- Hopper Now Has ‘Secret Fares’ You Can’t Find Anywhere Else Online ♦
- How to Keep Your Data Safe While Traveling ♦
- Summertime shred: Six South American ski trips that make yearlong winter a reality ♦
- Shred the land down under: Nine reasons to ski Australia ♦
May 2, 2018
Personalized flight deals, right in the palm of your hand.
Get ready to save.
By now, you’re probably familiar with the (many) ways to score flight deals: Compare booking sites. Be flexible with your dates and airports. Subscribe to flight deal blogs, set price trackers, and get over the myth that there’s one perfect day to book that flight to Buenos Aires. But starting today, there’s a new way to knock hundreds off airfares—and it’s a good one.
Hopper, whose free mobile-only app scouts the cheapest fares and predicts ticket prices, just released its “Secret Fares” feature. The result of a partnership with Air Canada, LATAM, Turkish, WestJet, Copa, and Air China, the deals cover 60,000 routes, aren’t available anywhere else online, and can be up to 35 percent cheaper than the same ticket elsewhere. (A spokesperson for Hopper says there will be more airlines, including domestic ones, joining the Secret Fares program, but that the company can’t disclose any more information at the moment.) For now, all you have to do is download the app, “watch” a trip, and you’ll get the notifications right to your phone: Just think of it as a personalized flight deal, delivered to the palm of your hand.
With Secret Fares, Hopper will show you exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
In beta-testing, Hopper users certainly saved. A flight from Miami to Madrid was selling online for $1,083 round-trip, but a “Secret Fares” price came in at $864. Dallas to Beijing? $1,375 online, but nabbed for $864. Chicago to Tokyo: $1,422 vs. $1,152. You get the picture.
The benefit here isn’t just for the travelers—this approach helps participating airlines, too. Typically, when a carrier cuts prices online, they’re often matched in an “airfare war” with other airlines within a few hours, and that pool of potential customers then becomes a lot smaller. But put those prices only on Hopper—an app with 20 million installations since its launch in 2015, and 95 percent “buy or wait” accuracy—and that problem is solved. It’s so smart we’re not sure why no one thought of it sooner.
Posted from Conde Nast Traveler
The post Hopper Now Has ‘Secret Fares’ You Can’t Find Anywhere Else Online appeared first on Ski Federation.
June 7, 2018
Individual cyber security threats are in the limelight because of the approaching World Cup in Russia. But there are a lot of easy things you can do to keep your data safe, no matter where you’re traveling.
Beware the open Wi-Fi network. Illustration by Brown Bird Design
With millions of people from all around the world heading to Russia for the World Cup this month, there’s widespread concern that it could be hunting season for hackers. Last month, the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre published a blog post outlining a number of steps tourists in Russia should take to make sure their data remains their data, like avoiding public Wi-Fi networks and not having a one-word-fits-all-accounts password. But, cyber security cautions aren’t just limited to global sporting events: phishing, when hackers pose as legitimate companies to steal personal information, and ransomware attacks, when hackers hold someone’s data for, well, ransom, are on the up, according to digital security provider Gemalto. This year, the World Economic Forum even ranked cyberattacks as the third greatest global threat—right after extreme weather and natural disasters.
So do you need to hide yourself in a concrete bunker, encrypting every message you send and shattering burner after burner every month? No. Travel often and travel freely, but follow some of these easy tips to keep your data as safe as possible. None are major inconveniences, and it will be worth it to know that your banking information, your emails, and your files stored in the cloud are safe and sound.
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is
Shady emails are always dangerous, but we sometimes let down our guard when we’re jet-lagged or desperately trying to get to inbox zero while waiting for a flight. But the peril is especially high when a global event like the World Cup is taking place. Free tickets, FIFA lotteries, VIP seating upgrades—chances are that almost-legit looking email is total baloney, so don’t fall for it. A surge of phishing kicked off when Russia was announced as the host for the World Cup eight years ago, and it’s revving up the closer we get to the tournament. Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow-based cyber security firm, has warned over the past few months, especially, email accounts have been “bulging” with soccer-related phishing links and that those attempts spiked when ticket sales were taking place.
