Favorite tropical retreat getaway

Baan-Aomjai-guesthouse-prachuap-thailand

What’s your favorite tropical beach town retreat getaway? Such as a writer’s retreat, relaxation / meditation, yoga retreat, cooking / culinary, cozy small beach town retreat getaway? With the snow season in it’s waning phase; as of March 2, we’re looking at about 45 more days until resorts start to close their doors in mid to late April. What’s our pick for a relaxing tropical getaway?

Here’s one of our favorite small beach town tropical retreat which checks off our list of requirements:

✔ Palm trees
✔ Scenic beaches and warm ocean water
✔ Tropical warm sunny weather in an exotic locale
✔ Quiet, relaxing setting
✔ Inexpensive lodging; a good value comparatively
✔ Cheap/inexpensive Thai food with availability of Western restaurant options
✔ Local small beach town charm
✔ Outdoors recreation: scuba, snorkeling, water snow sports, hiking, biking
✔ Night markets
✔ Farmer’s market
✔ Local music scene entertainment
✔ Inexpensive massages and spa treatments

For a $1000 monthly retreat budget; this vacation rental in Prachuap, South Eastern Coastal Thailand checked off all our requirements plus it’s comparatively inexpensive with prices starting at $18 USD per night so a months stay(31 nights) would cost $558 USD which leaves $442 for food, entertainment and massages, etc. In regards to the cost of food; a meal of grilled chicken/fish with sticky rice, made to order papaya salad and Thai iced tea cost only $3.50 USD.

If you want a non-touristy beach town, Prachuap is the place.

​​This vacation rental retreat aptly named Baan Aomjai is located in Prachuap Khiri Khan, a beach side town in Thailand accessible by inexpensive daily express bus ​​from Bangkok airport(BKK) to the scenic beach town, Prachuap. ​​

Baan Aomjai is available as a nightly rental or long term vacation rental; great for all travelers and writers and as a retreat getaway from the busy city life in Bangkok.​ ​They have studios, one and two bedrooms apartment available for rent. ​

​This air-conditioned apartment features free WiFi, a mini-fridge, towels, bed linen, terrace,​ ​free parking,​ ​washing machine​ ​and​ ​flat-screen TVs. Enjoy their ​​relaxing patio aka sala​ ​equipped with an​ ​opened kitchen and dining area.​ It is a very relaxing location surrounded by towering palm trees. There’s also a swimming pool​, gym ​and ​restaurant ​​​​within 5 mins walk of the guesthouse apartment and the scenic Ao Manao beach is within a 20 m​​inutes bike ride. If you’d like a change from the local Thai food, there are good Western food options such as pizza, pasta(Italian), German and French food available​ ​in town.

The owners are very helpful in getting you acquainted with Prachuap and​ ​can help​ ​you pick daily activities to enjoy your vacation or relax at scenic palm trees swaying beach near by and ​go for a swim, get a tan and ​kick your feet up and relax up under a palm tree reading your favorite book.

Highly recommended for those seeking an alternative vacation spot to noisy​ ​city life in​ ​Bangkok.​ Added perks include inexpensive Thai massages in town that starts at only 150 Baht(equal to less than $5 USD) and enjoy night markets for cheap tasty eats and a good place to buy souvenirs for friends and family.

This is a newly built(August 2016) vacation rental and the property is well maintained with daily maid service. Great vacation rental for couples, solo adventurers, business travelers, and families with or without kids.

Check out the rental calendar availability on their Airbnb page at https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/14749791 or on booking.com.

baan-aomjai-vacation-rental-retreat-prachuap-thailand

For a travel guide to the city of Prachuap, read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prachuap_Khiri_Khan_Province.

For transportation options from Bangkok to Prachuap, Thailand, read http://www.prachuapkhirikhan.org/practical-prachuap/transportation-prachuap-khiri-khan/prachuap-bangkok/.

Check out airfare from San Francisco(SFO) to Bangkok(BKK), Thailand.

For a scenic aerial view of the beach town Prachuap, check out this Facebook video.

Here are the top 10 attractions and things to do if you’re planning a vacay getaway in Thailand and aiming to check off the tourist’s top ten to do list.

“Thailand, also known as the Land of Smiles, is a jewel of Southeast Asia. Developed enough to provide most comforts yet still wild enough to offer off-the-beaten path adventure, Thailand is a country ripe with opportunity for once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences. Whether you start with the scenically stunning world-class beaches in the south or the mountain villages in the north, Thailand will not disappoint.” – planetware.com

Btw, if you’ve seen the movie,’The Beach’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio, while vacationing in Thailand, you might want to visit the famous FILM SET of Maya Bay on Ko Phi Phi Lay, an enclave of paradise on the coastline of Koh Phi Phi Leh in Southern Coastal Thailand. Imagine a stunning beach cove, located 30 minutes away from a populated island. A cove whose crystal blue waters are almost glowing(swim, scuba, snorkel to your heart’s content), the sand silky soft under your feet, the surrounding cliff faces beautifully dominant in a protective hug and where the surrounding choppy waters protect the enclave from human invaders.

“You fish, swim, eat, laze around, and everyone’s so friendly. It’s such simple stuff, but… If I could stop the world and restart life, put the clock back, I think I’d restart it like this. For everyone.” – Alex Garland, ‘The Beach’.

*~*

What's your favorite tropical beach town retreat getaway?

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    Survival Guide & Tips: Skiing with Kids

    skiing-with-kids-tahoe

    By Joe Woo, Snowpals’ Resident Ski Gear Tester & Columnist. 

    Skiing with kids. It seems like a simple thing. But let me tell you. If you haven’t done it before and aren’t prepared for it, it can ruin a great time on the slopes. However, with the right preparation, it can be more fun skiing with them than skiing without them. For those of you toying with the idea of finally bringing the kids up or maybe you’re considering bringing up a nephew or niece…read this. What I’ll do first is share some of my kid skiing experience and what we do to make it lots of fun.

