Dear Festive Fellow Traveler: This month we feature the best towns to visit for the holidays, fun facts, a thrilling snowmobiling expedition and the magical town of Whistler, B.C.

With two breathtaking mountains - Whistler and Blackcomb - and one of the longest ski seasons in North America, Whistler is in a class of its own and is justifiably considered one of the hottest ski destinations in the world. The Whistler ski resort is massive and it offers amazing terrain diversity for those of all levels. However Whistler is so much more than just the skiing and snowboarding, and any Whistler group ski trip should also include an abundance of off-slope activities. The pedestrian-only spectacular Whistler Village features a wealth of more than 200 shops, 90 restaurants and bars, an array of accommodations, spas, hiking trails, and what experts consider the best mountain-bike park in the world. Being the largest ski resort in North America and the biggest ski area in the world outside of Europe - as well as hosting part of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics - Whistler, British Columbia truly is a spectacular winter wonderland which provides great options for every group!


There are plenty of Whistler accommodations to suit all budgets and requirements. There's a diverse selection of Whistler hotels ranging from standard to 5-star, as well as lodges, townhomes, condos, and even a few hostels. Only a small amount of Whistler lodging is ski-in ski-out but there are lots of accommodations that are only a short walk to the lifts.

When choosing Whistler accommodation the first decision is regarding which village to stay in. Whistler Village is the main heartbeat of Whistler with prolific restaurants, bars and shops. The adjacent North Village has plenty of action, but it requires a longer walk to get to the lifts or use of a shuttle bus. Upper Village at the base of Blackcomb Mountain offers some slope-side accommodation, whilst the Creekside base is popular with families.

Of course, it is difficult to think about Whistler accommodations without mentioning the legendary Fairmont Chateau Whistler, which defines mountain luxury. With its natural beauty, this award-winning hotel showcases exceptional dining, full resort amenities, unsurpassed guest service, delivers an ideal setting for a group of any size.



Fresh food, amazing views, mountaintop venues - experience gourmet cuisine in a fine dining atmosphere; have a casual fireside meal with friends; or grab a quick bite on the go. Whistler's extensive selection of award-winning restaurants and chefs offer appetizing fare from different ethnicities and regions, with many of them featuring organic and locally sourced ingredients.

When Vancouver's celebrity chefs decided to spread their wings and fly out of town, Whistler provided the logical destination. Today, some of the top ski-resort restaurants in the world take advantage of the growing locavore or "slow food" movement - as showcased during four months of Sunday farmers' markets and organic bounty - to provide diners with a surprising array of Northwest cuisine. Foodies will especially enjoy Whistler's Cornucopia Festival, which showcases culinary talents and B.C. wineries every November.

While no one would ever mistake Whistler for a thrifty resort, there are plenty of sandwich and coffee shops scattered around the village. There is also a full-scale grocery store should you land a room with a kitchen.


There's always something going on in Whistler, no matter what time of year you visit. Besides skiing and snowboarding at Whistler Resort, there is an abundance of things to do. Whether you're looking for something extreme or serene, there are loads of Whistler activities during winter! From heli skiing to spectacular spas there really is something for everyone. A sample of other Whistler winter activities includes snowmobiling, zip-lining, dog sledding, mountain biking, golfing, tubing, ice-skating, and day spas, and of course there's the famous Whistler shopping.

Whistler also has a legendary après scene, and on any given weekend, there may be more nonskiers than skiers filling the patios, clubs, and saloons. In the evening the pedestrian-only village is full of energy and atmosphere with people enjoying themselves.

No trip to Whistler would be complete without a ride on the famous PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, which is a wonderful journey between the two mountains, and provides a 360-degree window into Whistler Blackcomb's spectacular alpine environment, Whistler Village, the ski fields, and the surrounding soaring mountains.

Are you ready for a trip to Whistler?
Contact us today at 877-288-6719 or jeffholland@monalto.com for a quote or more information

Snowmobiling Across The Continental Divide

Monalto was given the task of putting together a special client incentive program that involved a unique group activity. Even though the beach resort concept was hugely popular, our client wanted something a little different. Due to the time of year we proposed a spectaular ski location, involving a winter activity with an almost unrivalled group bonding experience.

The first class ski village of Jackson Hole was the starting point, but it was the three days snowmobiling that followed that really impressed the group. Surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, and accompanied by professional guides, they set off on a once in a lifetime adventure.

With awesome accommodations at a luxurious Jackson Hole hotel and two different authentic ranches, and an unbelievable snowmobiling excursion through Wyoming and across The Continental Divide, the group were able to build a special bond and immeasurably strengthen relationships, while enjoying an activity that they will strive to earn year after year.

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Monalto Holiday Traditions

In the spirit of the season, here are some of our staff traditions:

Delivering meals on wheels on Christmas morning has become a great new tradition for my family. Potato Latkes are also a favorite!

Champagne while opening presents on Christmas morning really helps me get into the spirit of things!

