The best trail running destinations

Hit the Trails

Property #205147 Oliver, BC Property #125959 Whistler, BC Property #119020  Dunster

Trail running is one of the most popular sporting activities of many tourists, and it’s definitely on top of my favorite things to do during a vacation. With the many different trails I have been on, I find that each of them is different. Each trail offers a unique experience. Different scenery, different terrain and different challenges but in the end, each of these experiences give the runner the same rewards: satisfaction from completing it and many life lessons that have to do with taking risks, persistence and hard work. Here are some awesome trail running destinations I would like to share with you, each of them offering something different, something fresh and something exciting.

Kalalau Trail in Kauai, Hawaii No photograph can ever capture the beautiful experience of running on the Kalalau Trail. This is an 11 mile trail which was built in the late 1800s. The starting point is the Ha’ena State Park and the end point is the beautiful Kalalau Beach. Before reaching the final destination of the trail, you will traverse through 5 beautiful lush valleys. There are many reasons to run this trail. Among them are the beautiful sights of towering sea cliffs, waterfalls, beaches that have pure white sand, fruit trees especially lots of guava trees as well as some ancient Hawaiian ruins. But the main reason you should travel this trail is for you to see a beautiful view of the Napali Coast. The trail is the only land access to the Napali Coast which is on the northwest part of Kauai. The Napali Coast is the most famous coastline in Kauai and features emerald green pinnacles along the shoreline and a scenery that is to die for.

Lovely Sandpiper 2BR Condo - Sleeps 6 - DSL - Ocean View, Princeville, Kauai - Unit - ID 9134

Lovely Sandpiper 2BR Condo – Sleeps 6 – DSL – Ocean View, Princeville, Kauai – Unit – ID 9134

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, Issaquah, Washington Operated by the Regional Trail System of King County, Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is based in Issaquah, Washington, with a huge area that spans from the Cascades and Seattle and from Bothell and Auburn. This is one of the country’s most wide range multi-purpose off road systems and boasts of more than 175 miles of trails which are perfect for different outdoor adventures including bicycling, horseback riding, walking and hiking. The Regional Trail System covers an area from Seattle to the Cascades and from Bothell to Auburn. The system provides endless of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoor as well as numerous venues for recreation.  King Country Trail is the perfect choice for those who are looking for pleasurable and fresh way to enjoy the region, as well as communing with nature, exploring and living a much healthier and more active lifestyle.

El Morro Canyon Loop in Laguna Beach, California An 8.9 mile loop trail near Laguna Beach California, this trail is rated as moderate or intermediate, which means it’s not too easy and not too difficult. The trail is set in a forest setting so expect to see different types of animals while you run the trail. This trail is accessible all year round and can be run, hiked or biked. Some even complete this trail riding a horse. It can be quite gruesome when the weather is too hot, particularly during summer. There are lots of steep climbs for you to surmount. But, once completed, it will make you feel very satisfied and accomplished. Somewhere on the trail, you will find a cave where you can have a restful break and be recharged before you complete the rest of the trail. Make sure you have plenty of water to rehydrate your body while running this trail. A solution for the hot summer season is to run this trail early in the morning. The beautiful ocean view you’ll get to see on this trail is going to be all worth it.

Hermosa Beach Accommodations - Close by Laguna Trail Unit ID 203518

Hermosa Beach Accommodations – Close by Laguna Trail Unit ID 203518

Long Trail, Winhall, Vermont Considered as the United State’s oldest long-distance trail, the Long Trail situated in Winhall in Vermont, was built between 1910 and 1930 by the Green Mountain Club. The trail prides itself of its 273 miles of routes that spans the length of Vermont, running from the Canadian border to the state line of Massachusetts, including some of the state’s densest of forests and highest of peaks, following the main path of the Green Mountains. Any run on the Long Trail may require a lot more patience, as well as walking and hiking expertise, because of the steep and unexpected climbs and falls. Some adventures folks were able to conquer the entire trail in less than a week, including the Pennsylvanian carpenter, Jonathan Basham, who finished it in four and a half days back in 2009. Most of the trail system’s milder climbs and running trails can be found in the southern portion, like the first 10-mile run from Massachusetts to Congdon Chelter just near Bennington.

A review of Okanagan ski resorts

Ski the Okanagan

The Okanagan is popular as one of the best skiing destinations in the country. When winter comes, the Okanagan ski resorts are blessed with lots of snow and good weather. This and the presence of world-class ski mountains here make it a downhill and cross country ski paradise for many tourists who love to ski.

