Winter Relaxation: Getaways

Fly Direct from PDX to Sun or Snow This Winter

Whether you’d rather snorkel in Hawai'i or ski in Sun Valley, PDX can take you there.

By Ramona DeNies December 20, 2016 Published in the January 2017 issue of Portland Monthly

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If you seek calm, you’ll find it on the Big Island—least-crowded of the Hawaiian archipelago's major islands. Portland snowbirds can nab a six-hour direct flight to one of the world’s most diverse climate zones—everything from tropical to temperate to tundra. Humpback whales surface off the Kohala coast; the sun warms black (or white or green) sand beaches. And, of course, geology provides year-round natural fireworks. (Boggle, like one Mark Twain, at Kilauea Caldera’s “gorgeous sprays of lava gouts and gem spangles.”) Lush hikes compete with horseback rides across the Waimea grasslands. And there are, of course, the Kona Coast’s world-class golf resorts, with their free pupu platters. But the perfect Airbnb rain forest treehouse near Hilo? It’s out there, too. Winter fares from approximately $500 

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Sun Valley

Starting December 17, Portland ski bums have a direct line, via Alaska Airlines, to the nation’s original ski resort. In Sun Valley, Idaho, more than 2,000 acres of pillowy, billowy powder greet downhill and Nordic skiers alike on Dollar and Bald Mountains—from runs gnarly enough for Olympic medalists like Kaitlyn Farrington to snowshoe paths looping through Sun Valley Resort’s sprawling backwoods. The Sun Valley Lodge, built in 1936, offers 65 suites with private fireplaces and an expanded all-weather saline pool, ringed with heated Portuguese limestone. But if you want to discover the real reason that nature lovers flock here to clear heads, you’ll have to step outside the lodge. Deep in the needle-peaked Sawtooth Range, surrounded by pristine trout rivers and thick alpine forests, you’ll simply breathe it—certifiably the freshest air in the Lower 48. Fares from approximately $175

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