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Baby, It’s Cold Outside

By H.A.R.D. Wears on November 30, 2021 in Unique Retirement Gifts

I don’t know about you, but man, there’s a briskness to the air that screams at me every morning, threatening to snow and bury my sun-lovin’ soul (and whispering that I need to travel south). Not that I don’t enjoy winter, but really, I only like it when I’m playing in it, not when I have to dig out my vehicles, wear seven layers just to go to the market, or crank up the furnace because the three blankets I have on the couch don’t cut it. And my bones, they seem creak more in the winter. My arthritis acts up and my joints beg for warm relief. Any of this sound familiar? Please tell me I’m not alone in this! If you relate to any of the things I just wrote of, you might be interested in learning how some of my friends and I manage winter (when we aren’t traveling down around the warm states). Take a look at this winter activity list we’ve put together:

Snowmobiling In The West

I live in Idaho, where there’s lots of wide open-spaces, mountains, and great snowmobile trails (not that we always ride the groomers, but sometimes it’s nice to let someone else carve the path for you). Some of our favorite places to ride our sleds include:

  • West Yellowstone, Montana: Yellowstone is a paradise to love and play in year-round, and winter is exceptional! The snow is deep, the powder is fresh, and there is no limit to great trails and diverse terrain. You can even take guided tours to go see the Old Faithful Geyser Basin and other natural features found near and in the park. The key to truly enjoying the ride is great gear with lots of layers.
  • Priest Lake, Idaho:  We think this is one of the best places for snowmobile enthusiasts to flock to in the winter. And one of the best places to stay is Elkins Resort on Priest Lake. It’s in Idaho near the Canada border with trails cutting through the Selkirk Mountain Range. If you don’t have your own equipment, you might be able to rent gear nearby from crown Jewel Winter Sports at 208.691.3719
  • Alpine, Wyoming: Just picture a small western Wyoming town surrounded by mountains that seem to sprout right out of the valley. This area is great for intermediate riders, but every experience level can find some fun here. The backcountry powder is minutes from town, so after a good afternoon of riding we like to drive our sleds downtown for a great meal.
  • Island Park, Idaho: Man, you lookin’ for trails? Over five hundred miles of groomed trails keep us riding for days. And if you like riding in powder, you can be up to your armpits in the fluff from December through March. And the terrain, well there’s nothing boring about that! You can go from mountain meadows to vertical climbs in minutes, trees, no trees, valleys and gentle slopes-you get it all around Island Park.

Downhill Skiing In The West

Just so you know, I had to cheat for this list and pull it from SKI Magazine Readers’ Top-Ranked Ski Resorts in the West 2021. I love all of the hills listed, but narrowed it down to our area. The reason I had to cheat is because we have a kick-ass hill 15 minutes from our driveway that I call “home”, so do all my friends. It’s called Pebble Creek Ski Area, but the locals call it The Rock! It’s a challenging hill, welcoming to skiers and boarders. If you can ski Pebble Creek, you can ski anything!

But thanks to SKI Magazine, here are a few other awesome runs to try:

  • Sun Valley, Idaho

“Sun Valley is a resort of its own making. It doesn’t try to keep up, it sets the standards and continues to find that rare balance of resort and western ski town.

  • Deer Valley, Utah

“Deer Valley delivers first class in every aspect but with a first-class price tag. My favorite in Utah for cruising groomers all day.”

  • Whitefish Mountain Resort, Mont.

“Whitefish has a wonderful mix of an authentic western town very close to the resort, excellent, varied terrain, good snow, and a really friendly, fun vibe. Plus you can’t beat the value. The downsize is frequent fog—but when it is clear on top of the mountain, the view of Glacier National Park is amazing!”

  • Park City Mountain, Utah

“Park City is easy to get to, has great snow and quality terrain for all abilities and a charming town.”

  • Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyo.

“Although Jackson Hole has certainly seen its share of development over the years it remains my favorite in North America. Most appropriate for advanced skiers.”

  • Big Sky Resort, Mont.

“Big Sky was above and beyond what I expected. After skiing 100 days per year for 31 years in Vail and thinking that was skiing, I felt born again. The soul of skiing was once again instilled in me.”

  • Alta Ski Area, Utah

“Alta magic. Snow, challenge, and the overall vibe is some of the best anywhere, and it really is hard to beat it. Its neighbor, Snowbird, rivals it, but both of them being so close means that they are more friends than anything else. The hike-to terrain at the resort is next level, with some of the most fun and steepest areas I have skied anywhere, and it always seems like there is another big storm on the horizon, even if it is in the middle of one, which I have been part of multiple times! If you need tons of extra activities in the area and a fancy village to go to, look elsewhere, but if you love powder, challenging steeps, and just a great time on the mountain, look no further than Little Cottonwood Canyon!”

  • Snowbird, Utah

“The Bird is Awesome for Pow and Steep and Deep. It makes your ski dreams come true.”

  • Grand Targhee, Wyo.

No overpriced fluff, but plenty of the white stuff. Photo Courtesy of Grand Targhee Ski Resort

“A classic old school resort. Amazing snow, no crowds. Worth the effort to get there.”

  • Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah

“Great snow, it’s Utah! No crowds compared to other Utah resorts. Deceivingly challenging terrain if you know where to explore! Good value with a major city at the doorstep.”

Hot Springs In The West

  • Burgdorf Hot Springs, Idaho

Idaho has great hot springs but Burgdorf Hot Springs is AWESOME. It offers two hot pools at an average temperature of 113F (45C), and a small pool for children to wade in. The property has rustic cabins that you can stay in. The resort is accessible by road in late spring and summer, but in the winter months you’ve got to ride in on snowmobiles (keeps the riff-raff away ?)

  • Kirkham Hot Springs, Lowman, Idaho

Idaho is known for its wide-open spaces and untouched nature and Kirkham Hot Springs is one of the best undeveloped hot springs in the U.S. The pools line up along the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway, nestled on the South Fork of the Payette River. Hot water pours over the cliff, where you can sit underneath the waterfall for a warm shower. Because there are 10 separate pools, you’ll always find a quiet place to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

  • Lava Hot Springs

Bubbling out of natural underground springs, the hot water is laden with minerals, but has no sulfur odor. Over 2.5 million gallons a day flow through the hot springs and are diverted into the Portneuf River keeping the springs ever changing and clean. The spring’s temperatures range from approximately 102˚ F to 112˚ F degrees. The hot pools are thought to have healing powers, and truly, after I soak in them, I feel regenerated and renewed!

The H.A.R.D. apparel line, HARD-Wears, made its debut in Daytona Beach, FL. And for the classy, beautiful women, the ones you dream about, a Dame’s apparel line is also in the works. But we are about more than just looking good. H.A.R.D. is a mindset, an attitude. A lifestyle that asks, reflects and answers HARD questions…

The creation of Half Ass Retired Dude was initially geared towards the Baby Boomer generation – the 78 million people born from 1946 to 1964. These are people in early retirement or those who will be retiring in the near future. However, as we began to ask these questions of ourselves, we realized we shouldn’t just target people our age. H.A.R.D. does not advocate quitting your job, but it encourages you to evaluate what you want and need. In most cases it just asks you to look at life differently. This is also something you shouldn’t do alone. Before making any hasty decisions, seek some advice, get a mentor, pray. A wise person always seeks counsel. Learn more about H.A.R.D. at https://www.hard-wears.com/contact.