In the winter, nothing’s better than getting away for a long weekend in the great outdoors. The escape from the daily grind, and the usual haunts, is a win-win—as long as you pack correctly. With some ruggedly handsome style essentials, you can layer like a pro for maximum warmth (and minimum bulk).
Whether you’re heading to a major ski resort or really going off the grid to a backcountry cabin, we’ve identified the style essentials you need for your great escape.
There’s not much that’s better than getting away for a long weekend. The escape from the daily grind, and the usual haunts, is a win-win—as long as you pack correctly. That means nabbing the stylish streetwear that feels laidback but shows you’re put together.
From the perfect bag to the essentials for lounging and touring, the blueprint below will help you get out of town with a mix of useful fashions and a few splurges that are definitely worth it for an urban getaway (or everyday life in whatever city you call home). Shop our 13 favorite pieces (while you still can).
Actually, winter is here. If the White Walkers are closing in and you haven’t yet gotten this year’s ski rig, the Sierra Trading Post big Winter Clearance Sale can help.
Looking for new skis? How about a new deck? Sierra has everything a skier or snowboarder could want on sale right now—most of it for less than a hundred bucks. Even apparel like ski jackets, pants, and gloves, is on blowout. With an epic winter bearing down on us, the conditions are going to be awesome for anyone who loves the season.
Not a skier? No need to worry. Sierra Trading Post’s Winter Clearance Sale has thousands of items on sale, so you should go check it out anyway. You’re bound to find something to inspire you to get outside and face Old Man Winter with a chip on your shoulder.
The Acura RDX is an important reboot for the luxury brand. But when I drove one, it was in conditions far from those highly controlled environments that automakers create for journalists: Rather than a perfect road under pure sunshine, it was a half-inch-an-hour Texas deluge—biblical stuff. And that precise scenario made me think you should be driving this thing if you are into the white-hot five-seat luxury SUV segment.
The imperfect conditions I piloted the RDX through in the exurbs are likely similar to your daily drive: bracing right-hand turns onto speedy highways and left-handers across oncoming traffic.
The RDX is made for this stuff. Take a tough right turn into a highway merge, hit the gas, and an all-wheel-drive system adeptly powers the outside rear wheel—up to 100 percent of the backside’s available torque, if needed. In most vehicles, you’d take the turn slowly, then apply power once you’re straightened out, to avoid upsetting the car’s balance, but in the RDX you find yourself gunning it while you let the AWD system and steering sort themselves out—even in the rain.
When you ask for it, you get plenty of power. Acura ditched the RDX’s V6 option, opting for a two-liter turbo charged four—essentially the same powerplant as in the highly entertaining Honda Civic Type R, tuned here to make 272 horsepower and tied to a 10-speed automatic.
But Acura didn’t just improve the drivetrain: The cabin is a sybaritic space that feels as if it were dreamed up by designers soaking in a clothing-optional Big Sur spa. A panoramic moonroof is standard; under it, the leather-wrapped interior is filled with curves and arches, with hardly a straight line in sight. By the numbers, the RDX beats its competitors in interior roominess, and the driver’s seat is adjustable 16 ways. If you can’t find a comfortable spot here, you’re probably incapable of chilling out.
Acura and parent company Honda are pushing to include as standard more tech like the RDX’s lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise, and emergency braking. To get those on the competing Audi Q5 would cost thousands extra. Also standard: the RDX’s infotainment system, controlled via a touch pad. But if you get fed up with its learning curve, you can chuck duties over to Apple CarPlay. Both let you talk to the RDX using natural language, so many requests get you what you want. Except “find dry land,” apparently.
Everyone knows Colorado is one of the best states to visit for a winter weekend getaway, but outdoor adventurers tend to hit the same spots in swarms—namely Vail and Aspen. Telluride has all the charm of a story book, but it can be challenging to get to. So, why not head to Breckenridge? With five skiing peaks (one of which tops out at 13,000 feet), there’s plenty of powder to explore for those who want to ski or snowboard. There’s also more than 50 miles of town trails open for snowshoeing, fat biking, and cross-country skiing. If staying inside is more your style (hey, the cold isn’t for everyone), Breck’s art district was ranked in the top spot on the 2017 Arts Vibrancy Index for small communities, meaning there are plenty of theater performances, art galleries, or crafting workshops to be found on these small streets.
