Bored with the same old snow sports? You might want to try skijoring (pronounced SKEE-johr-ing), a cross between Nordic skiing and dog mushing. One or more sizable dogs (35 pounds or more) are harnessed to speed the glide of a human skier through snow.
A six-hour clinic on the basics will be held March 9 at Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort near Lake Tahoe. You need to bring your own dog (or two) and $47.50 (with ski rental) or $37.50 (without ski rental). The special gear -- a harness for the dog, a waist belt for you and a bungee-corded leash -- can be borrowed, or you can buy it for about $40. Reservations are required; (800) 500-3871.
Many cross-country ski resorts ban or restrict skijoring. Royal Gorge used to allow it but stopped this year (except for the clinic) because of accidents, said Neil Erasmus, operations director. Forest preserves and snow parks commonly allow skijoring, said instructor Mollie Attell.
For information, contact the North American Skijoring and Ski Pulk Assn., (907) 349-9663, www.ptialaska.net/~skijor; Skijor Now, (888)486-6824, www.skijornow.com; or Sierra Nevada Dog Drivers Inc., www.sndd.org.
Faster flights, east and west, from California
Southern Californians are getting new nonstop options to the East Coast and Hawaii.
On July 26, Southwest will launch nonstop service between San Diego and Baltimore/Washington International airport. Fares begin at $99 each way. The discount airline, known for its regional routes, began its first coast-to-coast nonstops last fall, between LAX and BWI.
Last month Hawaiian-based Aloha began four-times-weekly nonstops between Burbank and Kahului, Maui; starting March 14, service will be daily. Round-trip fares begin at $399.
The U.S. State Department last week warned against travel to Bolivia, citing the "deteriorating political and security situation." For updates, call (888) 407-4747 or visit www.travel.state.gov.... Northwest Airlines will extend through Feb. 28, 2005, the elite status of its frequent fliers who are in the reserves or National Guard, if they are called to extended duty, and of active-duty military members who receive deployment orders. Fliers must fax their military orders and frequent-flier numbers to (218) 254-7566.
DEAL OF THE WEEK
A room and golf for two in Hawaii
The "Golf Forever" package at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott, an Outrigger resort, on Hawaii's Big Island offers two people a garden-view room, one confirmed tee time and unlimited play privileges on the same course (on a space-available basis) for $308 per room per night, double occupancy. By comparison, published room rates are $315 (or $189, under some specials), and greens fees for guests are $115 per person per round. The deal is subject to availability. (888) 924-5656, www.waikoloabeachmarriott.com.
FREE FOR THE ASKING
A spin through California areas
"Northern California Adventures" covers a lot of territory -- perhaps too much. (It lists only six hotels in San Francisco.) But the 46-page guide provides a useful overview of some worthwhile, less known regions between the Bay Area and the state's northern border. Order from the Redwood Empire Assn., (800) 200-8334, www.redwoodempire.com.