10 winter wonderlands to add to your travel bucket list
When was the last time you careened joyously down a sledding hill or propped your bare feet up in front of a crackling fire at a mountain lodge? Even when it's chilly outside, winter can be a season to embrace rather than escape. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, cold-region winter getaways offer many delights, from the silence of snowfall to the thrill of a luge run. When your neighbors flee to beach resorts, consider heading to one of these 10 winter wonderlands instead to celebrate the least-appreciated season.
Aspen is known for its ski mountains — including Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass and Buttermilk, home of the X Games this year — but there are a number of additional activities here for adventure-seekers, including snowshoeing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing or riding a "fat bike" on 60 miles of trails. Looking for something a little more low key? Visit the elegant Aspen Art Museum or venture down the road to Glenwood Springs to take a tram ride and cave tour at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Relax in the Yampah Vapor Caves, wrinkle up in one of 17 pools in the Iron Mountain Hot Springs or take a dip in the world's largest mineral springs pool, boasting one million gallons of water.
There are several winter experiences to choose from in Beijing. Travel to China picks up in early February for the Chinese New Year celebration, with citywide temple fairs featuring music, theater, art, crafts, food, flower shows, dragon dances and nightly fireworks. Book before or after peak season to enjoy lower hotel and tour package prices and smaller crowds at popular sights. If you like winter sports, spend your time at any of the several ski areas close by, and be sure to pack layers — it's cold enough outside to turn the city's ponds into ice rinks.
Situated on the Vermont/New York border, Burlington allows easy access to two winter wonderlands. Sports enthusiasts can head east to popular Vermont resorts, including Stowe, Sugarbush, Smuggler's Notch, Mad River Glen and Bolton Valley. If activities like snow golf and ice carving sound more appealing to you, you won't want to miss the Stowe Winter Carnival, starting January 13. Lake Placid is also located nearby, and is a great place to visit. Check out the Olympic Museum or Mirror Lake for sledding, dogsledding, snowshoeing and skating. Wilmington's Whiteface Mountain also offers 87 trails and boasts the biggest vertical drop in the eastern states. Plan to visit during the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival from February 2 to 11 to enjoy a parade, ice palace and knee-deep snow volleyball.
The 1988 Winter Olympics ski slopes, luge and bobsled runs now offer thrills to us non-Olympians, and they're located right in Calgary at WinSport Canada Olympic Park. The Olympic Oval speed skating rink and Fish Creek Park, Canada's largest urban park, are also popular attractions here. After a visit, warm up in an indoor public park with 10,500 trees and shrubs at Devonian Gardens, or catch a Calgary Flames hockey game. For more indoor fun, you can also explore the past at Fort Calgary or visit the Canada Sports Hall of Fame. Upcoming events include the citywide Calgary Winter Festival, Block Heater Folk Music Festival and Calgary Midwinter Bluesfest, all taking place in February.
Central Copenhagen is compact and crisscrossed by light-rail trains, making it easy to get around even on the coldest days. Visit Copenhagen's countless museums, restaurants and the magical Tivoli Gardens all winter long. In February, enjoy citywide events including the Fashion Festival, Winter Jazz Festival and Copenhagen Dining Week. Gastronomic options in Copenhagen are definitely worth exploring, and range from Michelin-star restaurants — 15 to date — to a recently opened Copenhagen Street Food warehouse that features 35 food trucks and stalls serving global street food. If you have time to spare, catch a 90-minute train to the town of Odense, where you'll find a Hans Christian Andersen museum and a "winter zoo."
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Halifax gets tons of snow, and with it comes tons of winter activities. Major events blanket the winter season like a foot of fresh powder. Following the National Skating Championships in January are the Savour Food and Wine Festival and Nova Scotia Icewine Festival that both run into March. All winter long, you can choose among activities like skiing at Ski Martock, skating at the Emera Oval and sleigh rides at Hatfield Farm, or tour the seafaring town of Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It may be the German gateway to the Alps with the Oberammergau, Zugspitze and Garmisch-Partenkirchen ski areas all within a 75-minute drive, but Munich offers much more than skiing in the winter. Visitors can take a horse carriage ride through Englischer Garden, shop at the Viktualienmarkt in the city center and ice skate on the frozen canal in front of Nymphenburg Palace. Indoor indulgences include dozens of museums, Therme Erding, Europe's largest thermal bath, and Schrannenhalle, a quarter-mile-long, iron-and-glass foodie's paradise. In the evenings, attend Circus Krone, the largest circus in Europe, see a show at the Gaertnerplatz Theater, or attend the Strong Beer Festival, which starts on February 23.