In honor of our Sicilian heritage, my family enjoys an Italian dinner at Christmas. Baked ziti, homemade sauce & garlic bread. Delizioso!

Watching a home video with my family after enjoying Mom's special Christmas breakfast - cinnamon raisin french toast. Yummy!

My family and I always enjoy a traditional Irish Plum Pudding before going to midnight mass.

Christmas is not the same without traditional English Christmas crackers right before tucking into our turkey with all the trimmings.

Did You Know?

1. Food tastes different on a plane due to the dry air and change in air pressure, which numbs about a third of taste buds. That's why so many people order Bloody Mary's, as the tomato juice is less acidic.

2. Don't drink Champagne quickly or the bubbles will cause the alcohol to enter your bloodstream too fast often causing a headache. Savor your Champagne in small sips to taste the wine but also dissipate the bubbles before swallowing.

3. 20 billion! Yes, that's 20 BILLION pieces of mail that the U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. The busiest mailing day is set for December 16.

4. The white trails planes leave behind are made of water vapor and can be used to predict the weather. A thin, shorter-lasting tail indicates low-humidity air and fair weather. A thick, longer-lasting tail can signify the early indicators of a storm.

5. Think your holidays are expensive? One man, Yves Piaget, spent a whopping $17 million on decorating his Christmas tree. The tree was lavishly decorated with 83 pieces of jewellery in Tokyo.



Top Towns for the Holidays

10 Must See Destinations
Oh, so your town has a Christmas tree? That's cute, but it doesn't compare to the 600-ton one made of sand in Florida. This season, make a plan to visit these 10 U.S. cities that commemorate Christmas with something more creative than your standard evergreen.

A 600-Ton Sand Tree
West Palm Beach, Florida. Yup. In West Palm Beach, Florida, sculptors managed to build a massive Christmas tree out of sand - and host a lighting ceremony - in less than a week. Their "tropical winter wonderland" includes four other 25-ton sand sculptures… no big deal.

A Fruitcake Toss
Garrison, North Dakota. What a brilliant way to get rid of everyone's (least) favorite dessert. At the Dickens Village Festival, revelers perform something similar to a water balloon toss, but with the loathed baked goods. Age brackets from six-and-under to adult men chuck cakes for hundreds of dollars in prize money.

A One-Man Rendition of "A Christmas Carol"
Skaneateles, New York. For two and a half hilarious hours at the Dickens Christmas festival in Skaneateles, New York, resident Kim Tenreiro stars in "A Christmas Carol" …all by himself. Dickens characters roam the Finger Lakes town by day, and you can share dinner with them at a local inn.

A Santa Claus Postmark
Santa Claus, Indiana. More than 400,000 letters to Santa will wind up at the post office in Santa Claus, Indiana this season. Many of them will receive a special Santa Claus postmark, designed each year by a local high school student. People from far and wide mail bulks of Christmas cards and personally drive their Santa lists to the post office, just to ink that special cancellation mark on their letter.

A Yule Log on a Sled
McAdenville, North Carolina. In the small town of McAdenville, there is one twinkling, lit-up Christmas tree per every two residents. The town goes all out for Christmas - last year there were more than 375 trees placed all around the town of 654 people, and houses got drenched in festive wreaths. In McAdenville's Yule Log Parade, dozens of kids drag a piece of wood around on a sled before igniting it in the big town fireplace to the sound of carols.

A Hotel Cookie Tour
White Mountains, New Hampshire and Maine. On the Annual Inn to Inn Holiday Cookie and Candy Tour, sweet-toothed treasure hunters drive from one quaint mountainside property to the next, collecting fresh-baked cookies as they go. Visit all 13 inns on the tour, and you'll score a shiny new ornament.

A 100-Foot Megatree
Los Angeles, California. Only L.A. could do it this big. At over 100 feet, the tree in The Grove outdoor shopping mall is routinely one of the country's tallest, topping even the one in Rockefeller Center. This year, Mary J. Blige, CeeLo Green and Gavin DeGraw sang till it was all lit up.

A Ride on the Polar Express
Lincoln and North Conway, New Hampshire. The magical children's book comes to life at two New Hampshire train stations, where kids and parents (and anyone yearning for Christmas magic, really) hop aboard real trains for a real, two-hour ride to a land of Christmas enchantment. Santa greets them at the end with a reading of "The Polar Express."

A Christmas Museum
Paradise, Pennsylvania. At Dutch Country's National Christmas Center, window-shop for vintage toys on the "Street of Memories" before visiting exhibits that include an animal storybook village and "1950s Christmas Morning," a re-creation of a typical holiday living room from the decades of yore.

A Visit from Charles Dickens's Kin
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The Inn at Christmas Place is already pretty festive-- it's decked in evergreens and twinkly lights 365 days a year. The holiday spirit goes into overdrive each November when Gerald Dickens, great-great-grandson of "A Christmas Carol" author Charles Dickens, visits to recite the play aloud.

Source: The Huffington Post

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