    For me, skiing pre-kids was easy. I never thought about anyone else. I never considered having to ski with anyone. If anyone I was skiing with slowed me down or was having a bad time, I could separate from them and meet up with them later. That was no big deal. When you add kids to the mix, things really change. The main thing is that you can’t just dump the kids and continue skiing when they’re cramping your style. When you’re on the mountain with your kids, you’re stuck with them for better or for worse. What is a parent to do?

    Over the last two seasons I’ve come up with a pretty good system for skiing with kids. My wife and I came up with it using trial and error to finally dial in something that works for our family. It was a lot of effort using trial and error and lots of frustration but it was worth it. Why go through all the effort? Why not just dump the kids in ski school for the day so that I could ski without them?

    Cost is an obvious issue, but more importantly skiing with my kids is fun. It is more fun than skiing without them because when they’re having fun, there is nothing better than skiing together, laughing together and watching them learn, grow and overcome all the little challenges of skiing. The look on their face when they accomplish something they didn’t think they could is priceless and worth more than anything in the world. When it is good, skiing with them is better than any skiing I could do on my own.

    So, what’s the issue? Those fun times were rare and didn’t happen often. When they did happen, they were priceless, however it seemed like the bad times outweighed the good times. Finding a way to make those fun times happen more was something I had to do.

    So, how do you do that? What I discovered through two years of trial and error is CCSF. What does this mean? Confidence, Comfort, and Sated (not hungry) equals Fun. If you can get the Confidence, Comfort and Sate (not hungry) issues right that will equal Fun for your family. Lets look closer at each element.

    Confidence

    Confidence is a very important thing for anyone. It is especially important for kids to have when skiing. I’ll go so far as to say that confidence is so important that I believe it is the foundation to successful family skiing. Without confidence, the kids will never want to ski, will dread skiing and will make your time on the mountain miserable. You should do everything in your power to build your kids confidence in skiing.

    How do you do that? For us we decided to always try and put our kids in skiing situations that we knew they could be successful. We never made them do anything we knew they would fail at. They quickly built confidence the second day they ever skied. The thing that built confidence the most was succeeding in tasks when they were scared of doing something even though I knew they could do it. These were the cases where I pushed them hard because I knew they could do it, but they needed to realize they could do it and when they did it you could see the confidence grow.

    For example, my 5 year old son refused to ski without being between my legs and me holding him down the bunny slope. I knew he would crash at first if he tried skiing by himself as this was his first time on skis. After about 5 runs between my legs I started to stop actively holding him and he would ski holding me. Then after a few runs of doing that we would stop halfway down the hill, put his skis in pizza and let him go so that he was standing still on the hill in pizza. Then I would go about 10 feet in front of him and tell him to slide to me. At first it was a struggle because he didn’t want me to let go of him. He would cry when I would let go. I just wanted him to slide to me in pizza. He didn’t have to stop. I would catch him. But he was scared to do it, but I knew he could do it and he finally did through the cries and tears. Once he realized he had actually done it, he did it again.

    At first it was 10 feet, then 20 feet and I would stop him. If he veered off course I would slide over to catch him. Then I told him to stop by himself and he just did it. He was amazed that he could stop by himself and the rest is history. He skied the rest of the day by himself without ever turning. Just pizza strait down the hill with his arms held in front of him like he was ready to do some serious karate chops. His way to balance I guess. The next day he was turning back and fourth and excited about skiing.

    My daughter was the same progression at the same time. Soon they got bored of the slope and asked to do another lift. We moved onto another beginner lift with slightly steeper terrain and a longer run. That was last year at Diamond Peak. They gained so much confidence at Diamond Peak, Mt. Rose and Squaw Valley. I continued to teach them parallel skiing and my daughter is no longer in pizza. My son is in an advanced pizza today, but is almost ready for parallel skiing.

    Today my younger son is six and my daughter is eight and both are happily skiing black diamonds off Red Dog, KT-22, Headwall and other lifts at Squaw Valley. My older son is actually skiing (as opposed to just surviving down) West Face, Tower 16 and the various terrains off Silverado chair! It is amazing what a little confidence can do. My kids are testament to that without ever having professional ski lessons. Whatever you do, make sure the kids gain lots of confidence. I truly believe it is the foundation to successful family skiing.

    Comfort

    Now your kids are confident skiers. Is that it? Not really. No matter how confident they are, if they are not comfortable, they will complain and ruin your day. Kids are not mature enough to overcome the little issues so they don’t ruin the big things like a fun day of skiing. Our kids are pretty tough and the last thing we do is baby them, but every kid has a limit to what comfort they’re willing to give up on to have fun on the slopes.

    It is important that you take the time to learn what your kids comfort limits are and make sure those needs are satisfied. My kids don’t complain that much about their comfort. I think it is because I’ve invested in making sure they stay warm and dry no matter the conditions. They have top of the line ski pants, jackets, gloves, base and mid layers. They have great helmets and goggles. Goggles were an issue and I finally got them decent stuff that doesn’t fog and they can clean easily. Another important piece of equipment was the neck gator. It seals out the cold air getting in from the neck. The kids rarely complain about being cold or wet and it is one less issue we have to worry about.

    Sate

    Kids don’t do well when they’re hungry. Instead you sould make it a priority to make sure they’re sated and not hungry. This one is really simple. Kids start getting moody and melting down when they get hungry. It is amazing. They are like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Feed your kids periodically and your chances are better at having a great day. We discovered that if we have a big breakfast, lunch around 12:30 or 1, 2:30 heavy snack and small snacks on the lifts in between, we avoid the hunger meltdown altogether. Now I always have a large Hershey bar in my pocket and on every other lift ride, I’ll give each kid one piece to eat. This system has worked great this season.

    Skiing with your kids can be fun and very rewarding. Just remember that kids have unique needs that you have to consider. The best way I know is to remember CCSF. Confidence, Comfort and Sated equals Fun. Try is next time you’re out with the kids. Good luck!

    =====

    More skiing with kids tips for parents..

    From Jeremy Feinberg, a Ski Instructor at Kirkwood for 6 years plus, a certified PSIA Level 2 instructor, training for Level 3; he teaches skill levels that range from first timers to expert; he coaches a Progression team that skis 99% of the legal terrain at Kirkwood.

