Tuesday, February 19, 2013

WellsWorld on the radio: Sleeping on ice

Popsicle for a night

Hotel de Glace. Photo © by Judy Wells.
Imagine a queen-size bed of ice in a room of compressed snow. Now imagine sleeping on it after wrapping yourself in a shroud-like lining and encased mummy-like into an aptly named mummy sleeping bag.

Kind of like being a tightly-wrapped Popsicle in a deep freeze.

Me with Tom Griffith of Deadwood, S. D. Photo © by Judy Wells.
That was me at Hotel de Glace, North America's only ice hotel, outside of Quebec City, Quebec.

What they don't tell you on the website or during the tours fills the 25-minute session on how to sleep in below freezing temperatures and wake up breathing.

Next. enjoy the hotel's amenities:  

• Drink up at the ice bar. Photo © by Judy Wells.

      • Dance in the adjacent disco. Photo © by Judy Wells.

• Slip down the ice slide. Photo © by Judy Wells.

Chapel. Photo © by Judy Wells.

 • Tour the hotel.

• strap on a pair of snowshoes or skis and hit the trails.

When ready for bed, 

1. Get your body temperature up by hitting the hot tub followed by a session in the dry sauna. Oh, and you'll have to put on a bathing suit and hustle through the snow to get there. Don't get your hair wet or it will freeze. It did.

2. Come back into "camp," the heated Celsius building, dry off thoroughly - wet is what makes you cold - and get dressed for bed in anything except cotton which holds wetness. Better yet, wear nothing. No one was that brave or foolhardy.

Sleeping chamber in Hotel de Glace. 

3. Go into your sleeping chamber and get the big black bag. Pull out the lining and sleeping bag, replacing them with anything you don't want frozen such as your shoes and coat. Store an extra pair of socks and valuables such as cell phones and cameras at the bottom of the sleeping bag. Don't put your glasses on the bedside table; it's ice and they'll freeze to it.

Photo © by Judy Wells.
4. The best way to line and bag yourself is to stand atop your bed.
Photo © by Judy Wells.

Oh, the bathrooms are a snowy trek away in another building.

It's an experience like no other, one best suited for young, agile bodies able to stand on the "bed" to step into said shroud and bag. The less agile will be constantly reminded that the bed is ice and the floor is snow and their bodies are not going to keep those drinks inside all night.

Sweet dreams.

Ski back to the '80s

Flipped collars, headbands and all things '80s at Beech Mountain. Photo by Amy Morrison.

What: Bring your leg warmers, parachute pants and bandanas to the "big air, big hair" celebration at Beech Mountain, N. C. Retro bands and DJs, costume contests, freestyle jump competition and lots of remembering when during this lighthearted weekend of skiing.

When: Feb. 22-24, 2013

Where: Beech Mountain Resort, Beech Mountain, N. C.

Costs: Eighties-style, dudes.  Lodging from $80.80 a night, $119.80 dinner specials, three bandanas for $8.80.


Inn of the Five Graces

Santa Fe luxury and culture

What: Southwest Splendor package features suite and breakfasts; Tibetan-inspired fireside massage for two plus Desert blend gift set of massage and body products; two four-day passes to five museums including The Place of the Governors, that houses the New Mexico History Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Art, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art and the Museum of International Folk Art; and a one-hour cultural walking tour of Santa Fe.

Where: Inn of the Five Graces, a Relais & Chateaux facility on Conde Nast's 2013 Gold List "Best Hotels in the World."

When: Now through April, 2013.

Cost: $1,065 for two nights totally inclusive.

 Do good in Key West

Want a warm, laid-back voluntourism vacation? Consider Key West, Florida, which has a website for that.

Where: www.keysvoluntourism.com

What: That link connects you to Key West charities and nonprofits that can use your help building an underwater coral nursery, collecting data on reef fish, feeding injured birds, maintaining trails and an island's worth of other good deeds. 

Organizations include Reef Environmental Education Foundation, Coral Restoration Foundation, Pigeon Key, Marathon Wild Bird Center, Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center, Habitat For Humanity of Key West & Lower Florida Keys, Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden and Key West Wildlife Center.

Florida Keys visitor information: www.fla-keys.com

Winter golf deal$

Winters in the South can be colder than a toilet seat of ice or as balmy as a warm spring day and you never know what you're going to get. Golfers are eternal optimists, though, and the prices are the best you'll get all year. So pack the sticks, toss the tee and drive on.

Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront course, Palmetto Dunes.

What: Stay & Play package includes 4 days, three nights in a resort view villa, two rounds of golf, free tennis, resort dining and merchandise discounts.

Where: Hilton Head Island’s Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort.

How much: $129 per person per night.

When: Through March 5, 2013. A group golf getaway with three rounds and range balls is available for groups of 12 or more through March 13, 2013 for $399 per person per night.

www.palmettodunes.com,  866-306-4330.

Santee National Golf Course.
What: Spring Special including three nights lodging at Chapel Creek Villas for a foursome and three rounds with cart at Santee National Golf Course.

Where: Santee, S. C.

When: March 4 through April 28, 2013.

How much: $274 per person.