Moon landing in Vegas

get lost to planet earth: there’s a moon heading for a collision with Vegas.

With Branson and the like jettisoning off to the actual moon, the appropriately named Moon World Resorts Inc. is bringing the Big Cheese to us (to Las Vegas, specifically).

The Canadian-based company has announced plans for a $5 billion, 5.5-million-square-foot hotel whose signature feature will be a gigantic replica of the moon.

The moon itself will be 1/75,000th the size of the real thing. Which is actually pretty big, judging from the photo they’ve released.

The rest is a big deal too: a 2,500-seat theatre, a spaceship nightclub, a planetarium, a 5,000-seat event centre and 10,000-seat arena. And, of course, a 130,000-square-foot casino (this is Vegas)

Ninety-minute trips across 10 acres of craters in a ‘moon buggy’ will be available for $500 USD.

This is no conspiracy theory either – expected landing is in 2026 or 2027.  More are planned after that, with telescopes set to the Middle East, China, and Spain.

 

WATCH: The ORIGINAL underwater hotel

Underwater hotels in the 1980s weren’t really a thing.

When we say they weren’t really a thing, we mean they didn’t exist at all. Until Jules’ Undersea Lodge came along.

YouTuber Ryan Trahan recently spent a night in the Lodge, which was the world’s first underwater hotel when it came arrived in (beneath) Florida in 1985. Before that it was a laboratory.

And while the upscale versions in Dubai and such now are luxurious affairs, this one is anything but. You even have to scuba dive to get there.

Check out how Trahan fared:

Dive in.

WATCH: This is such a cool cabin

Levi Kelly is a vlogger that goes around testing and touring the very best cabins in the U.S. This guy stays in some damn cool places. 

So when he says a cabin set in the humble Wisconsin backcountry is the best stay in all of America, it’s a big deal. 

Check out Levi’s review of the Nordlys’ MetalLark Tower, near Federic, Wisconsin, the best Airbnb of 2021:

New York Sized

My passion for photography developed in a very specific way: through tinkering impetuously with camera lenses. This cannot be called reinventing photography, but it did shape me into the photographer I am today. Using a 45-millimeter tilt-shift lens, I folded the rubber in such a way that the image loses its characteristic sharpness in areas. With the right subject and perspective, the miniature effect quickly makes a realistic scene look orchestrated. Unconsciously, our mind interprets Tilt-Shift as something very small. This year, I focused my lens on life in New York, often from rooftops, bridges and observatories or from a helicopter or plane. The city simply ran its course and I documented it.

Photography by Jasper Léonard from his book, New York Resized, published by Lannoo Publishers

Mexican minimalism

Círculo Mexicano is a hotel that favours contemporary simplicity, in the heart of a city that is anything but.

Over 20 million people call the metropolitan area of Mexico City and it’s mixture of fiesta, gritty neighbourhoods, dancehalls and tacos, home. Circulo offers a retreat from the colour of the city, but on the inside has remained true to Mexico. Textiles in each room are from Oaxacan artisans specialized in the use of wool and other fabrics.

You also don’t need to be an architect, or a Mexican, to enjoy the sleek, minimalist designs of every room in this boutique hotel. The restaurant’s upmarket features a delicious French-Mexican menu which, like the architecture, can be enjoyed by anyone..    

Head up to the rooftop terrace in the afternoon for a dip in the pool, or for a Corona or tequila in the sun. This serves as either your preparation or respite from the craziness of the streets that surround. 

Board Northern Idaho’s Top 3 Resorts

Idaho will surprise most Aussies who love to ski or snowboard in the northern hemisphere winter. Apart from the old Hollywood glamour of Sun Valley though, there are three other top (but not as well known) resorts in Idaho’s northern panhandle to delight even the choosiest alpine adventurer.