    As someone who makes their living teaching children how to ski I can say that there are some good things in this survival guide; a comfortable and well fed child is one who is set up for success, and depending on the child, confidence can be a limiting factor, however in the 1+ page of text there was very little emphasis on skill development and no mention at all of the physical and cognitive limitations that change as a child grows.

    That being said, a few things to keep in mind include: 

    It’s hard to learn new skills when people are on terrain that is at the edge of their comfort level, dial it back, gain ownership over the movements and then take it to the steeper snow.

    Confidence can be a good thing, but you can have too much of a good thing… your child needs to ski in control and not be a menace or hazard.

    Leash and harness systems enable parents to get younger kids on the snow but can reinforce bad habits, however the harnesses themselves can be useful for picking up kids from the snow and helping them on to the lift.

    The Edgy Wedgie can be a useful teaching tool, try it for a run or two, take if off and see if the child can stop without it… use it for a few runs, not a few days or seasons.  

    If its your child’s first time skiing, start on a small hill below the lift, 30-50 feet long and almost flat with a flat runout at the bottom, or a gradual uphill if you can find it, learn to stop there, then head to the chair.

    Some children perform at a higher level with their parents around, some excel within their peer group under the tutelage of an experienced coach, it helps to know which group your child falls into

    The pace of skill development as detailed in the Survival Guide sounds about right, just keep in mind that today I had a 6 year old girl first time skier (along with a five year old girl with separation anxiety issues whose mother checked her out after lunch) who was able to stop within the first hour, we were on the chairlift before lunch and making turns.  By the time her parents picked her up (1/2 hour early) she had taken several runs through the trees. Tomorrow after a brief warm up she will be ready for the lower intermediate lift.  Her older brother who was on a snowboard was unwilling to follow us through the woods.    Her parents were impressed by her success and gave me a generous tip.

    If you want to get your child out of the wedge and making turns that have a least some parallel at the end of each turn, and you want that to happen quickly, ski school is the place for your child, especially on the weekdays when group sizes are small and only experienced and highly certified instructors are getting any work.  

    Please don’t be that person who has their child skiing advanced terrain in a power wedge, if you are going to ski with your child and teach them how to ski, make the day about them, you need to be there to support them and help them along the way.  

    Recognize the limitations of your own teaching abilities and don’t let your child (or yourself) get stuck in the skill rut; if you have any questions about how this can manifest one can use the intermediate rut as an example: go to most ski resorts and watch the way people on the intermediate runs ski, particularly how they initiate their turns.  What you will see in most cases are varying degrees of stem (wedge or pizza) to start the turn.  People make this movement because they are not comfortable performing a movement that ski instructors call crossover.

    Crossover is the movement that separates advanced skiers from people that ski advanced terrain, it is defined my crossing your center of mass over your skis, down the hill into the new turn (basically throwing one’s body down the hill, swooping your skis underneath the body to catch the center of mass)  

    Crossover one example of a movement that can define a skill rut, it’s difficult to teach and limits a person’s ability to explore and enjoy the mountain.

    **On a related note** Teaching the spouse or significant other how to ski is tough, I call it the relationship tester, put that person in a group or private lesson, meet up for lunch and ski together in the afternoon, at their pace, where the instructor said would be a good place to ski.  Your romantic relationship is one of equals, the student/teacher relationship is not, things can get ugly quick.

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    An Insider’s Guide to Ski Leases: Tips and Advice

    apres-ski-club     heavenly-condo-rental

    Ski Leases. The Ins and Outs of Getting Into One. I’d like to talk to you about ski leases. Not the kind to lease ski equipment, but condo and cabin rentals for an entire ski season for ski addicts like us. I had never heard of one until the end of last season. After I learned about them, they seemed so intriguing and beneficial to my situation that I had to learn more. I finally got into one and would like to tell you about my experience with my first ski lease. By doing so, I hope that you will gain some insight into them and learn about what they are and how you too can get into one. I’ll start with my story and then provide a general description of a ski lease and then some tips from people that have lots of experience with them. Hopefully this will help you into your very own ski lease.

    So, I discovered ski leases I saw them as a great ski housing opportunity for me and my family. You see, I’ve come back to skiing full tilt after almost 20 years of hiatus. Back in the day, I skied every opportunity I could get and being young and without responsibilities, never had an issue finding a place to crash when up in Tahoe. Back then, the freedom of being able to drive up to Tahoe, bum around, ski lots and have really no worries about a place to stay was taken for granted.

    Flash forward twenty some-odd years and is it still that way? We all know that answer to that. Marriage and kids have become the major parts of the equation. Since the kids are now old enough to ski all day without a meltdown, we can go up a lot. However now when we go its not just me and my buds anymore. Can you imagine going up to Tahoe with my wife and three kids to just show up at someone’s place ready to crash there? It just doesn’t work that way anymore.

    What is a family to do? Buying a ski house is out of the question right now. We could book a hotel stay, but that gets very expensive especially for those of us with a ski season pass with the goal of getting in as many ski days as possible. How about day trips? We gave had to go that route towards the end of last season because we were spending an ungodly amount of money on hotel stays. I’m sure I’m in a similar boat to many of you out there. The solution for someone like us was the seasonal ski lease.

    What is it? Basically it is a rental of a condo or cabin in Tahoe for the ski season. If you know you’re going to Tahoe often for skiing then renting a condo/cabin for the ski season is a great alternative to paying for hotels/other lodging each time you go up. It can be more cost effective but also more convenient because you can leave your ski gear and clothing at your ski lease cabin and not worry about having a place to stay and the chore of having to pack for every ski trip. Combined with a season pass to your favorite ski resort, the major expenses are covered and you’ll only have the cost of meals and gas to worry about. If you’re a ski nut like me and aren’t yet in a similar situation, I can’t express how priceless it is to have peace of mind, comfort, and the convenience of having a ski season pass and a place to stay anytime during the season taken care of.

    If you’re ready to take the plunge into a ski lease, how do you get into one of these great deals? Through my research, I’ve discovered three ways.