Prague, Czech Republic
The " city of a hundred spires" is overrun with tourists each summer, but the crowds, prices and temperatures drop in midwinter. The sights of Prague are always striking, from the massive Prague Castle to the architecturally rich assortment of churches, towers and bridges that surround it. Take a break from high culture to try Czech dumplings and strudels, then plunge into the beer culture with a visit to the Czech Beer Museum or Beer Spa Bernard, where a one-hour beer bath comes with unlimited consumption. Prague Carnevale, starting February 10, and two major film festivals in March are some of the city's best events all year. Finally, enjoy a selection of winter sports at nearby Herlikovice ski resort.
Traverse City, Michigan
With 101 inches of annual snowfall, this Lake Michigan town gives you a world of winter choices. TimberLee Hills' 700-foot hill is a joyride for tubers located right on the edge of Traverse City, and 200 miles of snowmobile trails can be found next door at Boardman Valley Natural Area. Shanty Creek Resorts' three ski areas and 51 runs and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore's 73 miles of trails are all only a half-hour drive away. For those interested in wine, most of the nearby wine regions' 40 tasting rooms pour Rieslings and Chardonnays all winter long. A bonus for travelers visiting in February is the array of festivals celebrating wine, microbrews and music, comedy and cross-country skiing.
Winter activities in and around Switzerland's largest city include sledding on Zurich's Uetliberg mountain, skiing at Flumserberg and cross-country skiing at Amden or Lake Whalen, but it's the season's festivals here that are truly exciting. The Swiss know how to celebrate, so try to make it to one of the area's two big winter carnivals in February or March. The Winterthur Carnival, which dates back to the 15th century and draws in 50,000 visitors, concludes with the ceremonial burning of the Böögg, or snowman, a definite must-see. Also drawing thousands of spectators are Zurich's Mercedes-Benz show-jumping tournament in late January and Art on Ice, a dazzling show starring the world's top figure skaters, in early March.
If you go
Many other northern destinations worldwide also celebrate winter with abundant activities and festivals devoted to everything from art and music to cold-weather zoo creatures. At most such destinations, travel costs are lower and the crowds are thinner during the colder months of the year. So when you plan your next getaway, think about packing a few extra layers and changing your destination latitude from southern to northern for an exhilarating change of pace.
Whether you're traveling to a new city or revisiting an old favorite, discover exciting destinations across the country and the world with our winter fare specials. Ready to plan your winter adventure? Visit united.com or use the United app to book your winter wonderland trip.
By working together and strengthening partnerships during these unprecedented times, our global community has overcome challenges and created solutions to keep the global supply chain moving. As COVID-19 continues to disrupt the shipping landscape, United and our industry partners have increasingly demonstrated our commitment to the mission of delivering critical medical supplies across the world.
United Cargo has partnered with DSV Air and Sea, a leading global logistics company, to transport important pharmaceutical materials to places all over the world. One of the items most critical during the current crisis is blood plasma.
Plasma is a fragile product that requires very careful handling. Frozen blood plasma must be kept at a very low, stable temperature of negative 20 degrees Celsius or less – no easy task considering it must be transported between trucks, warehouses and airplanes, all while moving through the climates of different countries. Fortunately, along with our well-developed operational procedures and oversight, temperature-controlled shipping containers from partners like va-Q-tec can help protect these sensitive blood plasma shipments from temperature changes.
A single TWINx shipping container from va-Q-tec can accommodate over 1,750 pounds of temperature-sensitive cargo. Every week, DSV delivers 20 TWINx containers, each one filled to capacity with human blood plasma, for loading onto a Boeing 787-9 for transport. The joint effort to move thousands of pounds of blood plasma demonstrates that despite the distance, challenges in moving temperature-sensitive cargo and COVID-19 obstacles, we continue to find creative solutions with the help of our strong partnerships.
United Cargo is proud to keep the commercial air bridges open between the U.S. and the rest of the world. Since March 19, we have operated over 3,200 cargo-only flights between six U.S. hubs and over 20 cities in Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, India, the Caribbean and the Middle East.
A message from UNITE, United Airlines Multicultural Business Resource Group
Fellow United team members –
Hello from the UNITE leadership team. While we communicate frequently with our 3,500 UNITE members, our platform doesn't typically extend to the entire United family, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share some of our thoughts with all of you.
Tomorrow is June 19. On this day in 1865, shortened long ago to "Juneteenth," Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that the Civil War had ended and all enslaved individuals were free. For many in the African-American community, particularly in the South, it is recognized as the official date slavery ended in the United States.
Still, despite the end of slavery, the Constitutional promise that "All men are created equal" would overlook the nation's Black citizens for decades to come. It wasn't until nearly a century later that the Civil Rights Act (1964) ended legal segregation and the Voting Rights Act (1965) protected voting rights for Black Americans. But while the nation has made progress, the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have made it undeniably clear that we still have a lot of work to do to achieve racial parity and inclusion.
