Family-Friendly Ski Resorts in Colorado

As a skier myself, I love heading out to the slopes after it snows. Hitting those fresh, powdery slopes is something I look forward to every year. Hi, this is Alex Cronstein and I’d like to share with you a few ski resorts that you might want to check if you’re heading to Colorado with the family (kids in tow).

Crested Butte

Image Source: upload.wikimedia.org
Image Source: upload.wikimedia.org

Crested Butte is a town in Gunnison County, Colorado. Considered as the “last great Colorado ski town,” Crested Butte is a popular destination for skiers and mountain bikers, and is home to Mount Crested Butte. The mountain is covered in snow during the winter, and it blooms into a beautiful and lush alpine and aspen forests during the warmer months.

When you take the kids here in winter, you can sign them up for Kids’ Night Out, an activity-filled night offered by Crested Butte Mountain Resort that allows kids to enjoy fun activities while their parents are given the night free to explore on their own. Kids will get to visit Adventure Park and do fun stuff like the ZeroGravity BagJump, wall climbing, and other games and activities. They will also be treated to a special dinner.

Beaver Creek

Image Source: beavercreek.com
Image Source: beavercreek.com

Beaver Creek is located in Eagle County, south of Avon. The Beaver Creek Resort is one of the most popular ski resorts in Colorado. December is arguably the most popular month for visitors to come here because this is when the annual Birds of Prey Men’s World Cup takes place—a major ski event in the country.

Kids will surely love the cookie treats they give the guests every 3 pm, on the dot. It’s aptly called the 3pm Cookie Program. There’s also the On-Hill Story Time, Thursday Night Lights, which is a glow stick procession capped by amazing displays of fireworks, and of course, the Marmot Maze. If you’re bringing along teenagers, sign them up for the beaver Creek Loves Teens Too program. Activities include night tubing and a pizza party.

This is Alexander Cronstein once again. Thanks for dropping by!

 

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Tips for Skiing Newbies

Alex Cronstein may not be a professional skier, but I’ve learned a trick or two from years of hitting the slopes. If you’re only starting to learn how to ski or haven’t actually started yet, one thing I can say is that you shouldn’t let fear stop you from enjoying this winter sport. I say conquer the slopes; don’t let them conquer you!

Take Lessons

Image  Source: skimarmot.com
Image Source: skimarmot.com

I would recommend that you learn the basics of skiing from a trained instructor. While it may seem ideal to learn from a friend or family member, it might not actually be as effective as learning from a professional instructor because first, your friend may not be as patient with you compared to an instructor. And secondly, you could end up fighting or arguing at every lesson; so for everyone’s peace of mind, take lessons from an instructor.

Practically every ski resort offers lessons, from beginner to advance, so you won’t be hard-pressed to find a good instructor even at the last minute.

Focus on the slopes

The most common mistake beginners often make (which I was also guilty of when I was still starting out) is to take their eyes off the slope to look down at their skis. While it’s natural for you to want to make sure that your skis are not touching or crossed, concentrating on not falling over might make you fail to see the other skiers just up ahead, or a tree, or any other obstacle standing in the way.

Start with beginner slopes

Image Source: ultimate-ski.com
Image Source: ultimate-ski.com

Powder isn’t really for beginners. While soft snow provides more skiing fun and even if you fall over, it won’t be as hard as when you fall on hard snow, soft snow can also be heavier and you could find yourself getting stuck more times than you care to remember. Opt for groomed trails where the other beginners are. As you get the hang of it and feel like you can take on more challenges, you could ask your instructor if you can hit the powder the next time around.

Thanks for reading! This is Alexander Cronstein. Please watch out for my future posts.

 

Tips for Beginner Rock Climbers

Hi, my name is Alex Cronstein and I love outdoor sports, especially hiking and rock climbing. I was lucky I had a mentor who taught me how to rock-climb, but like everyone else, I started with indoor wall climbing first.