    1- you can deal directly with the owner of a property and lease the place for you and your family for the season. If that is too costly, then you could ask families that you know if they’d want to go in with you and share the cost of the lease.

    2 – you could contact a local professional that brokers these kinds of deals. I haven’t had much luck finding these professionals though. From what I’ve heard and if you can find one, they can put you in touch with owners that are looking to rent out their property. Once in touch with the owner, you could do the lease yourself or put together a group of members to split the cost. A good resource for Lake Tahoe area ski lease membership offerings is listed on Snowpals.

    3 – you could go to online resources and search for individuals that already have a deal in place with the owner of the property and are looking for additional “members”. For those of you that are new to this, this route is probably the easiest way to enter the ski lease world. Snowpals is a great resource for Tahoe ski leases and has an entire section dedicated to available Tahoe area ski lease opportunities. For those of you looking for ski leases in areas outside of Tahoe, you could check TGR, Epicski forums or Craigslist for postings.

    The cost per membership varies and there are so many options out there. I’ve seen listings on Snowpals for full season(typically December to April) ski lease membership for one person from $600 all the way to $2000. If you’re single and can spend just $600 for lodging for an entire season–that’s an amazing deal; let’s say you stay at the ski lease for a total of 30 nights, your cost per night would be $20 per night. Naturally, the more nights you stay, the more value you get from the ski lease. Signing up for ski lease membership is a great way to maximize your ski season pass since it encourages you to go up to Tahoe the night before and be close to the ski resort and can take advantage of a good night’s rest and skiing/riding fresh tracks/powder when resorts open. Also, the value of beating the crowds and traffic to the resort is priceless. In addition, getting into a ski lease gives you the chance to expand your social circle and make new friends.

    So, how did I find my ski lease? I got into mine by letting everyone I knew know that I wanted to learn about ski leases and my desire of joining one. Within a short period of time, a friend contacted me to ask if my wife and I would be willing to go in with them on a ski lease. He knew the owners of a great place in Truckee and they mentioned to him that they wanted to rent the place for the ski season. I told him absolutely and that we should jump on that. We brought our families together along with one other family and now we have a great house to stay in any time we want from Dec 14 to May 15. Each “member” in our group is each family. We each paid an equal lump sum on November 1, have no guest fees and our lump sum cost includes all utilities and snow removal. It is such a great deal. Of course, if another family is up there when we go up, we must share the space with them, but since we all know each other and our kids are all friends, other members being up there makes our stay more fun. Also a great benefit is that we take turns watching the kids so each set of parents get some down time. We also rotate turns cooking so that gives us more quality time to enjoy our time together.

    So what are some of the pitfalls? There have to be some, right? From my research, most pitfalls come from a misunderstanding of the rules of use when in a group ski lease. If you leased the place on your own, then the rules are yours and yours alone. However, if you are going into a ski lease as part of a group, then it is important to understand the rules otherwise there could be trouble. Of course it is important to click with the other members and if you do then it is important to nail down whatever rules all the members of the ski lease decide on. Here are some things to consider from my wise and experienced ski lease mates, Eric and Andy:

    • What does your membership cost include? Make sure you know up front what your membership cost includes and what other expenses (if any) you’ll be responsible for at the end of the lease (e.g. utilities, firewood, hot tub maintenance, snow removal, house cleaning services, etc.)
    • Guest fees. Some ski leases charge “guest fees” for non-members to stay overnight to cover any additional expenses for lease. Make sure you are clear about guest fees in your ski lease and the rules for them
    • Parking. What are rules for parking? Last thing you want is to go up late Friday night and not have a parking space or at least be prepared for no parking space. Consider the option to carpool or ride share to your ski cabin if you don’t have alot of people in your family and empty seats in the van/SUV.
    • Storage of your stuff. Can you store stuff at the ski cabin/ski lease and if so what are the rules and where do you store your stuff?
    • Priority for bedrooms. If it is important for you to be in a bedroom, then what are the chances that you might not get one if everyone in the membership happens to be up at the same time. Some ski leases have agreements to allocate a dedicated bedroom where it is solely yours for the entire season which is very beneficial to bringing your own bedding and store your winter clothing and gear in the closet for convenience and easy access.

    So, if you go up to Tahoe a lot and need the convenience of your own home without the financial commitment, but want a more cost effective solution than hotels/motels, a ski lease is the way to go. There are so many different options available out there. A great place to start is our very own snowpals.org ski lease section of the website. If you’re in a different area than Tahoe, you can also try craigslist, TGR, epicski, snowheads forum and other places online in your search to join a ski lease.

    Many thanks to Eric and Andy, my ski lease mates who share their many years of experience and useful advice on how best to get into a ski lease and reap the benefits of maximizing our ski season pass, lodging cost savings and most of all, deepening our friendship with shared experiences. Also many thanks to those of you who provided me with some great stories and advice.

    Read more about ski leases and/or list yours

    Take care and enjoy!

    Joe Woo is Snowpals’ Resident Ski Gear Tester & Columnist. He lives with his family in the North Bay.

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    How to join SnowPals

    Life is about the friendships we nurture, the places we visit, and the memorable experiences we share; SnowPals invite you to join us to share skiing and snowboarding experiences that will contribute to your collection of life’s treasured memories. Join us to connect with skiers and snowboarders of all levels for Tahoe trips and ski/ride trips to other snow destinations. You know the story, after college, once settled in with a professional career, our circle of friends and activity partners become smaller by each passing year unless effort is made to reach out and connect with people who share common interests; well, here’s your chance. 😉

    “Create ski and snowboarding memories today so when you’ll look back through the years, those are the moments that will be most vivid and will likely to triggered joyful smiles.”- Snowpals

    What have adventure(s) you checked off your bucket list this year?

    How do I join? Is there a membership fee?