Let’s take a look at the major Okanagan ski resorts here, offering ski in, ski out accommodations, ski lessons for very affordable rates and fast lifts. These ski resorts do welcome family vacationists and have services especially tailored for those traveling with children.

Big White Ski Resort

This ski resort near Kelowna, BC, is perfect for those with children as they have plenty of facilities and services that cater to kid’s needs. The resort is only a 45 minute drive from Kelowna. Some state-of-the art facilities here include a children’s centre operated by Happy Valley Gondola, a Kid’s Learning zone, skating rink, a Mini-Skidoo centre and a comfortable day lodge where the kids can warm up before and after skiing. Kids will surely have loads of fun and will never want to leave. You don’t need to worry if this is the case because the resort has an After Dark program where you can leave them behind to have some quality time with your partner or spouse.

Of course, the adults are never left behind in the fun. Up on the mountain, all adults, whether they’re beginners, intermediate or advanced skiers, can enjoy the slopes. Each of the lifts has a green run down, where even beginners can experience the 2,500 feet of vertical. Intermediates can take on a never ending cruiser that starts high up in the trees and ends on the valley floor, deep in the trees. There are also fantastic runs fit for those seeking more of an adrenaline rush.

Unparalleled excellence in this 5 bedroom 5 bathroom home (Sleeps 22) – Unit ID 90232

Apex Mountain Ski Resort

Only a 35 minute drive from Penticton, BC, this resort is one of the gems of Canadian skiing. Apex Mountain Ski Resort is a full service resort with high quality snow, amazing terrain, wonderful weather as well as extra friendly people. Being situated in the heart of the Okanagan Valley, the resort is known to feature the lightest powder imaginable. It receives around 600 cm of dry powder every winter season. Excitement and happiness are evident in the faces of the locals and tourists as they hoot and holler among the open terrain leaving beautiful and light clouds of powder behind them.

Beaconsfield at Apex Mountain Resort

Mt Baldy Ski Area

Mt Baldy Family Ski Area is situated high above the south Okanagan Valley, in the Okanagan highlands. This area was home to the British Columbia Winter Games in 1985, and is a 45 minute drive from Oliver and Osoyoos.

The community has 95 cabins which are privately owned and a condominium complex which consists of 12 units. Both of these accommodations offer luxurious ski in and ski out lodging. There are 2 T-bar lifts at this family ski area. Baldy T-bar with 1460 ft. vertical and access to 11 ski runs is the main lift. The other lift is the McKinney T-bar which has 450 ft. vertical, access to 3 ski runs and the famous snowboard park. A double-chair lift is also available and is servicing the smaller hill.

Mt. Baldy also offers free-of-charge daytime and nighttime skating for those who love to skate. All you need is a pair of skates. Other facilities at Mt. Baldy include a day lodge, cafeteria, lounge and rental shop. If you love Okanagan powder, Mt. Baldy will not disappoint you as it offers one of the best-kept secrets of the Okanagan Valley when it comes to powder.

Silver Star Ski Resort

Consisting of 2700 acres and 2 distinct areas, Vance Creek and Putnam Creek, this resort has daytime and nighttime skiing operations till 9 pm to make sure you get as much skiing in as you want. Vance Creek is situated on the mid-mountain and allows you to ski in and ski out from your accommodation when you are in the resort, which is 30 minutes away from Vernon BC.

Start your day by taking the Vance Creek Express Chair towards the summit where you can choose from black, blue or green terrain. Beginners can warm up with the green run which is enough to awaken their reflexes and get warmed up for the rest of the day. Intermediates will enjoy the spirit-lifting blue terrain, whether they go for the Gopher Glades, Walt’s Run or the Big Dipper. Advanced skiers will have an enjoyable time at Putnam Creek where steep and fast downhill routes are found on well-maintained trails.

Silver Star Guesthouses - Unit ID 1178

Silver Star guesthouses – Unit ID 1178

Sun Peaks Ski Resort

Carved from the imagination of a woman named Nancy Green, this resort is 45 minutes from Kamloops BC and offers ski lessons at affordable prices. This resort is perfect for beginners because is has services and facilities that will help a beginner become more comfortable with skiing. The green trails are excellent for beginners trying to learn new skills in skiing. The top to bottom Greenie is perfect for first timers who wish to build confidence by going down gently and safely.

The resort has a lot more to offer, including facilities and lifts for intermediate and advanced skiers and those traveling with kids. They have the Kids Ranch animated theme park especially designed for kids who are 3 to 12 years of age. Sun Peaks Ski Resort is a great destination for those vacationing with children and those who don’t have any experience with skiing yet and would like to take advantage of the lower priced ski lessons.