Here’s our long weekend guide to exploring all that Breckenridge has to offer.
How to Get There
Fly into Denver International Airport, then decide if you want to rent a car. Breckenridge is a 100-mile journey (roughly two hours) from the airport. Once you’re in town, you won’t really need to drive, so we recommend booking the Epic Mountain Express shuttle. Once in Breck, you can use the Breckenridge Free Ride bus service (download the My Free Ride app for prompt updates on when exactly your bus will show up) and request a Lyft/Uber to bounce around town.
If you want to be in the middle of all the mountain action, book a room at One Ski Hill Place, conveniently located at the base of Peak 8. For about $399 a night, you’ll not only have ski-in/ski-out access—you’re literally steps away from the BreckConnect Gondola that takes you up to four lifts or down into town—but you’ll also be able to relax in the indoor pools and hot tubs after a long day of activity, or challenge friends to a game at the private bowling alley.
Those who crave more adventure should opt for the newly opened Sister’s Cabin, the first backcountry hut built on Summit County public lands in more than 20 years. The 2,090-square-foot cabin sits at 11,445 feet. You and your friends will have to hike, ski, or snowshoe to the front door. The trek is worth it: There’s a cozy wood-fired sauna waiting to warm you up post-workout. And if you don’t have your own skis or snowshoes, you can rent ‘em from Mountain Outfitters over on South Ridge Street. The cabin accommodates 14 guests, and goes for $50 per bed per night.
Ridden’s winter beer and distillery tour Courtesy Image
Thursday: Bikes and Beer
Afternoon: Familiarize yourself with the area and ward off jet lag with a leisurely fat biking tour through town. Sign up for Ridden’s winter beer and distillery tour and your guide will take you through the streets of Breckenridge, stopping to give interesting historical anecdotes of the old mining town along the way, before guiding you down snowy paths that deliver you right to Breckenridge Distillery’s doorstep. There you’ll take a tasting and tour the facilities to learn some of the secrets behind their award-winning vodka, gin, and bourbon. The tour and three-spirit tasting is complimentary, but if you hand over an extra $10, you can taste 10 varieties, including their spiced whiskey, espresso vodka, and spiced rum.
From there you’ll make a bunny hop over to Broken Compass Brewing, where board games, darts, and 13 beers are waiting. (Their ginger pale ale and coconut porter come highly recommended.) A tasting flight is included in your Ridden tour, but this is where the riding ends, so feel free to stay and imbibe as much as your heart desires. The brewery promotes a free shuttle service that drops you off back in town, so no DD is required.
Evening: Since Breckenridge is at a base altitude of 9,600 feet above sea level, take it easy for a night while your body adjusts to the altitude. There’s an impressive culinary boom happening (more than two dozen restaurants opened in the last year alone). One such place: Aurum. It’s a high-end option serving modern American cuisine with a laidback, come-in-your-jeans vibe. Standout dishes include the Colorado chicken roulade and honey spiced culver duck confit, though you’ll want to save room for dessert—their chocolate chip cookies are served with a unique milk jam that seriously can’t be missed.
Image Source / Getty Images
Friday: Hit the Slopes
Morning: You can’t come to Breckenridge—especially during ski season—without some time on the mountain. With five distinct peaks, 11 bowls, and North America’s highest chairlift, trust when we say it’s worth your while, whether it’s your first time strapping into skis or you’re a seasoned pro. If it’s your first full day in town, Ski and Snowboard School guide Patrick Guilbert suggests sticking to trails below the tree line while your body continues to adjust to the altitude. (Though no one will tattle if you nab some of that high-alpine powder in the afternoon.) Heads up: Those renting equipment will want to wake up early, with a quick in-and-out fuel stop at Clint’s Bakery & Coffee House, as the lines for boots and gear can get long fast.