    We have a one-time membership fee of $20. This one-time fee helps us pay for web hosting, technical website services, group management and various operations such as facilitating Bay Area-Tahoe ride shares and organizing social events. Our aim is to help you connect with like-minded people, network with other Bay Area professionals, and generally, grow your circle of friends. Our activities include pre-snow season ski-and-ride movie screenings, social events, and parties. Snowpals is a dynamic, fun, friendly and engaging alternative to traditional ski and snowboard clubs for busy Bay Area professionals. Members range from newbies to experts in snow sports. Members ages vary from 18 to well into the 70s(single people and married couples with and without kids).

    Membership perks include:

    ✔ Access to our Tahoe ridesharing members network of 8,025 members as of March 2017 (a free alternative to fee-based Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing services)
    ✔ 10% off social events
    ✔ Entry into our swag and lift tickets raffle giveaway
    ✔ In the off-season, we may facilitate connections for outdoors activities such as hiking, road cycling, mountain biking, wakeboarding, surfing, etc. to encourage an active lifestyle.

    Founded in 1999; as of March 1, 2017, we have grown to 8,025 members. Join us to celebrate 18 years of snow sports activities and connect with members for Tahoe trips. Here are some feedback from people who’ve joined.

    A screen shot of a few postings from our forum:

    Snowpals-group-forum

    New Member Sign-Up

    Submit this form to become a member of SnowPals. The next page will request a one-time $20 membership fee payment. The fee is nonrefundable, however, your membership is transferable to another person if you so choose within 14 days of payment. Please note that, in accordance with our Privacy Policy, your personal info and email address will not be given or sold to anyone.
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

    ** Once you’ve submitted the above membership form, we’ll contact you within 24 hours to request the $20 one-time membership fee via PayPal. Once payment has been received, we’ll send you an invite to join the forum.

    * The group’s name was changed from Ski Pals to Snow Pals to include all snow sports (ski, snowboard, cross-country, telemark, back-country, and snowshoe).

    Got a question? Drop us a line via  and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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    Benefits of a ski lease

    benefits of joining a ski lease

    Benefits of a ski lease:

    • You have your own Tahoe vacation home for the entire ski season.
    • Convenience of being able to leave all personal belongings and ski gear instead of packing and repacking for every trip.
    • Peace of mind knowing you have a place to stay for weekends and holidays when hotel rates are expensive. Having a ski lease saves you (1) money over the long term and (2) the hassle of booking hotel and lodging during popular periods such as holidays.
    • A great perk with the ability to invite guests and entertain in your own ski lease home.
    • Save money by being able to BBQ or cook your own meals.
    • Sleep in your own bed and have the ability to do laundry.

    Do you have a season pass or plan to buy one? Would you like to put your season pass to maximum use by logging as many days as you can? Consider joining a ski lease for lodging convenience and save money over the long run.

    Let’s say the average ski lease membership costs about $1,200 for five months, from Dec. 1 to April 30. Let’s say you ski/ride for three weekends a month(or 6 days a month) or a total of 30 days for the season; the cost would break down to $40 per day. That’s inexpensive(a great value) compared to weekend hotel rates in Lake Tahoe which typically cost $80 or more on the weekends and significantly more expensive on holiday weekends. It’s easy to find out whether joining a ski lease is viable or not by figuring out how many total days you plan to ski/ride over the entire season; using that number to divide by the cost of joining the ski lease which will give you a per day cost.

    In addition, becoming a member of a ski lease is a great way to expand your social circle, meet people to ski/ride with, share transportation expenses to Tahoe and make new friends.

    Read our ski lease guide for some useful tips and advice on organizing a ski lease.

    Looking to join a Tahoe ski lease for 2012-13 season? View available ski leases at:

    http://www.snowpals.org/leases

    Ski leases are as low as $750 and up depending on duration, location and how many members. If you are looking for members to join your ski lease, list it on Snowpals to get it in front of thousands of SF Bay Area skiers and boarders for referrals! Check out our ski lease listing and our vacation rentals listing.

    ♥ Share this page with friends and family via email, twitterfacebook.

    New to Snowpals? Sign up for Tahoe rideshare, mixers, get advice, interact with members by joining the group.

    Are you a property owner looking to lease your place?

    Read up on our tips for drafting effective ski lease agreements.

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    Tahoe weekend getaway: colorful Autumn drives & events

    alpine county fall color lake tahoe fall colors

    When’s the best time to see the color of fall foliage around Tahoe?

    You don’t have to live on the East Coast to enjoy Autumn’s foliage colors. Plan a Tahoe weekend getaway to feast your eyes on the fiesta of fall color happening from the end of September through October when the color changes are most dramatic. Mid-October is usually at the peak of fall foliage for a temperate fall season where the change in temperature is gradual and when the weather pattern eases into winter. If, however, there is a sudden cold front or an early snow, fall leaves can depart the trees practically overnight. 2012 fall season is looking to be mild so far as of September 19, 2012.

    Around Lake Tahoe, aspens are the main trees displaying the mountains with a mix of gold and orange. Other trees changing foliage colors: big leaf maple (the first to change, between 3,000 and 4,000 feet in elevation is dressed in bright yellow) dogwood (5,000′, dogwood are pink and green), and black oak(tinged with orange leaves).

    Scenic Lake Tahoe drives & points of interest:

    • Drive up the Mt. Rose Scenic Byway
    • Drive around Lake Tahoe south on Highway 28 on the Nevada side
    • Spooner Lake is a good scenic place for an easy walk through the trees around the lake.
    • Marlette Lake offers excellent intermediate hiking; providing several miles of golden aspens.
    • Drive on US 50, from Zephyr Cove to Stateline and South Lake Tahoe, fall color cascades from the mountain slopes down to Lake Tahoe shores.
    • Hope Valley, south of Lake Tahoe, is one of the best vibrant aspen color showing around. Hope Valley draws photographers galore seeking to capture the essence fall color display.
    • If you’d like to be at the center of it all, immerse yourself in the vibrant colors of fall by visiting the city of Markleeville(also known as the Alpine County seat). Plan a weekend getaway to go hiking, biking, camping and enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot spring pool at Grove Hot Springs State Park. Make your plans soon because the colors of Autumn might be here today and gone tomorrow. Before you know it, snowflakes will be fluttering to earth blanketing landscapes white.
    Tahoe’s Autumn Notable Events:
    • Oktoberfest at the Village at Squaw Valley on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012 starting at 11:00 am (enjoy Bratwurst,  excellent German beers, free entertainment & live music).
    • The 3rd Annual Lake Tahoe Restaurant Week, October 7-14, 2012, gives foodies an opportunity to enjoy 3-course, prix-fixe menus for lunches and dinners at 25+ participating restaurants throughout the Lake Tahoe region for $20, $30 or $40 per person. “The Tahoe Restaurant Week is a celebration of the scrumptious cuisine and culinary talent that has made the Lake Tahoe region the best mountain dining destination in the country. Delight your palate with menus that incorporate organic, seasonal and local ingredients – all served up at Lake Tahoe’s charming and historic eateries and bistros.”  – View a list of participating Tahoe Restaurants.