A rule of thumb to follow, no matter where you are: Don’t reply to any email that looks even remotely fishy…er…phishy. The same goes for websites. If Netflix or HBO Now isn’t available in the country you are visiting, our condolences—but maybe it’s time to take a break from Peaky Blinders. Don’t resort to some pop-up-crazy site with free streaming links. If it looks sketchy, it probably is.
Protect your devices
If you can, leave the devices you really love at home. Invest in an unlocked burner phone you can use when you’re traveling with local SIM cards that are easy and cheap to get in most countries. If you absolutely need to bring a laptop with you when you travel, consider buying a sub-$500 Chromebook (we love the Asus Flip C302) that can be your go-to travel computer; with Chromebooks, there is the extra bonus that everything is stored on Google’s cloud, so if it the laptop gets jacked, you won’t lose everything. (While no storage solution, including the cloud, is 100 percent hack-proof, password-protected cloud storage is actually a lot safer than local storage, which can be physically stolen, damaged, or corrupted.) If you’re bringing your business laptop or your go-to home device on a trip, make sure everything is backed up in the cloud and on an external hard drive before you leave, and ensure the device is secured with a password that isn’t “password123.”
Public Wi-Fi networks are basically “Steal my stuff” invitations
It can be hard to resist: You’ve been living in airplane mode for the past three days, terrified of roaming charges, and then you see an open Wi-Fi network pop-up. What you might not realize is that public Wi-Fi networks—the ones you can connect to instantaneously in libraries, hotels, airports, or even some city centers—are unencrypted, which means with even the slightest grasp on hacking, anyone can see what websites you’re looking at, what you’re typing into web fields, and any other data you are transmitting over the connection. (Yes, even your banking information.) Symantec, the company that makes the Norton Security suite of antivirus products, released a report in 2017 that showed that 87 percent of respondents had at some point potentially put information at risk while using public Wi-Fi.
What to do about it:
- Avoid public Wi-Fi networks when you can. Even if you think you’re somewhere safe, like your hotel lobby, it’s not worth the risk. You don’t know who else is in that lobby, and you don’t even know whether the network you’re connecting to is legit—after all, it’s not hard for a hacker to create a hotspot with the name “Hotel Free Wi-Fi.”
- If you absolutely have to connect to one, don’t do anything sensitive. If you really need to check that basketball score for a quick second, then you’ll probably be okay. But don’t do any banking or company business while connected.
- Use a VPN (virtual private network). Think of a virtual private network as a tunnel that encrypts all your data as it passes through and scrambles your location (by changing your IP address), even if you are connected to the internet through a public network. No one, not even the internet service provider, will know what you’re sending across the network. There are literally hundreds of VPN services available for free or a small monthly fee (Wired has a good run-down of some of the best), but the most important thing to do is make sure the one you choose has a no-log rule—that is, they don’t keep records of your use and traffic—and read the privacy terms to make sure they are iron-clad.
- HTTPS is your friend—HTTP is not. If a website starts with “https” it means it’s encrypted, making your browsing more secure. If it’s missing that “s”—for secure—anyone can snoop on what you’re doing. To be safe, install HTTPS Everywhere as an extension into your browser: it automatically switches sites from the door-wide-open http to the far more secure https.
- Rent a portable hotspot. Far more secure than public Wi-Fi are portable hotspots, the pocket-sized devices you can rent. They give you a secured individual Wi-Fi connection around the world, so you can connect to the internet without using international data or open Wi-Fi networks. Skyroam(starting at $9 a day) and Roaming Man ($9.99 a day) are two good options; both give you 4G Wi-Fi access in more than 120 countries around the world. Your connection will be password-secured, so you can even share it with your trustworthy travel companions.