Sleeps 12, Private Hot Tub, and Pet Friendly!

Sleeps 12, private hot tub, and pet friendly!

Unit ID 204878

Now that we have provided more in-depth details on the different ski resorts in the Okanagan, which one will be perfect for your next skiing adventure? Make sure you choose the right accommodation for your ski trip. Check out Okanagan ski accommodations from OwnerDirect now. Accommodations that are ski in ski out, family-friendly and featuring affordable rates are all available for you to choose from.

These ski vacation rentals will make you jump for joy!

Ski season is here!

We love those lovely winter breaks and vacations! Time to reward ourselves for an entire year’s worth of hard work, or to gather our parents and siblings for one unforgettable family getaway that is sure to go down in the books. It is time again to stock up on boots and parkas, and whisk the family away to where it is cold & white, and where just the mere sight of snow capped mountains can take anyone’s breath away!

If you have not planned your winter break yet, do not fret or despair. Sure, it is peak season and you can assume that rates are higher and accommodations might be hard to come by at this time. But thanks to last minute deals, you can still pull off an awesome winter vacation for the family without having to break the bank or stressing out unnecessarily.

Although it pays to reserve your ski vacation rentals a few months back to get the perfect home, it might also be a wise decision to hold off until the last minute, as a number of vacation home owners are dropping their rates at the last minute if otherwise vacant. This will allow you to go on that well deserved ski vacation at a fraction of the original price! An awesome vacation plus great savings, what more can you really ask for?

Should you decide to bring the family to a snowed-in adventure at Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna, Owner Direct Vacation Rentals has a large assortment of vacation homes to choose from including some fabulous Okanagan last minute deals if you are running out of time. Check out this cozy, modern ski in/out condo with private deck and hot tub that can sleep 6. Starting at $295/night.

Cozy, modern ski in\ski out condo at Big White with private deck and hot tub.  ID# 104881

Cozy, modern ski in\ski out condo at Big White with private deck and hot tub.
ID# 104881

If you would rather ski at Silver Star Mountain Ski Resort, you are in for a treat if you choose any of OwnerDirect’s perfect accommodations such as this 2 bedroom suite in a duplex. These bedrooms have large windows that will allow you to have a great forest view, just perfect for your getaway!

Beautiful forest view home

Large windows afford you forest views from all rooms. ID# 104959

In case you would like to experience the amenities that Sun Peaks offers, apart from the award winning ski slopes and many boutiques and relaxing spas, go ahead and find the right OwnerDirect accommodation for you and your family. This property is well-maintained to cater to great family gatherings. It has all the amenities you could ever need: 3 bedrooms and a total of 6 beds, a beautiful living room, dining area, kitchen, bedrooms plus a bar area and hot tub inside. What more could you ask for? Get your 4th night for free, except during President’s week, Christmas and New Year.

3 Bedroom , Sleeps 9, Hot Tub, and in-Suite Laundry!

3 bedroom, sleeps 9, hot tub, and in-suite laundry! – ID# 207749

Consider a Whistler Ski Resort getaway, where snow conditions are reliable and two new lifts have been installed for this winter season. Find the best vacation home rentals only at OwnerDirect such as this beautiful vacation rental townhouse in the village. You are sure to get a spectacular mountain view here as this property is located at the base of Blackcomb Mountain in Upper Whistler. Nice amenities await you whether you visit in the winter or the summer. Rent for 2 occupants on a 3 night stay is only $704.

Cozy two bedroom townhome, walk to ski lifts, shopping, restaurants and golf

Cozy two bedroom townhome, walk to ski lifts, shopping, restaurants and golf
- ID# 201780


Fernie Alpine Resort
will not only let you enjoy uncrowded trails and a mild climate, perfect for all those exciting outdoor adventures, but you also get access to 2,500 acres of skiable terrain and the best après ski fun, as well as big discounts, especially if you are an RCR member. If you plan to visit Fernie, you can get access to some of the best OwnerDirect rentals. Check this mountain view suite which gives you a very comfy experience, just like at home. This spot is just a few minutes to downtown and the ski hill. You will never be bored. Love everything in this house especially the cozy electric fireplace in the living room.

Mountainview Suite - Experience Fernie!!

Mountainview suite – Experience Fernie!! – ID# 144950

A winter getaway to Panorama Mountain Village not only promises to be one beautiful vacation, but is also bound to be an unforgettable experience. Try blending in with the locals as you wander the idyllic snowed-in village or be ready for an adventure of a lifetime as you give skiing, snowboarding, and each of the outdoor activities offered on its 2,847 acres of skiable terrain, a try. For those who are highly adventurous this chalet rental will surely make your vacation more exciting. With the Panorama Mountain village being only 1 to 2 km drive from this chalet, you will have fun. Travelling with a group? This is just perfect as each of these chalets can accommodate up to 10 people. There’s enough room for everyone.