    Tips:

    1. Call hotels in the area you’d like to visit and inquire to see if Autumn foliage colors are at their peak before making a visit.
    2. Keep tabs on California locations with the most dramatic fall color changes by visiting California Fall Color.

     

     

    Tahoe Ski Resorts are Hiring!

    Looking for a job? Why not work and play at your favorite ski resort?

    October and November are job fair months. Tahoe Ski Resorts are Hiring for the 2012-13 ski season! Applicants are encouraged to apply online, at the job fair or in person. Here’s a  summary on who’s hiring; visit your resort of interest for more information on job openings and how to apply. Good luck! 🙂

    Lake Tahoe Ski Resort Jobs

    1. North Lake Tahoe

    • Alpine Meadows & Squaw Valley USA –

      Get a job this winter at Squaw Valley or Alpine Meadows! Working at Squaw and Alpine offers you the opportunity to mix fun and recreation, make lifetime friendships, garner personal achievements and get valuable work experience. The Job Fair will be held in Olympic House at Squaw Valley. Applicants must apply online prior to the Job Fair, which is by invitation only. Walk-ins will be permitted, but not guaranteed an interview. Job Fair Date: 11/03 – 10:00am to 6:00pm at Olympic House, Squaw Valley. Phone: 530-452-7112

      Learn about the open positions and apply online  |  Benefits of working at Squaw/Alpine

    • Boreal – BOREAL JOB FAIR

      OCTOBER 20, 2012 ~ 10 AM – 2PM @ BOREAL MOUNTAIN RESORT

      Take the opportunity to meet with Boreal managers in person.  Interview for one or several winter positions available for the 2012/2013 ski season.  The job fair will take place in the Boreal cafeteria from 10 am – 2pm on October 22, 2011 with interviews on a first-come first-serve basis.  Apply online today and you could potentially have a job line-up prior to the job fair.

    • Diamond Peak
    • Homewood
    • Mt. Rose
    • Northstar-at-Tahoe (part of Vail Resorts)
    • Sugar Bowl – Job Fair – October 20th

      Mark your calendars for our on-site Job Fair on Saturday October 20th from 8am – 3pm at the Mt Judah Day Lodge. You will have an opportunity to meet with managers from all different departments and interview for the position that best suits you!

      We provide a welcoming escape from everyday life that brings family and friends together, creating memories of all-mountain adventures. Come join the Sugar Bowl team. It’s Your Turn…

      Working at Sugar Bowl has its advantages:

      • Free Unrestricted Season Pass
      • Season Passes for dependents of full-time employees
      • Flexible schedules
      • Half off food
      • Rental and retail discounts
      • Discounted childcare for children 4 to 6 (Mon – Fri, non-holiday)
      • Complimentary lift tickets for friends and family
      • A variety of employee activities

    2. South Lake Tahoe

    • Heavenly Mountain Resort (part of Vail Resorts) – 2012/2013 Heavenly Resort Job Fair at the California LodgeSaturday, October 20, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
      You must apply online prior to attending the job fair at  www.jobs.vailresorts.com

      HEAVENLY SEASONAL AND YEAR-ROUND EMPLOYMENT

      Have you ever wondered what it is like to ski or ride in fresh powder thousands of feet above one of the most pristine alpine lakes in the world? Do you like meeting new people from all over the world? How about sunshine? Would you like to live, work and play in a state that averages over 300 days of sunshine per year?

      Well if you answered yes to any of these questions, then welcome to Heavenly, Lake Tahoe’s premier winter playground! Jaw-dropping views of Lake Tahoe, combined with enthusiastic and dependable employees, makes Heavenly one of the greatest places to work in the world. Our guests consistently rank Heavenly as having some of the most helpful, friendly, knowledgeable, and customer-oriented employees in the resort industry.

      Here at Heavenly the only thing deeper than our snow is our commitment to our guests and your work experience, so come join us this winter and help make our ski resort a destination like no other. Please take time to explore our employment website and see what Heavenly has to offer!

      And did we mention the location? Well South Lake is located only 180 miles (290 km) east of San Francisco, 140 miles (225 km) north of Yosemite National Park and 60 miles (95 km) west of Reno.

    • Kirkwood (part of Vail Resorts) – 2012/13 Kirkwood Job Fair Saturday, October 13 from 9:00am – 3:00pm at the Red Cliffs Building at Kirkwood Mountain ResortBe sure to complete an online application by clicking here prior to attending a job fair.Have you ever wondered what it is like to ski or ride in fresh powder on your lunch break?  Do you like meeting new people from all over the world?  How about sunshine?  Would you like to live, work and play in a state that averages over 300 days of sunshine per year?Well if you answered yes to any of these questions, then welcome to Kirkwood, the Sierra Nevada’s premier winter playground!  Jaw-dropping views, combined with enthusiastic and dependable employees, makes Kirkwood one of the greatest places to work in the world.Here at Kirkwood the only thing deeper than our snow is our commitment to our guests and your work experience, so come join us this winter and help make our ski resort a destination like no other. Please take time to explore our employment website and see what Kirkwood has to offer!
    • Sierra-at-Tahoe – If you are interested in any of our winter positions for the 2012/13 season, please complete an online application and plan on attending our Hiring Fair on Saturday, November 3, 2012. Department Supervisors will be on site conducting interviews in the Main Lodge from 9am – 2pm.

