Your West Valley News: Travel


  • Arizona ski areas deep in snow from El Nino

    Flagstaff • Arizona is known for being hot in the summer, mild in the winter, for cactus and the desert, and outdoor activities like hiking and golf.Here’s one that tends to go under the radar: Skiing.That’s right, skiing. And not just a rope tow for kids to take a five-second ride down to the family land.Massive mountains that appear to be plucked out of the Colorado Rockies. Multiple chair lifts, even a quad or two. Runs ranging from conveyor-belt beginners to tree skiing and hike-and-ski bowls above the tree line.“People come to Arizona and they’re shocked; they’re surprised that we even have skiing,” Arizona Snowbowl general manager J.R. Murray said. “Then when they come and see the mountain and how great it is, they really are pleasantly surprised.”What Arizona doesn’t have is a lot of choices. The Grand Canyon State has four downhill skiing areas: Snowbowl and Elk Ridge in northern Arizona, Sunrise Park near the New Mexico state line and Mount Lemmon above Tucson.

  • Mardi Gras arrives early this year

    New Orleans • Seems like we’ve barely recovered from Christmas and New Year’s, but it’s already Carnival time, with Mardi Gras falling early this year, on Feb. 9.Carnival, from the Latin, means “farewell to the flesh.” Mardi Gras — which literally translates as Fat Tuesday — is the deadline for finishing off all the goodies in the house before the beginning of Lent, a period of austerity leading up to Easter.So in practical terms, Carnival season is an almost immediate challenge to any New Year’s resolutions to eat wisely. One tempting Carnival tradition: the sweet baked rings called king cakes.For those heading to New Orleans, here’s a guide to routes, traditions, attractions and more.HOTELS AND PARKINGAs with any big event, hotel rooms are going fast. What’s left can run into hundreds of dollars per night. Parking is also tight along parade routes. French Quarter residents and hotel guests get parking passes, but the Quarter is closed to outside vehicles the entire weekend.

  • Chinatown bustles with activity

    San Francisco • The best plan for tackling San Francisco’s Chinatown is no plan at all. Simply wandering the wide streets and narrow alleys will take you where you need to go.Whether you just happen to be in town or are visiting for something specific like the Super Bowl or Lunar New Year — the Year of the Monkey dawns Feb. 8 — spending a few hours in the second-largest Chinatown in the United States (behind New York City) is always worthwhile.Visit early and you’ll feel the rush of everyday life as the food markets and bakeries hum with activity — this is a real community as well as a tourist attraction. Visit at dusk and Chinatown takes on a magical glow, the lanterns strung across Grant Street glowing red and the curio shop windows ablaze in a glitter of possibilities.Here’s a quick guide to getting the most out of your stroll.How to get thereA good place to start is the much-photographed gate at Bush Street and Grant Avenue. This is Instagram central and a short walk from Union Square. You can also ride the cable car to Chinatown via either the Powell-Hyde or Powell-Mason lines. Cable cars make many stops; two possibilities for alighting are at Washington and Mason streets or Powell and California. Tickets, $7, can be purchased at the turnaround at Powell and Market streets or in advance online. You don’t have to queue at the turnaround to board; you can walk a few blocks up the line — look for the brown and white signs indicating stops. Be aware, though, that you may have trouble getting a seat when it’s busy.

Worth the Trip

Tell Us What You Think!

Should Arizona lower the age when teens can obtain driving permits?

Arizona House Bill 2080 would allow teenagers as young as 15 to obtain a driving permit, only letting them drive with a licensed operator who is 21 years or older. The current driving permit age limit is 15 years, 6 months. Is this change a good idea?

Total Votes: 78