Afternoon: After a warm shower, catch the local bus for happy hour over at The Gold Pan Saloon, a watering hole that’s been open since 1879 and allegedly has the longest continuous liquor license west of the Mississippi (meaning it’s seen plenty of gunfights and lasted through Prohibition). Be sure to play the ring toss game—anyone who rings the hook on their first try wins a free shot.
Evening: Call ahead for a free shuttle service that takes you back to Breckenridge Distillery which, at 9,600 feet, is reportedly the world’s highest distillery. This time around, you’ll want to indulge in specialty cocktails (the Oaked and Smoked is a can’t-miss), as well as the diverse menu crafted by celebrity chef David Burke. Our recommendation: Split a variety of small plates with your crew, including the angry octopus, beet-and-goat cheese torte, and maple pepper bacon, which comes out on a literal clothesline. (Note: This restaurant is popular amongst tourists and locals alike, so book a reservation before your trip. Foodies should request seating at the high top to watch the chefs in action.)
Morning: For advanced and expert skiers—meaning you aren’t looking for much instruction and can comfortably navigate black diamonds—the Breck Guides Go Beyond experience is worth the indulgent splurge. For $855 (that can be spent solo or split amongst 6 people), you’ll be partnered with the elites of the mountain’s Ski and Snowboard School—these guides have not only passed the standard PSIA/AASI Level III certification, but also an Avalanche Level I course and First Aid/CPR certification—and given special access to the ski patrol’s morning meeting, which grants you a behind-the-scenes look at avalanche control and how patrollers work with weather patterns to determine what terrain is best that day. You’ll also have access to first tracks, so you’re cutting through fresh pow before anyone else. Your guide will take you to all the best hidden stashes, easy-to-miss glade runs, and the most challenging terrain above the tree lines. Basically, you’ll head to après with major bragging rights.
Good Times Adventures dogsledding tour Courtesy Image
Evening: Head to dinner at Sancho Tacos and Tequila, where the fried chicken, pork belly, and sweet potato tacos (not to mention any of the margs) offer some serious zing. Then, venture over to Mountain Time Escape Room, where you can choose from three interactive themes and try to break free before the clock runs out. Newbies should try the Boreas’ Revenge room, whereas pros should test their wits in their newest room, Paranormal Mystery.
International Snow Sculpture Championships Courtesy Image
Sunday: A Leisurely Morning
Morning: Wind down your trip with a relaxed sit-down breakfast at Columbine Cafe. The menu is one of the bigger ones in town, but you can’t go wrong with the corned beef hash or steak and eggs. If you’re in more of a rush, swing by Kava Cafe just one block down. Sure, you could choose from a limited selection of breakfast burritos and lattes, but locals visit this small shop for their hot-out-of-the-oil mini donuts tossed in maple brown, cinnamon, or powdered sugar.
Afternoon: Breckenridge gets an average of nearly 30 feet of snowfall each year, and locals know how to make the most of every flake. If you’re in town from January 21-25, you can watch 16 teams of four snow artists transform 25-ton blocks of snow into a walkable outdoor art gallery during the 29th annual International Snow Sculpture Championships. But if you can’t make it on those exact dates, don’t freak: the artwork—which is created in 65 hours across five days of competition—will remain up for display until January 30th.
We were so taken aback by the Carhartt Winter Clearance Sale recently, we had to tell you about it. Now, the legendary American workwear company has doubled down, extending its Winter Clearance through the end of January. Who’s ready to rock some rugged earth tones?
Here’s the best part: The deals are even better than before. Right now and through January 31, take up to 40 percent off over two hundred Carhartt items—and that’s just in the men’s store. (For the ladies, Carhartt has a smaller selection but still some great deals on fleece, thermals, outerwear, and much more.) From their legendary dungarees and thermals to fleece, footwear, and a bunch more, these deals are even more jaw-dropping than what we saw last week.