     

     

     

    Tips for Drafting Lease Property Rental Agreements

    Property owners, are you considering turning your vacation rental property into a seasonal lease? Consider the following tips when drafting your lease agreement..

    Tips for Drafting Ski Property Rental Agreements
    By David B Cronheim, an attorney at Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus, PA

    It’s that time of year again. Winter is just around the corner and skiers and snowboarders are beginning to book their winter getaways. Most homeowners and real estate agents are focused on getting their properties ready for the busy ski season ahead. Understandably, the rental agreement they use to rent those properties is often one of the last things they consider. After all, many have a form agreement – often the same one they have used for years – and use it for every rental. The importance of a good lease is often overlooked.

    Why should a homeowner or real estate agent care about having a well-drafted lease, particularly when the chances of litigation are remote? Simple. A good lease affords powerful protections. Basic issues like nightly rates, cleaning fees, and damage deposits are only a small part of any good rental agreement.  A lease sets expectations in advance, can prevent problems before they arise and puts the law more clearly on the owner’s side in the event of a dispute. Even if you don’t plan on suing any of your guests, by setting expectations before arrival you may be able to deter destructive conduct. Unruly groups inclined to break the rules may look elsewhere if they understand the potential financial consequences.

    It’s also good general practice to communicate clearly with potential guests. Commit conversations to writing via e-mail, but choose your words carefully. You’re not trying to sneak something past a potential guest, but rather trying to set expectations.
    It’s also good general practice to communicate clearly with potential guests. Commit conversations to writing via e-mail, but choose your words carefully. You’re not trying to sneak something past a potential guest, but rather trying to set expectations.

    DRAFTING TIPS

    A carefully drafted lease is key to successfully renting out a ski house.
    Before discussing how to draft a better lease, it is important to note that a lease is not technically a contract. It is similar to a contract and generally interpreted under contract law principles, but because it is also a conveyance of real property (albeit a temporary one), a lease has some important areas of distinction from a normal contract. The most important distinction is that a rental guest is not merely a party to a contract, but a tenant afforded certain rights under state landlord-tenant laws.

    It is worth noting that an effective agreement doesn’t need to be long. In fact some of the best agreements are simple, but on-point. However, there are certain elements which all rental agreements should include. These components may seem obvious, but their nuances are often overlooked. Below are some tips for drafting a better lease for your vacation rental.

    Term

    Every lease agreement should specify a rental period. Be specific. Instead of using just a date, use a date and time. State check-in and check-out times clearly. This is particularly important because houses are often rented by two groups back to back. List a morning time for check-out and an afternoon time for check-in. Well-drafted leases often also include an hourly fee for late check-outs. You don’t have to assess the fee, but when guests know it’s hanging over their heads, they’re more likely to leave on time.

    Rate

    Clearly state the rental rate. Even if the rate is calculated nightly, include a sum total. Be sure to note whether the rate includes things like taxes, cleaning fees, or surcharges. Have the guest initial next a grand total. Being clear upfront isn’t only important from a legal standpoint, it’s good business. Guests will feel blindsided by hidden fees, often leaving a bad taste and lessening the chances the guest becomes a repeat customer.

    Security Deposit vs. Insurance

    Many sophisticated property owners or real estate agents will give guests a choice between a security deposit and rental insurance. Providing this option can make your property more attractive because many guests are wary of putting down a large damage deposit. Some guests may have experienced unscrupulous owners who wrongfully retained all or some of their deposit. Still others may view the deposit as part of the overall cost of the rental, even though it will be returned. Either way, be sure to protect yourself by requiring one or the other.

    If you decide to go with a security deposit, be explicit that the guest is liable for any damage to the property regardless of whether it exceeds the security deposit. Withholding a security deposit is merely your first recourse. Should a guest do serious damage to the property, you want to reserve the right to sue (or threaten to sue) them to recover for your loss.

    Tailor the Agreement to Your Property

    A one-size fits all, “fill in the blanks” lease from the internet is not the best way to maximize your protections. Make sure that your agreement is tailored to your property. Every property is unique and has unique challenges. Consider issues you may have had in the past and try to anticipate future problems. For example, are guests damaging your wooden floors by clomping around in ski boots? Include a clause prohibiting ski boots in the house.

    Do you have a specific list of “House Rules” that you post somewhere on the property or give to guests before or upon arrival? Incorporate these rules by reference into your lease and attach them as an exhibit. Require guests to agree to abide by the rules. Incorporating your house rules transforms polite suggestions into legal duties.

    Keep it Simple – No Overly Long or Complex Agreements!

    An agreement that is too long, complicated or written in “legal-ese” can scare off potential guests. Mean what you say and say what you mean, but say it as simply and clearly as possible. If you find yourself using phrases like “party of the second part” and “inter alia,” start over.

    It’s important to keep in mind that a good lease does not have to be long. Each of the specific issues discussed in this article can be accomplished in a well-written sentence or two apiece. Keep it simple so guests understand what they are signing. They are less likely to object to you enforcing your rights under the lease if they understood your rights and their duties when they entered into the agreement.

    Specific Provisions to Consider Including

    Liquidated Damages Clause

    Liquidated damages clauses can be a powerful tool. State with specificity that if guests do something they shouldn’t, a certain fee will apply. The fee should be reasonable and roughly approximate damage. For example, include a provision that failure to replace the cover on a hot tub or to take out the trash will result in certain deductions from the security deposit.

    It is important to remember that these provisions cannot be penalties. The law disfavors penalty clauses. Courts generally will not enforce them, so be sure to tie the liquidated damages provision to a reasonable estimate of the damage. A fee of $2,000 for failing to take out the trash won’t be enforceable, but $50 probably would be.

    No Refund for Bad Weather

    You’ll likely want to include a provision disclaiming responsibility for unfavorable weather. If it rains or there’s no snow, you want to make sure the lease is still in effect. No one can control the weather, but you can control who takes the risk of bad weather (hint: not you!).

