music in the Zoo Bar on Friday (4 to 8 p.m.) and face painting, inflatables, a jump competition, Nastar race, and a slalom event on Saturday. For more quality time on the slopes, start the weekend with a two-hour Family Adventure Tour ($190 for up to four), during which a ski instructor will show you and your brood around the mountain while offering tips along the way.
Get the best deal at either mountain by booking a Ski & Stay package, with accommodations, lift ticket and a buffet breakfast for one from $153 a night at Boyne Mountain and $130 a night at Boyne Highlands. Can’t get there this weekend? No need to stress: Both mountains will be open through at least March 23. Boyne Mountain stays open as long as conditions allow—and didn’t close last year until April 28. We’re betting on the staying power of the Polar Vortex.
Just When You Thought Taking a Carry-On Bag Wasn’t So Bad, United Cracks Down with New Restrictions
On March 1, United Airlines put new carry-on baggage restrictions into effect, now limiting the maximum carry-on bag dimensions to 9 x 14 x 22 inches, including handles and wheels. And apparently the airline means business: It has installed new carry-on-bag sizers at all gates and at some check points. “Do not expect staff to be swayed by protests from travelers who have flown with their bags for decades and know that it will fit easily in the overhead bins,” says a contributor at The Points Guy, where you can read more about the new policy.
Why You Should See Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel
Opening nationwide this Friday, March 14, Wes Anderson’s new movie The Grand Budapest Hotel is set at a fictional spa resort “dripping with opulence,” writes Tara Abel, describing rich pinks, glossy train cars, and bright monograms stamped on luggage cases. “Each element makes us more nostalgic for the movie's between-the-wars era, when travel was a fantasy and a hotel was the most sumptuous place you could sleep.” Read more and her interview with Ralph Fiennes at Condé Nast.
Lonely Planet Tells You Where to Go in March
Looking to take an exotic getaway now? Lonely Planet asked its international team of experts for their picks on where to go now. Destinations include Jordan’s Wadi Rum for an overnight around a fire at a Bedouin camp, South Australia’s Adelaide for so-called shoulder season deals (which are offered in the tiny window between peak- and low-season rates) and the WOMADelaide festival of world music, and Dublin for the ultimate St. Patrick’s Day celebration from March 14 through 17.
Are Airline Credit Cards Better than Frequent Flyer Programs?
With Delta’s recent devaluation of its frequent flyer program and Southwest expected to do the same by the end of this month, maybe it’s time to ditch frequent flyer programs for something else: rewards credit cards. “If you’re not loyal to a specific airline, then it’s worth considering ditching your branded airline frequent flier cards,” says Charles Tran of CreditDonkey.com. Read the Wall Street Journal for more.