Thanks to a new generation of light-weight aluminum snowshoes, fitness fanatics are burning serious calories (about 500 an hour) during their winter getaways with-out lugging around cross-country skis, boots, and poles. At Vermont's ultra-expensive Twin Farms resort (802-234-9999), Anne Black Cone has noticed the shift from cross-country skiing to snowshoeing. "If you can walk, you can snowshoe," she explains. "Why bother with all that heavy equipment?" And in response to the sport's growing popularity, Tubbs (the Burton of snowshoes) has launched 90-minute guided snowshoe tours in Colorado's Estes Park and, starting this January, in Stowe, Vermont -- with plans to roll out similar programs in Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and the Pacific Northwest (800-882-2748).
Autumn is always prime time for road-tripping, but with so many travelers reluctant to fly right now, driving vacations are more popular than ever. Perfect timing, then, for Travelog's new audiotours of eight destinations within driving distance of the city, from the Lower Hudson Valley to Long Island's North Fork. The recorded tours provide detailed directions, historical background, and points of interest along a given route -- and come on cassette tape as well as CD. Each tour includes 75 minutes of recorded information (that's a full day of touring) plus maps and discount cards for restaurants, stores, and hotels along the way. A warning: One of the tour guides sounds like that guy from Moviefone ($19.95 per tour; 866-538-7868 or www.travelog.com).
Miami Parties On
Travel slowdowns don't seem to have put a damper on Miami's still-burgeoning nightlife, so New Yorkers seeking Manhattan's former energy levels in a warmer setting this winter won't be disappointed. In fact, Miami's restaurant scene is slowly cloning New York's, with a new Nobu outpost at the Shore Club (305-695-3232), a Bond Street offshoot in the Townhouse hotel (305-398-1806), a just-opened branch of New York hot-spot Sushi Samba on Lincoln Road (305-673-5337, pictured), and a Cafeteria due next spring. Kiss (305-532-8003) is also set to open this month on Lincoln Road, with half-naked acrobats contorting themselves on suspended stages as you dig into your prime rib. South Beach has two new club entries as well: Rain (305-674-7447) opened last month with a party attended by Jennifer Lopez and Jose Canseco, and Mynt (786-276-6132), the project of former Ingrid Casares partner Nicola Siervo, is set to open next week on Collins Avenue.
BETH LANDMAN KEIL
CHOW DOWN UNDER People go to Australia for many reasons -- the outback, the beaches: Now they're going to eat. Tour de Forks is launching a culinary tour of Sydney and Melbourne, featuring tastings at more than twenty wineries and restaurants (including, of course, Tetsuya's) and a visit to the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (March 13-26, $7,000; 212-447-9640). GO CANADA Old Montreal gets its first five-star boutique hotel this January with the opening of Le Saint-Sulpice, just a stone's toss from the Montreal Convention Center. Many of the hotel's roomy suites are equipped with fireplaces, floor-to-ceiling French windows, and glass-and-tile bathrooms (877-SULPICE; introductory rates start under $100). NO SPA IS AN ISLAND Guests at the Four Seasons Resort Maldives, Kuda Huraa (the up-and-coming hot spot in the Indian Ocean) now have access to a luxury open-air spa on nearby Hura Fundhu. The new private-island spa is accessible by boat only and offers honeymooners and travelers seeking solitude exotic treatments like the Monsoon Ritual, a body scrub followed by a rinse that simulates gentle monsoon rain (960-444-888).
Deal of the Week
Chicago's brand-new Peninsula hotel is offering New York Magazine readers a deluxe-room rate of $289 -- 32 percent off the regular rack rate -- plus shopping discounts at nearby Saks when you mention the "My Kind of Town" package. Through March 2002; 866-288-8889.