Schweitzer Mountain Resort in the rugged Selkirk Mountains near Sandpoint (only 130 kilometres from Spokane International Airport and 105 kilometres from the Canadian border), is the largest ski resort in Idaho. Boasting some of the best powder in the northwest, it is renowned for its expert bowl chutes and glades, as well as nearly 1,200 hectares of skiable terrain, 610-metre vertical drops, 92 runs and three terrain parks. If that is not enough to get you waxing your skis, there is twilight skiing and 32 kilometres of cross-country trails. Oh, and most importantly, the amenities are first class with slope-side ski village accommodation and a lively après ski scene.

Silver Mountain, near Kellogg, just over an hour’s drive from Spokane on the I-90, is best known for its superlative tree skiing and long-lasting powder. There is a gondola village at the base, and you can enjoy a scenic ride on North America’s longest gondola to access the upper mountain slopes. For the kids, four runs of tubing fun with a carpet ride will provide hours of entertainment.

Lookout Pass, located on the Montana border near Wallace, is a cool, more local-style mountain that receives the most snow in all of northern Idaho. Great for learners, it also has progressive terrain parks and an unspoiled national forest setting.

All three resorts average more than 7.5 metres of that coveted powder snow per year. And because they are all relatively unknown, it means they are uncrowded, there are no lift lines, more skiable hectares per person and easy access through Spokane International Airport.

Ski or Snowboard in Sun Valley

Sun Valley is where skiing learned to ski! Or so the folklore goes. This Idaho  skiing mecca for those-in-the-know has never run out of style, or fashion.

Sun Valley was set up in an ideal four-season mountain region of south-central Idaho as the first destination winter resort by the Union Railroad in 1936, for the rich, the famous and the glamorous of Hollywood.

Earnest Hemingway fell in love with the area and finished “For Whom the Bell Tolls” at Sun Valley Lodge and is buried nearby. Marilyn Monroe, Clint Eastwood and too many other golden-era Hollywood names to list, also made this their winter playground. Over the years, its consistent pitch, lack of lift lines and variety of terrain have earned Sun Valley the reputation as one of the world’s finest ski resorts.

For skiers and boarders, Dollar Mountain is a separate learner’s haven, while Bald Mountain (affectionately known as Baldy) satisfies the most dedicated thrill seekers. The first chairlift was in Sun Valley and the resort now boasts the best snow-making facilities in the U.S., so you’re never going to run out of what you came for – great snow!

The lift lines are still non-existent, the day lodges luxe and the ski school legendary for group or individual tuition. The accommodation ranges from the historic western glamour at the ‘grande dame’ of resorts, Sun Valley Lodge, to ultra-chic at Limelight Hotel in the nearby town of Ketchum, or condos, apartments and everything in between.

For non-skiers, there is a huge range of fun experiences to enjoy. From a sleigh ride dinner at historic Trail Cabin in the woods, to ice skating, 40 km of cross-country skiing or hiking trails and exploring the authentic western town of Ketchum, with its bars, restaurants, and craft breweries there is fun a-plenty.

Fly into the local airport at Hailey (SUN) or take the scenic easy road-trip from Idaho’s capital of Boise, a great place to stay and sample one of the best, and fastest growing, cities in the west.

Visit Boise on your Idaho ski vacation

Boise is Idaho’s hip capital city, and one of the USA’s fastest growing towns. It’s the perfect entry point and pre or post stop on your road-trip to explore Idaho’s stunning ski fields.

Boise is a very walkable, green, friendly and safe city to explore with a vibrant downtown, cultural and culinary experiences, unique attractions and access to outdoor recreation. The Boise river runs through the heart of downtown, enhanced by a 25-mile Greenbelt of tree-lined pathways that access the city’s many parks.

The city boasts more than its fair share of locally-owned bars and restaurants, microbreweries and cider houses. It is also the home of the largest Basque community outside Europe and history- visitors can take a guided tour of the Basque museum, try Basque food; pintxos- Spanish style tapas, paella at the Basque Block Market and Deli and if the timing is right, attend the Jaialdi Festival (held only every five years) for full immersion.

A few of the other attractions and must-dos include a visit to the Peregrine Foundation’s Worldwide Center for Birds of Prey, dedicated to the study and preservation of raptors of all kinds. See these rare birds up close and check out the museum collection of the ancient art of falconry.

