Fresh from its successful “Chefs on Bikes” tours with James Beard Award-winning chefs Susan Regis and Jody Adams, Italiaoutdoors introduces equally engaging and intimate custom ski and snowboard tours for the winter sport enthusiast. Like all Italiaoutdoors experiences, the small group tours are led solely by partners Vernon McClure, a one-time Airborne Ranger turned Defense Department mountaineering instructor, and Kathy Bechtel, a certified ski instructor and chef. Together, they customize unique tours that reveal their deep-rooted passion for the Trentino Alto-Adige region of Northeastern Italy. Programs can be designed for every budget, with each custom tour including daily wine tastings and activities tailored to all ski levels, from shorter trails and groomed terrain for relaxed athletes to classic climbs of the majestic Dolomite Mountains for the advanced skier. Dates are available beginning December 2011. Trips are all-inclusive, with the exception of air, and can be arranged from a mini-holiday of five days to a more comprehensive tour of two weeks. As an example, a week-long adventure starts as low as $2800 per person and can be customized to include all level of accommodations.
Designed for small groups of friends and family, or ski clubs, Italiaoutdoors works with each group to craft a custom itinerary that provides a perfect balance of activity, rest and relaxation. The small group size (12 travelers maximum) allows for daily itinerary customization and refinement, based on participants’ interests, pacing, and real-time “finds.” Exploring the region’s well-known and undiscovered wines in and around the cities of Bolzano, Trento, Merano and Bressanone, and pairing them to the area’s fine cuisine, are itinerary staples.
An avid researcher of and writer about the region’s wines, Bechtel carefully curates each day’s wine tasting selection, choosing wines from the world-renowned wine regions of Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli Venezia-Giulia, as well as some wines only familiar to frequent travelers within Italy, including Amarone, Valpolicella, Lagrein, Schioppettino and Vino Santo. In the evenings, the culture and rich Austrian-Hungarian history of the region come to life, as guests enjoy local cuisine in charming osterias and elegant dinners in more refined ristorantes. This small region boasts more Michelin star restaurants than any other region in Italy.
By day, guests ski and explore the Trentino Alto-Adige region of Northeastern Italy, home to the majestic Dolomite Mountains and numerous winter resorts, where guests can enjoy some of the most stunning panoramic vistas in the world while skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing. Italiaoutdoors partners Bechtel and McClure personally design and lead each tour. McClure, a trained ski and snowboard instructor and mountain guide, has more than 15 years experience designing, leading and teaching ski adventures in Italy and Europe. Bechtel is a trained ski instructor currently on staff at Sugarloaf, Maine. She is also a chef with formal wine training and hosts a TV food and wine show at Sugarloaf where she shares recipes and tips inspired by her travels to these regions. Commented James Beard Award winner (and “Chefs on Bikes” special guest) Chef Susan Regis about her experience, “Italiaoutdoors supplies the framework for the trip of a lifetime leaving just the right amount of time and space to discover the unexpected and the authentic Italy. To feel as though you are part of the Italian culture is a testament to the insightful precision of a thoughtful journey, because in the end, it is all about the roads taken. I loved my journey!“
For more information on custom ski or bike tours or to receive Italiaoutdoors’ newsletter with recipes and wine information, visit http://www.italiaoutdoorsfoodandwine.com or Chef Kathy Bechtel’s blog at www.chefbikeski.com. For ski clubs and other groups, discounts are available for trip organizers, with a free trip earned for as few as eight guests.