Panorama luxury cedar log chalets 2,000 Sq Ft

Panorama luxury cedar log chalets 2,000 Sq Ft – ID# 54254

Finally, no Mont Tremblant vacation is ever complete without braving the famous Linear Park of Le P’tit Train du Nord, considered the longest linear park in Canada, which will allow you to immerse yourself in your experience of Mont Tremblant and the Laurentians. For your vacation, we recommend this executive lake front stone chalet which is only 10 minutes away from the number #1 ski in the east plus 10 minutes to the national park. Staying here will give you a comfortable, peaceful and unforgettable experience with your loved ones. Whether you visit in the summer or the winter, you are guaranteed to have a beautiful view everywhere you look. There’s even a private pool for you to enjoy and a beautiful lake front view. Visit here to find out more.

Supreme stay - Canadian wilderness at its best - Ten minutes to #1 ski in the NE

Supreme stay – Canadian wilderness at its best – Ten minutes to #1 ski in the NE
- ID# 205444

With a variety of last minute winter travel deals it is no wonder more and more people are taking on those 11th hour trips to select winter destinations. These promos and travel deals not only give you more value for your money, but also allow you to experience each travel adventure to the fullest.

So you want to try an Ironman?

Supporting the Ironman Triathalon

Kailua Kona, HI #203668 Kailua Kona, HI ID#87353 Kailua Kona, HI #206849 Kailua Kona, HI #203078 Kailua Kona, Hawaii

Is it safe to say that it is every athlete’s dream to participate in an Ironman Triathlon? Organized by the World Triathlon Corporation, the world-renown triathlon is a one day sporting event which is actually made up of long-distance races that participants must complete within a set timeframe. It includes a swim, a bicycle ride and a marathon in that order without any breaks. The swimming race is 2.4 miles long, the bicycle race is 112 miles long and the marathon is a long 26.2 mile run. In most of the worldwide Ironman events, participants are limited to a 17 hour timeframe to finish the race.

Beginning at 7 o’clock in the morning, all racers must be able to complete their swim in 2 hours and 20 minutes. They should complete the 112 mile bicycle ride by 5:30 pm. And everyone must be able to complete the marathon on or before midnight. The Ironman world championship event is held each year in Hawaii, beginning in 1978, known as the Kona Ironman. There is a sequence of pre-qualifying events to determine who will compete in the championships.

What made Ironman racing so popular is the combination of the difficult race conditions, the length of the individual disciplines as well as the magnitude of this personal challenge for every racer.

What does it take to participate in an Ironman triathlon, and successfully complete this race?

First, you need to be prepared and conditioned not only physically but more importantly, mentally. Because the mind is the most powerful part of our body, it can tell us to do something or not to do it. Your success in the race will depend on how prepared you are mentally for it. Only the ones with much determination will be able to succeed in the race. As we know, an Ironman Triathlon is the world’s most difficult race that takes place within a day. Plenty of motivation and drive is required to succeed in it.

If it’s your first time to participate in an Ironman, you have to determine whether you already have experience racing shorter distance triathlons. For those who have some experience, you can start extending your training and targeting longer races such as an Ironman 70.3 event. But, if you are not a trained athlete, it is advisable to start off with shorter races such as Sprint and Olympic distance events.

Going in shorter races will also help you determine your endurance and physical capacity, and it will help you get a feel for those races, before you actually try the longer races.

Second, you need to start your training well before the actual event. You cannot just show up for these races without training for it. You need to prepare your body and do your best to ensure that you will be able to successfully complete your race. The best way to do this is to set aside at least 10 hours each week for training. If you are participating in the World Championship event, of course, expect that you need to allot more hours each week for training. The longer and more difficult your race is, the more hours you need to allocate for training each week.

You don’t need a lot of special gear to do the training and to participate in the actual race. All you need is a swimsuit and wetsuit, a bike including bike shoes and a helmet, and a good pair of running shoes. You might also need other non-basic gear but these are the most important. We recommend that you go for high quality gear that is sure to last long and make you comfortable during training and competition.

The official website of the Ironman Triathlon can be found at http://www.ironman.com/. Be sure to check it out because there’s plenty of helpful information and resources there that can help you prepare for your race. Then select one of the many Ironman races worldwide, combine it with a vacation for yourself and your family and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment afterwards.