Two weeks ago, Scott and Brett hosted a virtual town hall and set an important example by taking a minute, as Brett said, "to lower my guard, take off my armor, and just talk to you. And talk to you straight from the heart."
Difficult conversations about race and equity are easy to avoid. But everyone needs to have these conversations – speaking honestly, listening patiently and understanding that others' experiences may be different from your own while still a valid reflection of some part of the American experience.
To support you as you consider these conversations, we wanted to share some resources from one of United's partners, The National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum will host an all-day Virtual Juneteenth Celebration to recognize Juneteenth through presentations, stories, photographs and recipes. The museum also has a portal that United employees can access called Talking About Race, which provides tools and guidance for everyone to navigate conversations about race.
Our mission at UNITE is to foster an inclusive working environment for all of our employees. While we are hopeful and even encouraged by the widespread and diverse show of support for African Americans around the country – and at United - we encourage everyone to spend some time on Juneteenth reflecting on racial disparities that remain in our society and dedicating ourselves to the work that still must be done to fight systemic racism. By honoring how far we've come and honestly acknowledging how far we still must go, we believe United – and the incredible people who are the heart and soul of this airline - can play an important role in building a more fair and just world.
UNITE (United Airlines Multicultural Business Resource Group)
At the airport
1Implementing temperature checks for employees and flight attendants working at hub airports
2Installing sneeze guards at check-in and gate podiums
3Encouraging use of the United app for contactless travel assistance and more
4Promoting social distancing with floor decals to help customers stand 6 feet apart
5Rolling out touchless check-in for customers with bags
At the gate:
6Disinfecting high-touch areas such as door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, telephones and computers
7Providing hand sanitizer and
8Allowing customers to self-scan boarding passes
9Boarding fewer customers at a time and, after pre-boarding, boarding from the back of the plane to the front to promote social distancing
10Rolling out Clorox Total 360 Electrostatic Sprayers to disinfect in the airport
On our aircraft
1Providing individual hand sanitizer wipes for customers
2Requiring all customers and employees to wear a face covering and providing disposable face coverings for customers who need them
3Providing onboard items like pillows and blankets upon request
4Disinfecting high-touch areas, like tray tables and armrests, before boarding
5Reducing contact between flight attendants and customers during snack and beverage service
6Ensuring aircraft cleaning standards meet or exceed CDC guidelines
7Using electrostatic spraying to disinfect aircraft
8Using state-of-the-art, hospital-grade, high-efficiency (HEPA) filters to circulate air and remove 99.97% of airborne particles
- The cabin recirculated air is exchanged every 2-3 minutes
We're working closely with the experts at Cleveland Clinic to advise us on enhancing our cleaning and disinfection protocols for the safety of our employees and customers. Visit Cleveland Clinic's website to learn more about COVID-19.
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.
Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Here's a fun way to take your next video call….from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude. We're introducing United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom and Microsoft Teams, video conferencing tools that many people are using to stay connected.
So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started. If you've already downloaded Zoom you can skip ahead to updating your background image (see instructions below).
To use on Zoom:
- Start here by downloading your favorite United image to your computer or mobile device. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- Next go to your Zoom app (you'll need to download the app to access backgrounds) and click on the arrow to the right of your video camera icon in the bottom of the screen.
- From here select, "choose virtual background" to upload your uniquely United photo.
- Start by downloading your favorite United image to your computer. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- If you're using a PC, copy the image you want to use into this folder:
- C:\[insert your device user name here]\AppData\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads
- If you're using a Mac copy the images to this folder on your computer:
- /users/<username>/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/Backgrounds/Uploads
- If you're using a PC, copy the image you want to use into this folder:
- Once you start a Teams meeting, click the "…" in the menu bar and select "Show background effects" and your image should be there
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This is why we fly.
20 UCSF Health workers, who voluntarily set aside their own lives to help save lives, are on their way to New York City.
We are humbled by your selfless sacrifice.
In celebration and appreciation of all first responders and essential workers. 👏🏻👏🏼👏🏽👏🏾👏🏿
This is the story of Jason and Shantel. You see, Jason and Shantel love each other very much. They also love traveling and they love the classic Adam Sandler film, The Wedding Singer.
It all began when Jason reached out to United's social media team, hoping for assistance with his upcoming plan to propose. Some phone calls and one borrowed guitar later, the stage was set for Jason. Put all that together, mix in some helpful United employees and, voila, you have a truly memorable marriage proposal. Congratulations to this fun-loving and happy couple, and here's to many more years of making beautiful music together.
A big thank you to Chicago-based flight attendants Donna W., Marie M., Karen J. and Mark K. for making this proposal come to life.