The MSN Traveler

March snows keep falling on B.C.’s Powder Highway

By CraiSBower Mar 18, 2013 11:43AM

Crocuses and daffodils flash early spring colors under steady rain showers. And the snow alerts keep coming. Fernie: 4 inches. Kimberley: 6 inches. Red and Whitewater: 8 inches. Kicking Horse: 7 inches. Revelstoke: 9 inches. All across Western Canada, March has roared lately with huge snowfalls. Like our summers in the Northwest, which typically start after the Fourth of July, winter weather in the mountains kicks in when people are polishing golf clubs and oiling bike chains in other parts of the continent. I recently traveled to interior British Columbia to discover what this March madness is all about.

Traveling for snow is a tricky business, a dump day much less predictable than, say, sunshine in Hawai’i.  And, unlike remembering one’s sunglasses, hitting a big storm on the slopes can translate into white knuckle driving between resorts if you, like me, decide to visit more than one ski area, in my case five Western Canadian resorts in five days. I’d chosen this madcap route because, after seeing crazy dumps across B.C.’s mythical “Powder Highway” pop up on my snowfall app for several weeks, I knew I needed to surf that snow myself.


Business and family keep an executive on the move

By Greg Thilmont Mar 15, 2013 12:12AM

Jascha Kaykas-Wolff's busy career keeps him on the road frequently. As a marketing executive with Mindjet, an innovation software company, he frequently physically jets off to cities like London and Frankfurt, Germany. He got his start in the professional world after completing a psychology degree from Whittier College. He has also traveled extensively while working for companies such as Involver, Webtrends, Yahoo! and Microsoft. He has visited Asia, Latin America, Europe, Australia and Japan. Jascha lives in San Francisco with his wife, Rebecca, and three very active young kids -- Simone, Sofie and Julien. The Kaykas-Wolffs are huge fans of vacationing in Palm Springs. And if you've been in a major U.S. airport recently, Jascha might look familiar. He's currently featured in an advertising campaign by GoToMeeting.



Experience the best Bali has to offer at these island destinations.

By Julia Dimon Mar 13, 2013 10:59AM

An artistic town and hippie hangout in the heart of Bali’s terraced rice fields, Ubud is a go-to spot for most travelers passing through the popular Indonesian island. Whether it’s for a few days or a few months, the charming community of Ubud promises lush landscapes, exotic culture, Hindu temples and mischievous monkeys. A featured destination in the Elizabeth Gilbert franchise “Eat, Pray, Love,” Ubud is Bali's cultural capital promising a laid-back vibe, yoga retreats, spiritual healers, affordable guesthouses, romantic restaurants and traditional dances. Having just returned from Bali a week ago, I'm excited to share some of the best activities in Ubud:


1) Go Rafting: 

While there are many companies offering rafting trips in the Ubud area, Fantasi Rafting is one of the only outfitters that begins beneath an impressive 100-foot waterfall. This section of the Ayung River then cuts through dense tropical rain forests, across deep V volcano-sculpted terrain and through an active bat cave. Look up in awe as millions of flying webbed rodents soar around blindly and chirp frantically. Drifting downriver in the rubber raft, it’s a view that makes you feel like you’re in a living episode of Planet Earth.  Even if you’ve rafted before, this hour-and-a-half adventure is certainly worth the $68 price tag (the tour package also includes transportation and lunch). The scenery is awesome, the guides are fun, and the class 2/3 rapids offer a fast-paced thrill ride for paddlers. It’s a must-do! 


The NCAA men’s basketball championship series starts next week.

By MSN Local Edition Mar 12, 2013 11:12AM

Whether you’re true to your school or just a b-ball super fan, the Big Dance kicks-off on March 19.


We’ve compiled a full list of venues where you can purchase tickets for games.


So grab your alma mater sweatshirt, game is on!