It seems like Christmas just ended, but with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, your gift-giving duties are far from over. Show the whiskey fan in your life some love with one of these awesome gifts for the rye, bourbon, or Scotch lover in your life.
We whiskey drinkers are a notoriously picky lot, and we’re not afraid to admit it. We know what we like, and we want what we want. You can never go wrong with bottle of Pappy Van Winkle or something along those lines for birthdays, holidays, and whatnot. But Valentine’s Day is the time to go above and beyond, to do something a little different, and be original. Anyone can buy a bottle of booze; instead, opt for something with a little more personality that shows you really care.
Check out these awesome gifts for the whiskey lover.
The current show proves interesting, as always: The industry has moved toward crossovers and SUVs, and plenty of debuts prove that, but a few sportscars, like the Toyota Supra, provided the real fireworks. Here are the rides you need to know about.
The tent was pitched precisely where a tent should never be pitched, hence the lightning strike. It was late September of 2011 and Jon Kedrowski, a geography professor and mountaineer from Vail, Colorado, had been racing from one range to the next for the past three months. His goal was both adventurous and, well, eccentric: camp atop all 58 of Colorado’s iconic 14,000-foot peaks.
“I heard the thunder right over my head, rolled out of my sleeping bag, and grabbed my pack, which I always keep ready when I’m doing these summit bivvies,” he says.
Around 9:30 that evening, he bailed from his shelter—out into the sideways hail, the loose rocks, the whirling sparks of electricity. A few hours later, having hidden from the storm in a cluster of stunted conifers, he climbed back to the crest of 14,420-foot Mount Harvard and found that his tent had partially melted.
Kedrowski tells me this story as we hike toward Cathedral Lake, a tarn surrounded by three 13,000-foot peaks in Colorado’s Elk Range, south of Aspen. It’s early autumn, and though the leaves framing the trail are a cheery orange, the forecast hardly invites an overnight in the alpine: Heavy gray skies portend snow. But that’s fine with Kedrowski, because today he’s interested in simply scouting campsites, not actually getting shut-eye. Recently he began toying with the idea for a new bivvy project, one that would celebrate the state’s smaller—but often more dramatic— mountains. I’m tagging along to find out why.
In the minds of most serious alpinists, bivouacking is a hardship to endure, not a pastime to pursue. The standard line of reasoning goes something like this: I’ll curl up on some precarious ledge with minimal gear only when it’s an absolute must—for the sake of a new route, a fast-and-light blitz—because doing so is both miserable and dangerous. But Kedrowski has inverted the traditional logic, spending as much time above tree line over the past seven years as your average mountain goat. He’s watched the shadow of his mountaintop bed creep out over the plains at dusk, encompassing entire cities, and he’s witnessed every imaginable type of weather, from hurricane-strength winds to perfect pin-drop stillness.
Kedrowski striking a pose on Everest. Courtesy of Jon Kedrowski
“Getting to anchor the tent way up on some isolated hunk of rock, yeah, that’s plainly awesome,” he says. “The solitude. The scenery. You sit back, and the peak…it like takes you in.”
Raised in Vail, 39-year-old Kedrowski grew up outdoors. He and his childhood pals were backpacking unsupervised in the Holy Cross Wilderness as 12-year-olds, and by the age of 18, he had summited all the Colorado 14ers. In 2002, when he was in his early 20s, a buddy suggested they camp atop Mount Elbert, the highest point in the state, without a tent, just for kicks.
That glimpse of empty moonlit vistas stuck with Kedrowski as he traveled to Florida and Texas for advanced degrees in environmental geography. During the summers of 2007 and 2008, he conducted field research for his Ph.D. in Washington, surveying “climber experience” on Mount Rainer’s glaciers. He saw firsthand the overcrowding, and that reality, contrasted against the memory of his Elbert evening, stirred something in him. When he landed back in Colorado for the summer of 2011, the 14er bivvy project was, in a sense, inevitable: He yearned for the wildness of the off-hour high peaks.