Posted from Conde Nast Traveler
Featured Image: Ben Girardi/SASS Global Travel
June 6, 2018
So your buddies have hung up their ski boots and settled their undercarriages into padded chammies for “bike season.” But that doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to solo ski-porn binges in your basement just yet—there are still plenty of real skiers out there who share your rally cry. Book one of these badass curated South American ski trips, where you’ll forge new friendships fueled by fresh pow and pisco sours. Endless winter never looked better.
When: Aug. 5-12, Aug. 12-19
Bryce Phillips at Nevados De Chillan. Photo:Adam Clark
Evo takes “experiential retail” to a new level with its evoTrip program, which offers small-group adventure trips all over the world. The seven-day Las Trancas trip begins in Santiago and includes lodging at the RocaNegra Mountain Lodge & Spa, food, lift tickets and airport transfers. While the dirt road to the lodge may be best-suited for goats—and you’ll see plenty of those—you’ll arrive to a home-cooked meal, local wine, micheladasand hot tubs out back. Wake up each day to plunder the glittering slopes of Nevados de Chillan, which boasts the longest run in South America and the biggest vert in Chile. Ski with the group or go rogue each day, with options to hire a backcountry guide to tour up the volcanoes, book a cat trip ($60) or buy some heli drops (three for $500). Other diversions include waterfalls, natural hot springs and local vineyards.
When: July 22–27, July 29–Aug. 3, Aug. 5–10, Aug. 19–24, Aug. 26–31, Sept. 2-7
Photo: Courtesy of SledChile
Sled Chile is a carnivorous powder addict’s dream. Slay fresh Chilean blower off of a snowmachine by day, and eat grilled asado beef and lamb by night. Perched in an auraucaria forest beneath Volcan Lonqumay outside of Temuco, Sled Chile is the only sled-ski op in Chile, and it’s run by pro snowboarders Skylar Holgate and Chris Coulter. Trips include six nights of lodging and food with four days of sled skiing. The lodge is cozy—including a wood-fired, stacked-stone hot tub out back—and on the basic side of the luxury spectrum, but after shredding massive couloirs or lapping mini-golf zones all day, you’re not going to care about whether or not there’s a mint on your pillow at night.
When: July 20–26, July 29–Aug. 4, Aug. 17–23
Mmm, what a tasty couloir. Photo: Maxi Artoni
When the lift-served, hike-able pow abounds, there’s no need to spend your days sweating on the skin track. PowderQuest is named after what they’re known for—getting eight lucky participants into the deepest lift-served snow in Valle Nevado, La Parva, Colorado, Portillo and Arpa—the only cat-skiing op in Chile. PowderQuest has been operating trips in South America since 1999. Includes lodging at boutique hotels, two certified guides, food and wine.
evoTrip: San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina
When: Aug. 19-26
¡SORPRESA DE FINDE DE SEMANA! Ya podés comprar tu pase online, para disfrutar del Cerro Catedral esta temporada de invierno 2018! Ingresá en el link de nuestra BIO y adquirí tus pases! Julián Donatelli #CatedralEsTuLugar #NecesitoCatedral
A post shared by Cerro Catedral (@cerrocatedralok) on May 12, 2018 at 11:30am PDT
Get fresh lines all the way to the frozen Nahuel Huapi glacial lake by day, and dine at quaint refugios and five-star restaurants in Bariloche by night. This evoTrip includes a week of slopeside lodging, food, domestic flights, two days of guided skiing and five lift tickets to Cerro Catedral, South America’s largest ski resort. Set in the foothills of the Andes and inside the Nahuel Huapi National Park, Cerro Catedral is named after its church-like granite spires. Its 3,000 acres of terrain and 3,773 vert is riddled with couloirs, cliffs, tree, and bowls—all of it choked with pow. A guide will show you to the best zones during the first two days (and save you from bushwhacking back to the lift).
