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10 Snowy Countries You Should Visit In Winter

10 Snowy Countries You Should Visit In Winter

When most of us think of a vacation, we imagine sunny beaches and summer getaways. But, there are so many great winter wonders out there that we couldn’t help but share some with you. These are some of the best winter holiday destinations around the world. So this year, instead of getting caught up in the tourist traps in the summer months, check out one of these magical stops around the globe.

Lake Tahoe, California

Lake Tahoe Winter

    Known for its beautiful scenery during the summer, what you might not know about Lake Tahoe is that it is also an enchanting winter stay. With phenomenal skiing, Tahoe offers a plethora of winter activities from snowshoeing, skating, sledding, and even great shopping. The resorts in the area also house some wonderful annual events, including the Magical Memories holiday celebration at the Squaw Creek Resort. Families can participate in the Grand Tree Lighting Ceremony, have Breakfast with Santa, and walk along the Gingerbread Village. Tahoe is truly a charming winter getaway.

    Switzerland

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    Switzerland Winter

      Known as the “playground for the rich and famous,” Switzerland is a big stop for the holiday season. With its picture-perfect cities like Bern and St. Moritz, and access to the, Alps, Switzerland offers one of the best places to spend your holidays abroad. From the Matterhorn to the “Top of Europe” — Jungfraujoch —to the Bernina Express, Switzerland is the perfect fairytale vacation for families and individuals alike. Currier and Ives truly had nothing on the Swiss.

      Iceland

      iceland ice cave

        With geothermal pools and spas, northern lights sightings, whale watching, and the majestic national parks, Iceland is a lesser-known winter secret for explorers all over. Ice climbing and glacier hiking are very popular during the snowy months. The stunning Northwest corner of Iceland, known as the Westfjords, is a wonderfully untainted wilderness and a great area for exploration.

        Westfjords, Norway

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        Westfjords

          With near-perfect conditions for skiing, Norway is a great stop for a winter vacation. But adventure isn’t all that Norway has to offer. In fact, with its Christmas Market in Oslo, the Gingerbread Town in Bergen, the Northern Lights Festival in Tromsø, and the Polar Jazz music festival in Svalbard, Norway is one of the top destinations for fun and enchanting winter activities. Don’t forget to slip into a sleigh for a little reindeer sledding with someone you love!

          Banff, Canada

          Banff

            Yeah, everyone knows about Canada for winter activities, but probably its best place to vacation overall is Banff National Park. With its delightful Winter Festival, this stunning region in Canada is one of the best places for families and individuals to visit. With après specials and full event schedules, there are countless opportunities for adventurers of all kinds. The beautiful Ice Magic Festival exhibits some of the most astounding ice carving around. In February, ski and snowboard pros compete in The Big Bear competition that is sure to make you say, “wow!” Banff isn’t just for adventurers either, with great dining, museums, galleries, and historic sites, there are also ample choices for culture gurus, too.

            Aspen, Colorado

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            Aspen Ski

              On a list of best winter destinations, we definitely can’t leave out Aspen, Colorado. Famous for its top-notch skiing, Aspen is every family’s winter dream. Along with its famous skiing, Aspen offers dog sledding, snowmobiling, fly fishing, hot air ballooning, ice skating, and so much more. With the Aspen Ideas Festival, Food & Wine Classic, Winter Words, and many more museums, Aspen isn’t just for ski junkies. Come for a truly great winter getaway this year to really experience all that Aspen has to offer.

              Sweden

              Sweden

                With 200 different resorts, Sweden is another Scandinavian must for winter fun. Travelers can go on a reindeer safari and sleep in entire hotels and igloos made from ice. Like Norway or Alaska, Sweden is one of the best places to see the Aurora Borealis because of the “blue hole” in the Abisko National Park. Along with reindeer or moose safaris, travelers can drive their own dog sleds, snowshoe through the Kungsleden, and dive into the culture rich Sapmi of the Sami people. Enjoy unique cuisines, snowmobile, and watch for the king of the forest (elk) all during your next winter vacation to Sweden.

                Moscow, Russia

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                Saint Basil's Cathedral

                  When it comes to winter vacations, most people steer clear of Russia, but this year, you really shouldn’t! In January, the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas with merry events for everyone — Moscow is a great “after-the-holidays” trip. Participate in the On Ice group tours in St. Petersburg, visit the mystical Winter Palace, and then be sure to catch The Nutcracker in the place that made it the fairytale joy it is today — Mariinsky Theatre.

                  Japan

                  Japan Winter

                    Most wouldn’t expect Japan to be on the list for best winter vacations, but it truly is a great snowy destination. There are endless winter activities, like the Kitami Yakiniku Festival with the Winter BBQ, visiting the Tadami River in Fukushima with its most striking landscapes, the Sapporo Snow Festival, and, of course, skiing. New Year’s is one of the best times of year for anyone traveling to Japan to experience some great ancient traditions and also some beautiful modern illumination around the Tokyo Michi Terrace and the Marunouchi Illumination. Be sure to jump onto a Japan tour this winter.

                    The Netherlands

                    Netherlands Snow

                      Last, but certainly not least, is Amsterdam — where the legend of Sinterklaas brought us Santa Claus. For those who want to spend more time than just a weekend celebrating Christmas, Amsterdam offers double the magic. On December 5th, Saint Nicholas’ Eve, the Dutch begin the celebrations with gift giving. On December 25th, the Dutch spend a second day of fun with food and family. Top the fun off with ice skating, shopping, and the best twinkling lights around.

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                      Paisley Hansen

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                      Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                      7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                      7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                      Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

                      Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

                      1. Exercise Daily

                      It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

                      If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

                      Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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                      If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

                      2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

                      Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

                      One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

                      This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

                      3. Acknowledge Your Limits

                      Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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                      Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

                      Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

                      4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

                      Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

                      The basic nutritional advice includes:

                      • Eat unprocessed foods
                      • Eat more veggies
                      • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
                      • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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                      Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                        5. Watch Out for Travel

                        Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                        This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                        If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                        6. Start Slow

                        Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                        If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                        7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                        Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                        My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                        If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                        I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                        Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                        More Tips on Getting in Shape

                        Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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