Over three months, Kedrowski hiked up each mountain toward the end of the day, found a suitable—or not so suitable—spot to pitch his tent, and with a deli sandwich for dinner and a puffy coat for warmth, settled in to watch “the light show”: gilded clouds, full-arc rainbows, shooting stars that he could practically reach out and touch. Many of the peaks he did alone, but occasionally he camped with his friend Chris Tomer, a Denver meteorologist.
“This was a risky project, but the personal challenge was too alluring,” says Tomer. “Jon did all the heavy lifting, and I supplied the forecasts. It was a quick education up there.”
During the summit pushes, Kedrowski shot photos for a coffee-table book that was published in 2012 with the understated title Sleeping on the Summits. Then he took his passion on the road: 13 14ers in the Sierra Nevada, 10 snowy volcanoes in the Cascades (all of which involved ski descents). A second book emerged from these excursions, along with a deeper understanding of what recreational bivvying has to offer—in particular, how it simulates the intensity and complexity of routes encountered in the greater ranges like the Himalayas.
Everest is the be-all and end-all. But you climb it, and your life’s not over. Then what?
“Each attempt is like a mini expedition,” he says. “Be patient, be ready, wait for windows in the storm, hit it when you can hit it, back off when you can’t.”
Conditions in Colorado’s alpine zone are notoriously capricious, even in summer: Temperatures can plunge into the teens; dark rain squalls can unexpectedly appear from behind a neighboring peak. For Kedrowski, learning to read the environment’s changes and react accordingly is a life-or-death skill. And in addition to relying on his backyard summits as a kind of mental training ground, he uses them to pre-acclimate in preparation for overseas objectives.
“After hundreds of days at 14,000 feet, my body just functions so well,” he says. “Blood flow, hydration, everything. I don’t need to eat as much. I don’t need to rest as much. I don’t get cold.”
Kedrowski delights in wilderness adventuring—he’s climbed Everest twice and this summer “crushed powder turns on Denali”—but after each outing there’s always the question: what’s next? “I did Everest not long after the Colorado bivvy project,” he says. “Everest is the be-all and end-all. But you climb it, and your life’s not over. Then what?”
Kedrowski skis from the summit of Denali. Courtesy of Jon Kedrowski
The answer, according to Kedrowski, requires creativity—or at least it should. His to-do list includes finishing the seven summits (a trip to Antarctica for the Vinson Massif is all that’s left) and visiting Himalayan peaks Manaslu and Cho Oyu for more ski mountaineering. But alongside these big goals, he’s also scheming to complete a new book about the hardships and satisfactions of snoozing in the Colorado high country—though he doesn’t know exactly what the project will entail.
“It’ll probably feature a bunch of 13ers, even some 12ers, all these lesser-known mountains that have sweet views,” he says. Just as alpinism has evolved from tackling peaks by brute force to finding elegant, innovative ways of summiting them, Kedrowski insists on prizing the aesthetics of each lofty campsite. “People are up there for the sunrises, beating the afternoon storms, but almost nobody catches the sunsets. And the starry nights.”
Above all else, Kedrowski hopes the book will celebrate what he refers to as wandering. “These days everybody is so domesticated,” he says. “My main thing is trying to inspire people to get out. It’s not like there’s a governing body for this stuff. Other than environmental ethics, there are no rules. Create your own quest. See what happens.”
If you’re Kedrowski, what happens is you pursue an idiosyncratic desire to pitch a tent where a tent should never be pitched.
“It’s great when some dude who thinks he’s beaten everybody to the summit shows up at dawn and you’re curled up in your sleeping bag, like, ‘Hello, sorry for the surprise!’” he says.
Of course, it’s not always so smooth. Kedrowski’s favorite adage is an old classic: The mountain is in charge. Sometimes you’re afforded pleasant dreams beneath a glittering quilt of starlight. And sometimes you’re driven, terrified, from your soon-to-be-melted tent.