Sign up for ski/ride lessons now
Take your skiing and snowboarding skills up a notch this year at Pats Peak in southern New Hampshire. The ski area offers lessons for all levels and ages. Adult Clinics take place Fridays starting Jan. 5 and run throughout the season (except Feb. 23 and March 1). Purchase a 5-ticket pass at Guest Services; then swipe that card each Friday you go and you’ll get a lift ticket and lunch voucher for the day, and a one-hour lesson. Certified coaches will teach everything from how to make your first-ever turns to how to hone your race skills. The Women’s Only Wednesdays (WOW) program starts Jan. 3. This seven-week program, taught by women only, includes continental breakfast followed by a lesson and a buffet lunch with coaches. Kids of all abilities from 7 to 14 years old can also sign up for the Bears Seasonal Program, which begins Dec. 26 and runs on weekends, during Christmas vacation, and over Massachusetts and New Hampshire vacation weeks. The program focuses on fun recreational skiing, skier/rider etiquette, safety, and mountain awareness. Sign up for the Bears Seasonal Program by the first week in January; $1,500 includes lessons and season pass. $279 for Adult Clinics (includes five lessons and daily lift ticket and lunch on clinic days); $229 for season passholder; $399 for WOW program, includes lift ticket, lesson, continental breakfast, and lunch; $325 for season passholder (limited availability so sign up early). www.patspeak.com
Runners get special Colosseum access
A new tour lets you combine your love of running with your love of ancient Roman architecture and your appreciation for the world’s largest-ever amphitheater. Participants on ArcheoRunning’s Unveiled Colosseum Running (or Walking) Tour get insider access to the Colosseum’s historic “attic,” as it’s called, or upper level. The tour — led by art historian, certified tour guide, and athletic coach, Isabella Calidonna — combines fitness and a curiosity of Roman history and culture. The two-hour tour starts with an easy run or walk to see hidden gems and historic monuments in the city — routes and distances vary, since tours cater to travelers’ interests. Then participants follow Calidonna along a new path that’s not usually open to the public and into UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander around the Colosseum’s intermediate gallery and third tier and then climb up the stairs to the “attic,” as it’s called, which offers stunning panoramic views of the city and the historic ruin. The tour, organized in collaboration with the Archaeological Park of the Colosseum, takes up to seven people. Cost: about $168 for the tour, plus $21 for the Colosseum entrance fee. www.archeorunning.com
Wheeled duffels for toting big loads
Winter travel often involves lots of “stuff” — bulky coats, hefty boots, and all that winter sports gear. Eagle Creek’s latest wheeled duffel bags make it easier to haul your travel gear to the car, hotel, or airport. The new Cargo Hauler Wheeled Duffel 130L is made with a heavy-duty coated nylon that’s abrasion resistant and can fend off sleet, snow, and rain. Besides the cavernous main compartment, it has a zippered front pocket (good for stashing small items), a zippered mesh interior pocket, and a handy end compartment for packing shoes away from your main gear or for keeping some of your wet or dirty clothes separate. The grab handles, durable wheels, and stowable backpack straps make it easy to maneuver the duffel. An added bonus: The bag weighs less than 5 pounds. For something with more support, consider Eagle Creek’s new Cargo Hauler XT 29-inch Wheeled Duffel, which has a rigid base that can help protect items inside (I have packed fragile hiking poles and a heavy-duty tripod and never had an issue). The bag is easy to manage when it’s not full, thanks to that rigid base and the lash-down straps, and it has a telescoping handle and protective bumper corners. It does weigh more with that extra hardware: 8.4 pounds. The 90-liter duffel also comes with the end compartment, zippered pockets, and backpack straps. $249 for 130-liter wheeled duffel; $349 for 29-inch wheeled duffel. www.eaglecreek.com
Kari Bodnarchuk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.