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Weekend Sherpa San Francisco

Weekend Sherpa – Bear Necessities

Weekend Sherpa – Bear Necessities

Weekend Sherpa – Bear Necessities

Nightlife, casinos, 6-pack chairlifts…you won’t find any of this at the Central Sierra’s Bear Valley. Smack between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite, this winter destination has a totally laid-back vibe. Spend a weekend enjoying the bear necessities.

With more than 60 kilometers of perfectly groomed trails,
Bear Valley Cross Country area is an expansive and impressive Sierra secret. Paul Petersen and his wife, Dianne, have been running this ski center for 32 years and know the lowdown on all the trails. Rent equipment on-site and settle into the tracks. For a moderately challenging 5-kilometer loop, kick and glide to Equipe Hut (pictured). The first section of the trail is a mellow ski through a meadow, followed by a few short ascents that get the heart pumping. The work is worth it: at the mid-point, Equipe Hut has some of the best views in the park; the Dardanelles and Central Sierra spread across the skyline, making a spectacular backdrop for your snack break. Sign the guest book, refill
your water bottle and enjoy the winding descent back to the main meadow.

BONUS: Stop for some tasty chili in a bread bowl and hot chocolate at the Meadow Cafe warming hut. It’s a short 1-kilometer ski from the main trailhead. Follow your nose to the smell of burgers sizzling on the barbecue.

There is a $22 trail fee to use Bear Valley Cross Country area ski tracks. Rental packages (skis, boots, poles) are available onsite for $20.

Sure heli-skiing can be an amazing adventure, but those on a backcountry budget should call the pros at Mountain Adventure Seminars. Their Zones Adventure takes strong advancedand expert skiers and boarders down the otherwise-closed-to-the-public backside of Bear Valley. Each trip maxes at out 8 people and always includes at least two guides. The off-limits ski bowl is huge, leaving plenty of fresh powder for everyone. Carve signature turns in the “green, blue or red zone,” but be sure to get in a good warm-up first: these runs are intense—with up to a 43-degree pitch. Steep, deep and dreamy.

TIP: Mountain Adventure Seminars also offers tamer backcountry ski adventures like its snowcat and sidecountry adventures.

Mountain Adventure Seminars (209-753-6556) runs trips on most weekends through the winter. Call ahead to reserve. The Zones Adventure is $50 per person (or $90 with a lift ticket).

When dinosaurs roamed the earth they shared space with giant sequoias, the biggest trees in the world. These massive and resilient redwoods survived the Ice Age (and some even enduredthrough the “Lumber Age”). Get up close to these bold beauties on a free docent-led snowshoe trek in Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Every Saturday during winter, the state park takes groups out on an easy, trivia-packed walk among the 300-foot-tall colossal conifers. Meet at the warming hut to pick up your complimentary snowshoes along with hot beverages and cookies. Then strap up and set afoot to explore. The sequoias are the main attraction, but the snow-covered incense cedars and white firs add variety, and
your docent will take the time to talk about animal prints on the snow (is it a coyote or a bobcat?) and how to identify trees by their pinecones. Tramp through the hulking Pioneer Cabin Tree (pictured) and discover which trees work together to ensure survival during fires. It’s a walk in the park.

TIP: The Saturday snowshoe walks are popular. Trips leave at 1 p.m. each Saturday through winter. Get there at least 15 minutes early for your best chance at getting a pair of snowshoes and joining the action.

For overnight accommodations, there’s the old-school Bear Valley Lodge,
with four in-house restaurants and a large “cathedral lounge” with fireplace. It’s popular with families, although the rooms have not been updated. Or consider renting a condo from bearvalleyvacationrentals.com (Silver Mountain and Sundowner are the most updated.)

There’s no need to wait till the last minute to make Valentine’s plans.
San Luis Obispo has everything you need for booking a quick weekend to rekindle that “first day we met” spark. Just a few hours from San Francisco, this warm Central Coast destination is a secret sweet spot. Check out the online guide to romance for amorous itineraries in all price ranges, plus irresistible deals on overnight packages like the Romantic Retreat Along the Creek
at the San Luis Creek Lodge. The package includes a bottle of wine, chocolate truffles, red roses, a room with a fireplace and jetted bathtub, and dinner for two at Korbel at Blue. It’s a romance no-brainer! Or book a Romance on the Beach package from the Garden Street Inn, which includes a private bonfire. You can also build your own romance package: take a hot air balloon ride over the vineyards, soak in a secluded outdoor oasis at Sycamore Hot Springs, bask in the glow of a sunset kayak or stroll the world-famous farmers’ market. The plan is easy. Ready for a SLO romance?

BONUS:Enter to win a 2-night romantic getaway to San Luis Obispo!

Get even more ideas and book your romantic getaway at SanLuisObispoVacations.com.

2443 Fillmore St. #336, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA

here.
area is an expansive—and impressive—Sierra secret. Paul Petersen and his wife, Dianne, have been
running this ski center for 32 years and know the lowdown on all the trails. Rent equipment on-site and settle into the tracks. For a moderately challenging 5-kilometer loop, kick and glide to Equipe Hut (pictured). The first section of the trail is a mellow ski through a meadow, followed by a few short ascents
that get the heart pumping. The work is worth it: at the mid-point, Equipe Hut has some of the best views in the park; the Dardanelles and Central Sierra spread across the skyline, making a spectacular backdrop for your snack break. Sign the guest book, refill your water bottle and enjoy the winding descent back to the main meadow.BONUS: Stop for some tasty chili in a bread bowl and hot chocolate at the Meadow Café warming hut. It’s a short 1-kilometer ski from the main trailhead. Follow your nose to the smell of burgers sizzling on the barbecue.There is a $22 trail fee to use
area ski tracks. Rental packages (skis, boots, poles) are available onsite for $20. Sure heli-skiing can be an amazing adventure, but those on a backcountry budget should call the pros at
Mountain Adventure Seminars. Their
Every Saturday during winter, the state park takes groups out on an easy, trivia-packed walk among the 300-foot-tall colossal conifers. Meet at the warming hut to pick up your complimentary snowshoes along with hot beverages and cookies. Then strap up and set afoot to explore. The sequoias are the main attraction, but the snow-covered incense cedars and white firs add variety, and your docent will take the time to talk about animal prints on the snow (is it a coyote or a bobcat?) and how to identify trees by their pinecones. Tramp through the hulking Pioneer Cabin Tree (pictured) and discover which trees work together to ensure survival during fires. It’s a walk in the park.TIP: The Saturday snowshoe walks are popular. Trips leave at 1 p.m. each Saturday through winter. Get there at least 15 minutes early for your best chance at getting a pair of snowshoes and joining the action.For overnight accommodations, there’s the old-school
(Silver Mountain and Sundowner are the most updated.)                                                             
for amorous itineraries in all price ranges, plus irresistible deals on overnight  packages like the
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