March 19th: The First Four

Dayton, OH


March 21st: Round of 64

The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan (Host: Oakland University)


Rupp Arena, Lexington, Kentucky (Host: University of Kentucky)


EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah (Host: University of Utah)


HP Pavilion, San Jose, California (Host: West Coast Conference)


University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, Ohio (Host: University of Dayton)


Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas (Host: University of Texas at Austin)


Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri (Host: Missouri Valley Conference)


Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Host: Temple University)


March 28 - Sweet 16 Regionals:

East Regional, Verizon Center, Washington, D.C. (Host: Georgetown University)


West Regional, Staples Center, Los Angeles, California (Host: Pepperdine University)


Midwest Regional, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana (Hosts: IUPUI, Horizon League)


South Regional, Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas (Host: Big 12 Conference)


Final Four - Atlanta (April 6 and 8) Georgia Dome (Host: Georgia Institute of Technology)


Photo courtesy of ishmael n. daro.







The owner of Marx Foods shares what it's like to eat and travel for a living (poor guy).

By Chelsea Lin Mar 8, 2013 11:06AM

Justin Marx is the owner and chief food scout for Marx Foods, an online (and now, in a Seattle specialty shop) purveyor of artisan food products from around the world. What exactly does that mean? Well, it means that when Marx isn’t found stocking the shelves with expensive soy sauces and hand-crafted goat milk caramels, he’s eating his way around the globe, looking for the sort of exotic foodstuffs his customers go gaga for. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.


What do you love most about traveling for a living?

When I travel, my job is to eat. Regardless of whether I am going somewhere for food scouting or otherwise, I always spend as much time as possible eating or looking at food. Time for farmers markets, food retail shops, and restaurants is always maximized.



We may not be able to give you a first-hand bag of tricks for first-timers, but we found all the best tips.

By Chelsea Lin Mar 7, 2013 11:58AM

There are two types of people: the cool kids who spend spring planning for South by Southwest and summer planning for Burning Man, and the rest of us. We’re not embarrassed to fall into the latter camp (who are we kidding, we’re dying to go) until it’s our turn to help you decide where to go and what to do while you’re there.


SXSW, the epic music/film/tech festival that has helped put Austin on the map as Texas’ hippest little city, starts Friday: the interactive conference (heavy on the start-ups and social media) runs March 8-12, the film fest March 8-16, and the music (for many, the only reason to go) March 12-17. This is no slouch of an event. Tens of thousands of attendees show up for hundreds of parties, performances, and speakers at venues around downtown. Badges for even one of the three components run anywhere from $650 to $1150 for walk-up participants, and a pass to all three parts costs $1350 to $1595.



Catching adventure television star Les Stroud's concert tour

By Greg Thilmont Mar 5, 2013 11:52AM

Perhaps like me, you are most familiar with Les Stroud, the adventure television star, from his many self-filmed treks into dangerous situations on the long-running hit show, “Survivorman.”


What I did not know until last week is that Stroud has had a long career as a professional musician, too.


Noticing on the marquee of a performing arts in Kirkland, Wa., that Stroud  was booked to appear, I decided to buy a ticket out of curiosity. The venue’s website described the show as “adventure, multimedia art, filmmaking and music.” I decided not look at any promotional videos on the webpage or elsewhere and head to the show as a true newbie.


Why every ecotraveler must visit this supernatural wonder

By MSN Local Edition Mar 4, 2013 4:42PM

Photo courtesy of Crai S. BowerBy Crai S. Bower

“The last place I’ve visited” serves as my rather cheeky response when asked to name my favorite place to visit, a question I receive a few times per week. In truth, having spent 10 years writing about travel for a living, one destination remains at the top of my list of destinations. I think it always will.

There is nowhere quite like the Galapagos Archipelago, a cluster of volcanic islands situated at the equator with environmental pressures so varied, more than 180 plant and 80 animal endemic species can be found here. However, unlike common perceptions by those who’ve never visited or only take biological shore leaves from small cruise boats, the islands are hardly a static museum, but home to fishermen, farmers and naturalists. Judging from the nights I spent salsa dancing and carousing in Santa Cruz, the local population is as full of life as the giant Galapagos tortoises.



Which of these extreme outdoor sports would you be brave enough to try?

Which of these extreme outdoor sports would you be brave enough to try?

    47 %
    BASE jumping
    26,892 votes
    24 %
    Ice climbing
    13,454 votes
    29 %
    16,881 votes

Total Responses: 57,227
Not scientifically valid. Results are updated every minute.


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