Image Source: awe365.com
Image Source: awe365.com

Choose your practice climb

There are two ways you can go about this. The first is through what is called top-roping or rope climbing. Here, you will need a partner to belay the rope for you—applying tension on the rope as you begin to descend from your climb so you won’t fall too fast or too hard. With this technique, you can go up a longer distance on the wall.

The second one is what is called bouldering, or climbing without a rope. Here, the walls are shorter so it will be easier for you to cover the entire length and then go back down the same way you went up; navigating down the pre-positioned anchors one step at a time.

Try both to see which one feels better for you. Remember that you’re only starting to learn the techniques so go easy on yourself.

Get the right footwear

Footwear is highly important in rock or wall climbing. There are three different types of shoes here; neutral, moderate, and aggressive. For beginners, the neutral pair will work best for you because they are more comfortable to wear and they give you a more relaxed fit. These usually come with thick rubber soles that provide you with good support as you ascend (and descend, depending on your choice of climbing technique).

Get the right gear

If you’re top-roping, you should get a harness, a lead roper, chalk bag, carabiner, and belay equipment. On the other hand, if you’re bouldering, all you need is a chalk bag. You don’t necessarily need to buy all of these at once. Indoor wall climbing gyms usually have these for rent, including the shoes.

Image Source: upload.wikimedia.org
Image Source: upload.wikimedia.org

For more posts from Alexander Cronstein, please make sure to check back again soon.

 

Tips on Climbing Mount Whitney

Mount Whitney is the highest peak in California with an elevation of 14,505 feet. It is a popular destination for hikers year-round, but more so during the months of August and September. If you’re planning to hike this mountain during these months, make sure to go on a weekday climb if you can. This is Alex Cronstein, and I’m here to share with you a few tips on hiking up this mountain—particularly, pre-climb preparations so you can go on your hike without trouble.

Image Source: en.wikipedia.org
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org

I mentioned that you should book a weekday hike if you’re coming between August and September because weekend hikes during these months can get booked rather quickly. Before the climb, you also need to get a Wilderness Permit before you’re allowed to go on your hike.

The trail from Whitney Portal is your direct access to Mount Whitney. There are other trails that you can take, but these take a much longer route. So for tip no. 1, book a weekday hike and secure a permit.

Tip no. 2 isn’t really a tip but more of a reminder. You are required to carry a Waste Alleviation and Gelling (WAG) bag upon entering the Whitney Zone. You can get a WAG bag kit at outdoor shops or online.

You could get altitude sickness as you get higher up, so it’s best to camp out once you’ve reached 8,000 feet, and again once you’ve reached 10,000 feet. This will help you get acclimatized. Expect to hop on boulders and logs as you cross streams and ascend further.

Further along, you will reach Lone Pine Lake. You can camp out here as long as you don’t go near the shores. It’s a good place to rest for the night as you will be amidst the backdrop of Owens Valley.

Overall, expect rocky paths with small patches of meadows interspersed along the trail.

Image Source: timberlinetrails.net
Image Source: timberlinetrails.net

This is Alexander Cronstein, and I’ll be sharing more posts like this in the coming days.

 

The Best Surf Spots In Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is the home of a bustling night life, colorful shopping tents, and a lot of ear-splitting wet markets. The cost to enjoy what the countries here can offer is quite affordable, and this is a prime choice for many traveling folk from the other side of the planet. But in recent years, the internet has made a revelation of some of the best surf spots in Southeast Asia, adding another reason to visit this wonderful spot on the map.

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Image source: weloveitwild.com

Bang Tao Beach, Thailand

Without too many notable surfing spots in Thailand, this beach is the surfer’s place to be. Bang Tao Beach is known for its good wind direction, good quality beach break, with both left and right surfing rides. The movement in the rise and fall of tides is quite a workable range, while this does not affect the sheer power of the waves.