Craving outdoor exercise? Hike to Table Rock, a 3.7km loop trail just outside Boise for great views of the city, or try Cascade Raft & Kayak on the Payette River for an adrenaline rush.

Get your fill of retail therapy with cool houses in the Hyde Park neighborhood, listed on the National Historic Register or sample one of the many of the city’s first-class spas.

Drink your way through nearby wine country (yes! Idaho has a wine country with amazing wine…and breweries and food!). Boise has been called one of the best places for millennials to live in the U.S. but all visitors of all groups will find its charm and attractions hard to resist.

Rafting & Kayaking in Idaho

It’s no surprise that Idaho tops several lists when it comes to river sports. Idaho is home to the most navigable miles (3100) of whitewater in the continental USA. Whatever your skill level or available time, there are miles of adventure to discover on Idaho’s rivers.

The first commercial river rafting trips in the United States were launched in Idaho. Idaho outfitters always have been standard setters for the industry who can advise and take you on whitewater experiences ranging from easy 2-hour floats, one and two-day options for the time poor, to the excitement of a week- long adrenaline-fueled adventure and the wildest of whitewater.

The Salmon river is the most famous river in Idaho, and comprises different sections of the more than 300 miles for different experiences. The Middle Fork Salmon River is a legend in its own right and drops 3000 feet during its 105 mile Idaho rafting journey through Idaho’s remote and spectacular River of No Return Wilderness, the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states. It is protected by Congress as one of America’s first Wild and Scenic Rivers and its whitewater rapids are perfect for all ages.

Families with younger children can play on river beaches, explore Indian rock art and pioneer homesteads on specially designed rafting trips.

The Snake river is another Idaho legend where you can try raft-supported hiking trips. Or, immerse yourself in spectacular American grandeur of America’s deepest river gorge on a four or five-day Snake River in Hells Canyon trip. Other options in Idaho include the Bruneau river that carves its way through a remote wilderness of awe-inspiring deep canyons.

Or try an inflatable kayak adventure on one of Idaho’s most remote river trips along the upper reaches of the Owyhee. For those with more experience, the Lochsa River is Idaho’s wildest class IV whitewater run – perfect for experts and thrillseekers.

Bike the Hiawatha trail in Idaho

The Route of the Hiawatha is considered one of the most scenic stretches of railroad in the U.S. and is now the most popular ski area bike trail in the country, attracting more than 70,000 riders in 2020.

The Route of the Hiawatha winds through the rugged Bitterroot Mountains in the St. Joe Ranger District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest along an abandoned section of the Milwaukee Railroad. Its gentle 1.6-percent to 2-percent, all-downhill trail straddles the Idaho-Montana state line for 15 miles, through 10 dark tunnels and crossing seven sky-high steel train trestles.

Fifty interpretive trailside signs enhance the family-friendly experience, and tell the story of the railroad, the people who worked here, the forest, and the area’s rich history.

Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area is a short 7-mile ride to the East Portal trailhead for the Route of the Hiawatha. The resort offers lift-served downhill mountain biking, scenic chairlift rides up and down the mountain, lift-served hiking trails, a mountain summit nine-hole frisbee golf course, a bungee jump, and huckleberry picking later in the season.

There are five top-to-bottom downhill mountain bike trails with more planned. There are no jumps or wooden features on its family friendly trails, which vary from singletrack that winds through the woods and across ski trails to wider mountain-access roads. All the trails offer fun rides with some offering impressive views of the St. Regis Basin.

Lookout Pass offers rental bikes for adults and kids, as well as Burley bike trailers for youngsters and trikes and recumbent bikes for seniors and a few tandem bikes for the romantics. It also rents handlebar-mounted bike lights, necessary for riding through the route of the Hiawatha’s 10 dark tunnels, the longest of which burrows for 1.6 miles.

Special events during the summer include full-moon night rides and the Hiawatha Back to Nature Trail Run, a half marathon plus the Mountain Archery Festival, a family-focused event for archers of all abilities.