When: Aug. 6–Aug. 12
Bluebird skies and pow, doesn’t get much better in the summer. Photo: Courtesy CasaTours
This is a grab bag of lift-served, cat and backcountry skiing at five resorts in seven days. Starting from the Santiago airport, Casa Tours kicks off at Portillo, home of the famed Super C couloir, the Roca Jack lift and Tio Bob’s. On days three and four, the group moves to cat-ski in the shadow of Anoncagua—the highest peak in the Americas—at Valle El Arpa, where the drive itself is an epic adventure. Next up is Tres Valles—comprised of Valle Nevado, La Parva and El Colorado—all accessible from the base village of Farellones. The trip includes lodging, dining, lift tickets, cat skiing and guide fees.
Those views, tho… Photo: Ben Girardi
SASS has been operating in Argentina for 15 years and has designed this trip to Cerro de Catedral as a progression platform for skiers who want backcountry experience and avalanche awareness. SASS’s groups have a maximum client/guide ratio of five to one, which keeps groups nimble and categorized by ability level, and the lodge is within walking distance of the gondola at Catedral. Guests will have access to the entire lodge and an indoor/outdoor hot tub. Trip includes food, lodging, lift tickets, daily guiding and backcountry coaching, avalanche awareness program and Folsom demo skis.
Posted from FreeSkier
The post Summertime shred: Six South American ski trips that make yearlong winter a reality appeared first on Ski Federation.
May 23, 2018
When you think of foreign and exotic places to ski, you probably picture mountains in Europe, South America and maybe even New Zealand. But, what if I told you the Land Down Under has world-class skiing, too? There’s more than just red dirt, rugby and kangaroos here in Aussie Land—we also have mountain ranges that rival some of the best in the world, namely the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales and the Victorian Alps. It may seem like a long flight to the homeland of Crocodile Dundee, but only a few hours drive from major airports in Sydney and Melbourne there are bountiful, powder-filled turns up for grabs, an après scene that’ll make your head spin and lift lines that are totally non-existent.
1. There’s lots to choose from
Here in Australia, there are 10 resorts—eight in continental Australia and two in Tasmania. In New South Wales you have Thredbo, Perisher, Charlotte Pass and Selwyn Snowfields; while in Victoria, you have Mt. Buller, Mt. Hotham, Falls Creek and Mt. Baw Baw; and in “Tassie,” as the locals call it, there’s Ben Lomond and Mt. Mawson.
2. You can use the pass you already have
With Vail Resorts and Alterra Mountain Company, Aspen Skiing Company and KSL/Intrawest snapping up resorts left and right, your ski pass is becoming more valuable by the week. In Australia, two of the biggest resorts, Perisher and Thredbo, are on the Epic Pass and Mountain Collective, respectively.
3. You can go pow skiing in August and September
During the Blizzard of Ozz last season, Aussies enjoyed a few days of truly bottomless powder.Who among us doesn’t love a bit of pow? No doubt, in the depths of summer in the Northern Hemisphere the itch for fresh snow can get pretty strong. Last season, there were three major storms that blanketed the alpine regions of Australia with feet upon feet of surprisingly fluffy, dry snow. In the first week of September (which is spring in Australia), Thredbo and Perisher reported 50+ inches of new snow—and the forecast for this season is just as bright.
4. Backcountry skiing is as good as anywhere
Local Beta: The best skiing in Australia is outside the resorts.While the resorts have plenty to offer, the best skiing in Australia is truly outside the ropes, with heaps of day tours and terrain accessible without the need for a mountaineering tent and minus 30-degree sleeping bag. The Main Range backcountry situated behind the Guthega area of Perisher and off the back of Thredbo allow access to well-known zones like Blue Lake, Twin Valleys, The Paralyzer and Leatherbarrel Creek, to name a few. In Victoria, you’ve got Mt. Loch, The Razorback and Swindler Chutes which you can tour in a day. Historically, the snowpack in Australia is pretty stable late into the season, however, avalanches do happen, so don’t forget your beacon, shovel, probe and knowledge to safely navigate the backcountry.