Nam O Point, Vietnam

This white beach spot in Da Nang is a favorite of more experienced surfers because of the level of challenge that the waves may offer. The beach breaks generally favor left rides for surfing. But the real thrill this beach has in store for the more daring surfers is its dangerous rip tides. This is not to be taken lightly by the novice surfer.

Bamboo Island, Cambodia

Cambodia is mostly recognized for its historical cities and temples which reflect its political past. A few minutes away from the mainland though, is a beach paradise that has the exact island charms that Southeast Asia in known for. This is the secluded Bamboo Island, which is the perfect spot for surfing and other water sports. This is particularly attractive to surfers who anticipate the monsoon swells in the rainy season.

escameca_surf
Image source: fatgirldoestheworld.com

Active serviceman Alexander Cronstein is a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, currently serving as field artillery officer. Surfing is among his favorite sports and hobbies. For more information about him, visit this blog.

Transitioning to Civilian Life: Using Skills Learned in the Military in Practical Settings

Many military officers have found that transitioning to civilian life can be quite simple, and the skills they learned in their assignment are quite adaptable to working or quotidian life. Some, however, retain the misconception that their skill sets will disappear, or that they have lost a significant part of their past upon getting out of the service.

The key to an effective transition is understanding which skills have basis in generalized form. Military officers often have specialized skills, reflective of their position in their respective agency. For example, a field artillery officer has to learn about different forms of weapons and which one would be the most efficient for each area of combat. The underlying skill for this is the ability to make quick judgements.

militarytocivilianbooks

Image Source: gijobs.com

These choices often come with major consequences so each field artillery officer must learn how to make decisions quickly and efficiently. An aptitiude for decision-making is an important life skill that can be applied to any industry or any aspect of life.

A former serviceman also inevitably learns discipline in manner and mantra. Disciplined habits can range from cleanliness to patience to diligence. There is a core of personalized values that each officer develops in the military and which can be carried over to the benefit of society. Once these values are internalized, military skills can be effectively used in any task required in a civilian life.

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Image Source: militarylifecoach.com

Many officers who have successfully transitioned to civilian life recommend taking the process slowly. While the transition itself is not difficult, each individual has a unique learning pattern.

Alexander Cronstein is an active member of the U.S. Marine Corps, currently transitioning to civilian life as he prepares to take his MBA. Learn more insights by liking this Facebook page.

Why The World Needs More Nato Training

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO continues to help militaries around the world fight global terrorism and keep the peace through various methods. One of these methods the organization employs is training forces. Why is NATO training important? Here are three reasons NATO trains the local militaries of its allies.

Image source: http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/index.htm
Image source: http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/index.htm

To enhance combat efficiency and cooperation of NATO-led forces during operations

The reason NATO-led forces has been extremely effective in their missions is that of their ability to work well together, executing their assignments with precision, and superior timing. These can only be achieved through hours and hours of study, going through several different mission scenarios. Despite the differences in communication and technology, NATO forces are still on the same page when it comes to their training.

To help their allies in returning peace and order to their countries

NATO cannot be everywhere at once. This means it trains allied militaries with specialized tactics on warfare and survival with the expressed purpose that these forces would be capable of defending their territories from any threat, foreign or domestic.

Image source:  https://www.army.mil/article/138408/Lithuanian_training_provides_unique_opportunity_to_bolster_US_NATO_alliance/
Image source: https://www.army.mil/article/138408/Lithuanian_training_provides_unique_opportunity_to_bolster_US_NATO_alliance/

To assist their allies in reshaping their militaries

NATO training helps improve the overall efficiency of the military forces of its allies. NATO develops programs that teach police, soldiers, and peacekeepers specialized tactics that can secure a country from the threat.

Alexander Cronstein, an active officer of the U.S. Marine Corps, has been deployed twice overseas working with NATO militaries in the training of local forces to combat global terrorism. For more about Capt. Cronstein, visit this a href=”https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexander-cronstein-543a1142″>LinkedIn profile.

. He helps in training other militaries from the Philippines and other countries in the African continent. Learn more about Alexander by reading his