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Fit Vacation Location: Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Written on April 19, 2011 at 11:53 am , by

Look Ma, it's a moose!

Look Ma, it's a moose!

Want to ski, snowboard, run, mountain bike, white water raft or practice yoga, all while being surrounded by absolutely gorgeous scenery? Head out to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I recently had the opportunity to check out what Jackson has to offer, thanks to the folks at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Hotel Terra, a LEED certified (translation: super eco-friendly) hotel located right on the mountain. While spring temps were starting to warm up back at home, I was lucky enough to be in town during the last week of ski season. I hear it’s just as incredible in the summer—with lots of sun and tons of activities to choose from, no snow needed. The highlights:

It snowed every day (550 inches this season—and it’s still snowing!). I spotted Olympic Gold medalist Hannah Teter at breakfast. Need I say more? It’s the number one reason travelers and ski pros alike hit Jackson Hole: It’s snow nirvana.

Editors, ready to hit the slopes!

Editors, ready to hit the slopes (I'm on the right!)

I was super excited to try my feet, and apparently my arms, legs and core—hello, burn!—at snowboarding (for the first time ever). I suited up in comfy Smartwool base layers and Eddie Bauer First Ascent outerwear, ready to hit the mountain…and had a blast! The instructors are super knowledgeable; had I not had a lesson, there’s no way I would have made it down without a few bumps and bruises.

Yoga (at altitude) was a welcome stress and soreness reliever. The yogis from Yoga Today, a website that allows members to download hundreds of virtual classes anytime, hosted a session full of centering and energizing poses.

Grand Teton National Park—a stunning sight, along with nearby Yellowstone—was still closed to all traffic due to feet and feet of snow, so instead, we headed down to the National Elk Refuge where we spotted bighorn sheep. They get right up close, munching on the grass behind you.

If you’re looking for fun, fitness and a wilderness-filled vacation, check out Jackson Hole. It’s absolutely beautiful.

Need more fit vacation ideas? We’re highlighting destinations for summer fun in our July/August issue. Keep an eye out for it in June!

My New Favorite Workout: Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Written on March 16, 2011 at 11:38 am , by

Paddleboarding off the coast of Hawaii's Big Island (That's me, third from the right)

Paddleboarding off the coast of Hawaii's Big Island (That's me, third from the right!)

Alright, so living in New York City doesn’t exactly permit me to paddleboard any old day of the week. However, I recently got the chance to tour Hawaii’s Big Island courtesy of the Hilton Waikoloa Village resort, where I took the opportunity to learn how to paddleboard in their gorgeous, ocean-fed lagoon.

If you’re not familiar with stand-up paddleboarding, it’s exactly how it sounds: standing up on a surfboard while using a paddle to propel you through the water. Our guides from Hawaii Ocean Sports started our group off in the resort’s protected lagoon, which allowed us to get the hang of balancing on the board without the added challenge of the ocean waves. I was surprised to find myself engaging muscles I hadn’t used in awhile (hey there, lower calves!) and getting a pretty great ab workout as I used my core to stay upright.

When standing up on the board, your upper body does most of the work to pull you through the water. But once we started to make our way toward the open ocean, our guide instructed us to drop to our knees (first to duck under a low bridge, second to avoid falling into shallow, rocky water). On my knees it was a whole new workout — though I no longer needed to work as hard to stay on the board, being low to the water required lots of ab strength to pull my big paddle through the water.

This was, by far, the most fun workout I had in Hawaii (and I tried Aqua Zumba! More on that later…). It was amazing to be so mobile in the water, as opposed to simply riding waves back to shore on a traditional surfboard.  And, as you can see in the photo above, the scenery was unstoppable. I paddled past sea turtles and got up close to fish of every color imaginable — which sure beats my usual view from the treadmill!