5 Popular Hiking Trails in North America

Let's go hiking!

When it comes to traveling, hiking never gets old! It allows travellers to experience the world around them in close contact. Hiking is one of the best ways to exercise, to bond with peers, to experience nature and to unwind or distress. There are plenty of popular hiking trails in North America, being one of the best places to go for those who are looking for hiking adventures.  Whether you prefer a brisk walk, a stroll, a canter or a saunter, here are the most recommend hiking trail spots you should try in North America. So get ready and put on your hiking boots!

Wailua Falls, Kauai

Wailua Falls, Kauai

1. Kalalau Trail Along the Napali Coast in Kauai Hawaii – This trail is known to be the most famous hiking trail in Kauai, Hawaii. The Kalalau Trail involves an 11-mile hike.  Enjoying a hike here is the perfect way to explore more of Kauai’s natural beauty since about 90% of the island is actually not accessible by road. The trail starts at the end of Kee Beach road. Most hikers stay a minimum of one night before returning to make the most of their travel. Others who are unable to proceed through the 11-mile hike only finish the first 2 miles which ends at the Hanakapiai Beach. Both types of hikes will allow you to enjoy the scenic view of the north shore of Kauai. For camping and day hikes past the Hanakapiai Valley you might need to secure a permit through the Hawaii State Parks Division.

Bow River Three Sisters, near Banff National Park

Bow River Three Sisters, near Banff National Park

2. Johnson Lake Trail in Banff Alberta – This trail is a 3 km loop and has no elevation gain, with the trail head being the Johnson Lake picnic area. Along the lake are Douglas fir trees which are considered to be amongst the oldest in Alberta. Hiking on the Johnson Lake Trail will allow you to enjoy great views of the beautiful mountains such as Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain. The trail around this lake is definitely a fine walk especially during the early season. This is considered as an easy trail in Alberta.

3. The Cory Pass Loop– Named after the Cory Pass in between Mount Edith and Mount Cory, this is a trail found in Banff National Park in Alberta and is considered to be one of the most strenuous day hikes in the Banff area. However, despite the difficulty of this trail, it is highly popular because the views of the limestone monolith of Mt Louis are said to be worth all the effort. The best time to do this trail is during mid-season when all the snow is gone. Additional factors that make this trail a little more challenging is that no water can be found anywhere along the trail, and routes can be difficult to locate.

Hiking in Canmore

Let’s go hiking!

4. Black Tusk Trail in Whistler BC – There are plenty of popular hiking trails in Whistler but Black Tusk is on top of the list for many reasons, mainly for its breathtaking views and incredible geology. A hike on this trail is just amazing. This is perfect for highly adventurous hikers. Standing at the top, you can have a view of almost everything underneath. The Black Tusk trail is actually three hikes made into one. You can access the Black Tusk trail through Garibaldi Lake and return through Taylor Meadows. These two are both great destinations alone but when combined with Black Tusk, it becomes the best. It’s a 30 km hike for a round-trip hike, trail head to trail head.

5. John Muir Trail in Yosemite National Park, California - This is a long-distance trail, about 215 miles. The John Muir Trail runs through the Sierra Nevada Range. The starting point is the Yosemite National Park and the end point is at Mount Whitney with an elevation of 14,505 ft. Mount Whitney is actually the highest point in the continental US. This trail was named after the naturalist named John Muir. July till September is the primary hiking season here at John Muir. A permit is a requirement to enjoy a hike on this trail. A hiker can obtain it from the Yosemite National Park, the starting point of this trail. Only one permit is required throughout the duration of the entire hike.

Are you a Tough Mudder?

I recently received an email with a video clip of a Tough Mudder event. My heart was pounding, watching the incredible footage of people tackling the world’s toughest obstacle course. I could feel my adrenaline pumping and noticed my mind saying “this would be so fun to experience”. For those who don’t know, Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile hardcore obstacle course designed by British Special Forces to test your strength, stamina, mental grit and team camaraderie.

The endurance courses involve a variety of rough terrain including mud, fire, 12 foot walls, icy water and 10,00 volts of electricity. This is not a race to be attempted alone … it truly is about pushing yourself to your limits, both physically and mentally as well as working together as a team to support each other through it. Savour the sense of accomplishment after pushing yourself and teammates through challenging terrain and extreme obstacles.

Events are held throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Australia,  New Zealand, Japan and South Africa. In 2012, roughly 500,000 people worldwide participated in a total of 35 events, making Tough Mudder the world’s fastest-growing endurance adventure series. Are you a Tough Mudder?