5. There’s an après scene to write home about
In Australia, the après-ski scene varies from resort to resort and each ski area has a few choice watering holes to get your drink on. Here are a few FREESKIER-approved locations: Situated at the top of the Shakey Knees Chairlift at Mt. Buller, the Tirol Cafe is where the locals know to go for a post-ski beverage. On a sunny day, a table on the deck overlooking the resort with a cold beer and a wood-fired pizza is tough to beat.
Because Perisher is made up of four resorts, it lacks a central village; but, that doesn’t mean there’s nowhere to grab a brew and some nachos before you take off your ski boots. The place to be in Perisher is The Man From Snowy River Hotel (not to be confused with the movie) just across the street from the Ski Tube terminal. During the winter, there is live music, food and drink specials du jour, every day of the week.
Finally, at Thredbo, you’ve got the historic Alpine Hotel Lounge Bar in the Village. With $5 Schnapps at happy hour and $10 espresso martinis all day, you can enjoy your drink on the patio—or in the hot tub! And don’t forget to pack your best and brightest ’80s one-piece because once a month during winter Thredbo puts on one of its First Base: Vintage Après Ski Soirees, with the hottest local musical acts performing in the heart of Thredbo Village.
6. You’re guaranteed to see a kangaroo
There are literally kangaroos everywhere around the Snowy Mountains.The majority of the population in Australia lives within 93 miles of the coast—but, as you go inland, the towns get smaller and the wildlife denser. Especially around Thredbo and Perisher, there are countless troops of kangaroos, wallabies and even deer roaming the mountainous landscapes. These animals are more active at night and some of the big male ‘roos can stand over six feet tall, so be careful driving after dark.
7. Thredbo’s annual AFP World Tour stop is one to witness
Alex Hall lands a world-first switch triple cork 1800 at the 2017 One Hit Wonder Big Air.Every September, the AFP World Tour comes to Thredbo for the One Hit Wonder Mountain Festival. Not only is this the only AFP Gold ranked competition in the Southern Hemisphere, historically it has offered the biggest jump on the tour. The event attracts some of the world’s best big air riders and we’ve even seen a few world firsts on the jump, like Alex Hall’s switch triple cork 1800, pictured above.
8. The parks are always improving
Ryley Lucas getting sendy at Thredbo Resort.Mt. Perisher and Thredbo have been in a bit of a battle of the terrain parks over the past few years. While Perisher’s park initially set the benchmark, attracting top pros from around the world to train and hosting two SLVSH cups, Thredbo has recently stepped up its game and riders are noticing. No matter which ski hill you choose, you win because the construction and design of these parks are improving each year.
9. The terrain here is some of the best in the world
The Golf Course Bowl at Thredbo has some pretty big drops…Each resort has its own character but in Australia, you’ll find the most technical terrain at Thredbo, Mt. Buller and Mt. Hotham.
Thredbo has the most vert in Australia (2,204 feet) and the highest lifted point of all the resorts (6,683 feet). The treeless upper spur makes for endless windblown pow turns, and the mountain is littered with giant boulders that make for a veritable mini-golf course of hits, jibs and drops.
Just three hours outside of Melbourne, Mt. Buller offers some of the steepest skiing in Australia. The Summit Chutes are jagged, imposing and packed full of gnar factor, and when it snows, McLaughlin’s Shoulder and Bull Run Bowl are tough to beat.
Mt. Hotham looks like it should be somewhere in Europe not Australia and is one of the most breathtaking areas in the country. Hotham has what they call the “Extreme Zone” which is made up of Gotcha Ridge, the Chute, Mary’s Slide and Coles Bowl. This area feels quite isolated despite being located within the resort boundaries: it’s steep and offers plenty of rocks, trees and gullies—just be careful in the spring as some of the creeks are open and running.
Posted from Freeskier
The post Shred the land down under: Nine reasons to ski Australia appeared first on Ski Federation.
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