Friday, December 17, 2010

5 Amazing Ski Destinations

Ski ResortsNot everybody out there may be thrilled about the oncoming snow but just because snow is approaching doesn't mean everybody is going to have a bad time. Skiers and snowboarders are thrilled to see the first signs of that beautiful white powder that transforms itself into a adult playland. But where are the best places to go? Are some better than others? You better believe it.

Snowmass, Colorado
Snowmass is located a few miles outside of Aspen in the Roaring Fork Valley and offers a large variety of mountain activities. The area is 3,000 acres with a 4,000 foot vertical drop. While that sounds a bit intense, beginners will be pleased to know that Snowmass has some more mellow slopes so you can ease into it. Snowboarders will have fun on the 12-foot halfpipe (good for beginners) and the 22-foot superpipe (better for more experienced boarders). Add that to the 91 trails and 21 chairlifts as well as the shuttles to neighboring Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk.

Copper Mountain, Colorado
Favored by snowboarders, Copper Mountain offers skiing, ice skating, snow shoeing, snow mobile riding, sleigh rides and more. A Snow Day Pass this year will cost you $99 which is good for any day on which the resort gets more than four inches of snow. However, people flock to the mountain year round for other reasons too, mainly because of the resort's unique training facility, Woodward at Copper. The training facility is there for snowboarders to practice the hard tricks in a safe environment. Foam pits keep skiers and snowboarders from getting hurt when practicing those complicated flips.

Northstar at Tahoe Resort, California
Located six miles north of Lake Tahoe, this impressive resort offers 92 separate ski trails spread over a vast 3,000 acres. The resort offers snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and tubing. After your busy day on the slopes, you can relax at the one of the resort's many lodges, condos or mountain homes or visit the luxurious Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe if you are feeling fancy.

Alta, Utah
Alta is one of the oldest ski areas in the entire country and is one of the very few that does not allow any snowboarding whatsoever. The resort will also shut down once a certain number of skiers shows up. Alta is also a part of the Ski Utah Interconnect Adventure Tour, a real treat for the more advanced and expert skiers. For $295 you can follow guides through the Wasatch Mountain backcountry via routes in and out of six ski resorts.

Yellowstone National Park
When one thinks of Yellowstone, one probably thinks of Old Faithful and a summer destination. However, Yellowstone is also an unforgettable winter location. Guests will be able to take cross-country skiing lessons as well as guided trips through the park. There is a lot of exotic wildlife to view including moose, bison and wolves. If you want to take a rest from all the activities, then take a snow coach ride that gets you up close and personal to all that wildlife.

So there you have it, five of the greatest ski resorts in the country. Great for both beginner skiers and snowboarders or expert ones, everybody can find something to like in all of these destinations.

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Use your iPhone To Check Into Hotels

Did you know that you can fully check in to hotel rooms with merely the press of a button using a new Smartphone app from Openways? Openways is the global provider of access-management software solutions for mobile platforms, which exclusively caters to security and hospitality industries.

This Openways solution allows you to completely bypass the hassle of waiting in line to check in, waiting for the clerk to process your information etc., and go straight from your vehicle to your hotel door. The way the technology works is by implementing a rather novel idea: If you are traveling with an iPhone, Blackberry, NOKIA or Android-based mobile cell phone, you can use this app to securely obtain an encrypted room key, which of course can be used to unlock your room door. The encrypted key itself is actually “dematerialized” in the sense that it is tonal and relies upon the principle of Crypto Acoustic Credential.

Of course every new technology in security applications brings with it the natural and fundamental question of just how secure it is. Concerning how secure a given acoustic key is as opposed to traditional ‘material’ key technology, there are a few things to consider:

For those of you worried about security issues that might result from a lost or stolen cell phone, the acoustic key itself is in no way stored on the mobile device, but always remains on Openway’s servers. So when it comes to scenarios in which a lost key might compromise the security of a room, the Openways solution is actually the more secure option, since there is no material key to be lost or stolen in the first place, and every key that is used to access a room is unique each time it is used. This means that any recording of the key will be flagged as fraudulent by the technology and rendered incapable of unlocking the given door assigned to the real key.

Of course the app can only work with hotels that support the technology, so one must keep this in mind when using the Openways solution.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Top 5 Places to Visit in Qatar

When many people heard that the 2022 World Cup was going to be held in Qatar, they probably responded with "Where in the world is Qatar?". Well, the Middle East to be precise. Qatar is a little-known country that borders the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia and has a population of less than 1 million people.

What's funny is that Qatar beat out such countries as South Korea, Japan, Australia and the United States for hosting rights to the tournament. Qatar averages 95 degrees during the summer and has even been known to reach temperatures as high as 120 degrees. Couple that with the threat of sandstorms, and suddenly Qatar doesn't seem like such a great place for fans of the World Cup.

To address this problem, Qatar plans on building new stadiums and even improving some old ones in hopes of shielding players and fans from the inclement weather. According to Qatar officials, these new stadiums will feature air conditioning and even be powered by solar panels. Qatar is also creating a public bus system for the World Cup, and visitors will also be able to rent a car or hire a personal driver.

Visitors to the World Cup will have plenty to see in Qatar besides the world's best soccer players. Just because Qatar isn't a well known country doesn't mean that there isn't anything to do.

Al-Corniche is a road stretching four miles along the harbor in the capital city of Doha on the Eastern Coast of Qatar. Aside from the traditional sailing boats known as dhows and the beautiful Indian Ocean waterfront, travelers will see some of the most interesting and innovative architectures.

Souq Waqif
One of the most commercial areas of Doha is Souq Waqif. Buying and selling has been taking place in the area for hundreds of years, and the shops have been remodeled to look like 19th century Souq. Souq Waqif is one of the most traditional marketplaces in Qatar where visitors can buy spices, perfumes and garments and even handkerchiefs and locally brewed coffee.

Al-Khor is located up the coast from Doha and is a former pearl fishing village. In front of the harbor is a fish market and the beaches are pristine. Qatar visitors can also go bird watching in the mangroves and gardens of the city in Al-Khor.

Bir Zekreet
On the opposite coast of Qatar lies the fantastic beach of Bir Zekreet. The beach is perfect for camping lovers and the city is also surrounded by desert allowing you to explore numerous sand dunes and find plenty of desert mushrooms. Nearby you will find a wild deer reserve as well as an old movie set reminiscent of a deserted village.

Khor al-Adaid
Khor al-Adaid is surrounded by crescent-shaped sand dunes and is known as the inland sea. Local tour operators organize both overnight camping trips as well as day trips, and you can even drive along the dunes, ride camels or sand ski along these popular Qatar dunes.

So there you have it, some interesting things to do if you decide to take a trip all the way to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup.
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