    Right of Entry of Homeowner at Reasonable Time

    If you’re concerned about unruly guests and want to be able to check on your house during the guests’ stay, consider a clause permitting you to enter for a reasonable purpose. Include what those reasonable purposes may be.

    Rental Only to Family Groups

    If you don’t want to rent to groups of college kids throwing a keg party, don’t. Insert a provision which states you only rent to family groups. Then make the lease signer represent that the group is a family group. You can always remove this clause if the circumstances warrant.

    Occupancy Caps

    In conjunction with restricting your rental to family groups, a maximum occupancy can deter the type of destructive guests you don’t want. Include a per guest fee for overcapacity, should you discover it. Deduct that fee from the deposit if you discover guests exceeding the maximum occupancy.

    Representations and Warranties

    Be careful not to promise something you don’t have. If that hot tub hasn’t worked in years, don’t list it as an amenity on your promotional materials.

    Immediate Termination of Lease and Repossession by Homeowner in Event of Breach

    A recurring problem facing homeowners is what to do when they discover unruly conduct at their property while the guests are still there. Consider a provision that allows you to immediately regain possession of the property for a material breach of the lease. It’s important to note, however, that you’d technically still need to go to court to evict the guests because they’re tenants, but you can always tell the unruly guests to vacate before you’re forced to get the sheriff to serve an eviction notice.

    FINAL THOUGHTS

    The most important thing a strong lease can do for a property owner is save them money. Having a professionally drafted lease is a small upfront cost that pays off over the long term. A good lease can put arguments to rest before they turn nasty by setting expectations in advance. A clear, concise agreement which protects your interests is a valuable tool for any homeowner. After all, if a dispute does occur, you have your answer. It’s all right there in black and white.

    Author David B. Cronheim, Esq. is the Chief Legal Correspondent for First Tracks!! Online and is an attorney at Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus, PA in Bridgewater, N.J. For more information or for assistance in drafting or updating a vacation rental agreement, please feel free to contact the author at . Source: http://www.firsttracksonline.com

    ###

    Looking to join a Tahoe ski lease for 2012-13 season? view available ski leases at:

    http://www.snowpals.org/leases

    Ski leases are as low as $750 and up depending on duration, location and how many members. If you are looking for members to join your ski lease, list it on snowpals to get referrals.

    Advertise on Snowpals to get it in front of thousands of SF Bay Area skiers and boarders! Check out our ski lease listing and our vacation rentals listing.

     

     

    Donate your old ski clothing & gear to a good cause

    Please donate your old ski and snowboard clothing & gear to a good cause:

    My name is Ron Schwartz, I’m preserting TGR’s Ski Film in Stockton as fundraiser to provide a ski / snowboard experience for less fortunate inner-city youths and I’m following up with a request for used ski and snowboard clothing and gear donations.

    If you have used, yet still functional, winter clothing, parkas, fleeces, thermal underwear, gloves, old snowboards, skis that you no longer need, please consider donating them. Your donation would benefit the Edison High School Alpine Winter Sports Club serving less fortunate inner-city youths.

    If it’s equipment donations, it has to be late model enough(for example, please no old straight skis or old ski bindings) so kids can learn how to easily ski and snowboard.

    Please mail your donations to Ron Schwartz P.O. Box 4771 Stockton, CA 95204-4771

    I can also pick up donations in the Bay Area from time-to-time; please contact me to make arrangements.

    Our first ski trip will be to Bear Valley where the resort has a special first-timers program in mid-late January 2011.

    The first trip includes rentals, but after that, the club will attempt to provide the necessary equipment with your kind donations. Special advance thanks for your consideration and kind donations.

    If you have any questions or would like to contact me to arrange for a donation pick-up, please contact:

    Ron Schwartz, 510.867.6825 or by email

    Remember to say that you saw this donation request on SnowPals.

    Thank you!

    ###

    • Consider ride sharing to Tahoe to reduce your carbon footprint, save money and expand your social circle in the process: http://www.snowpals.org/rideshare/
    • Enjoy a full day of skiing or riding and let a professional driver transport you to your favorite Tahoe resort – use ‘snowpals12’ to get $6-$40 off Bay Area Ski Bus trips and ski & ride travel destinations.

    Tire chains installation instructions: The Easy Way

    Every season I see the same people struggling with chains. Since most vehicles are now at least front-wheel drive, it’s easy!!!! Install your own tire chains with this easy guide or let the pros do it and pay $30.00!

    Applies to ladder style chains (cable or link).

    The following is not the instructions provided by chain manufacturers, but I know from years of experience that the following is the best method for front wheel drive or when using the front wheel as the chained wheels on all-wheel or 4 – wheel drive.

    Park car on level ground.

    Turn steering wheel to full left lock

    Drapes chains OVER the left front tire such that the ends of the chains, at the back of the tire, just touch the pavement. If you have chains with adjustable straps, you want the NON-STRAP end, to be touching the pavement at the back of the tire.

    Get in the car and prepare to go in reverse. Grasp the steering to prevent the steering wheel from self-straightening as you back up. Back up a very small amount (1/4th to 1/3rd of a revolution of car tires.) Since you are holding the steering wheel steady, the vehicle should describe a shallow “c” shape as you go back. DON’T LET THE FRONT WHEELS SELF-STRAIGHTEN!

    Shift into park.

    Get out and you will notice that because the tire on the driver side is “winged out”. It is easy to reach to the inside of the tire to grasp the ends of the chains and affix the connection device. YOU MUST AFFIX the inside first. Then affix the outside connection device. Do the driver’s side first so as to get a sense of how far the vehicle must move to affect a ¼th to 1/3rd tire rotation. You can see this when doing the left side, but not the right (passenger) side.

    Turn the steering wheel to full right lock and repeat the entire procedure for the right front tire.

    After both chains are installed, drive the vehicle back and forth in a straight line a few feet and then re-tighten them to get the cable chains to encircle the tire more tightly.

    If you hear the chains slap against the inside of the wheel wells after they have been tightly adjusted as you drive, use rubber bungee cords or rubber chain tighteners, etc. to increase the tightness of the fit. ~ ">Ron