Archives du mot-clé snow

Snowstorm in NYC

Growing up in Paris does not necessarilly prepare you for a blizzard. For those of you back at home, a blizzard is when there is so much snow, there is no visibility. Life as an expatriate in NY is hard enough, going through a blizzard doesn’t make it any easier.

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I unfortunately discovered this very rapidly during my first winter in NY. From my experience, the only positive I can offer is that you get a day off from work or school because basically the entire city shut down. 

As I am typing this, there is another snow storm going on right outside my window. The wind is blowing so hard, that my dog is hiding under the cover and I can’t see the bridge from my terrace that is a half mile from my house. I remember my first storm as an expatriate in NYC very well, I thought it would be fun to go out and experience it first end, that was a bad idea. I got so wet that the next day I came down with a terrible cold. Snowstorm here can sometimes last a day or even more. They can be intense and the city usually takes a few days to get back on its feet.

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Over time, you will begin to figure out that besides the news announcing a storm, you should really take it seriously when the schools announce they will not be opening because of the weather. I personally would recommend watching the weather channel during this time of year, it has the most timely information and will keep you uptaded and prepared. Preparation is important especially when it comes to food. If the storm is bad enough, you probably won’t be leaving the house for a day or two, and should prepare for this eventuality. Between the wind, snow and poor visibility it is hard to go anywhere. Plus, the streets can become quite treacherous. If you don’t have the right gear, just being outside can be very scary.

The worst part for me, isn’t really the storm itself. In fact, it can be sort of fun to be stuck at home with nowhere to go. You can cook a nice meal, watch a movie or take a nap. The part that I don’t like is after it’s all done and the clean up begins. The streets are so full of snow and ice, you literally sometime have to walk like a penguin. Otherwise you are taking a risk of falling on your face and breaking your neck. Just the way they clean the street can be a nightmare. People shovel small path for everybody to walk through, yet you can barely put one foot in front of the other… In a city like NY, I guess I expected a little bit better.

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To avoid the similar struggle like me, I would recommend a few things if you are moving to the city or just traveling here during this time of the year. First and most importantly invest in the proper winter gear. This is no joke, you are going to need it. You need to dress in layers. Besides a warm coat, gloves, hat, a scarf and even a light puffer jacket, that you can wear under your coat. I would also recommend to buy  a few nice warm shirts and underwear. A nice warm pair of boots with a rubber sole and some nice warm socks will help too. These tips are the difference between being miserable and being comfortable and safe.

If you traveling here from another country and that you are not used to rough winters, you really need to be prepared.

I know that most of the time it can seem that the weather channel or the news is exaggerating, in fact my mother in law believes it is a conspiracy between the media and supermarkets.

However, it is important to be safe and prepared. Freezing, falling or getting sick will not contribute to making your experience during a winter storm any better. Other than that enjoy your snow day, cook a big pot of soup, binge out on your favorite shows, take care of some choirs…

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3 days in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming. This was my first trip visiting a ski resort in the United Sates, and I have to say it was incredible. Jackson Hole itself is a sleepy little mountain town, far removed from the craziness of NYC, to give you an idea the population of the entire town of Jackson Hole is 9577, which is probably the population of the apartment building I’m living in. We stayed at the spectacular Four seasons Hotel and Residences in the lovely Grand Tetons village. Their residences are incredibly spacious and well maintained. Conveniently located right at the bottom of the slopes.

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The Four seasons resort maintains a partnership with Mercedes Benz, which gave us the opportunity to rent a car for the day for free (so technically, we just borrowed it). We took advantaged of this golden opportunity and decided to go check out the National Elk Refuge. The refuge is about a half hour drive from the hotel but the landscape that the Grand Tetons provided during the drive is just breathtaking. We took a bus from the visitor center to the refuge, approximately another  5 minutes ride. Then, we hopped into a wagon that was being pulled by two magnificent horses. Our journey lasted about 45min, it was incredible to be able to see wild elk that close. For me personally, it was a big first that I will always remember. The surrounding vistas and the solitude were just beautiful, peaceful and inspiring all at the same time. The elks migrate down to the valley and the refuge during the winter. Unfortunately you won’t be able to see them during the summer. We were able to see hundreds of them from babies to adults. We even got to see males fighting, which was very impressive. They are such amazing creatures. We were able to stop and take a lots of pictures. Our guide was very friendly and patient and answered all of our questions, some of them quite silly. I would highly recommend this attraction for families with older kids. It doesn’t necessary move very fast and you might find that little kids can get bored pretty quickly. After our little adventure, we decided to head back to Jackson for lunch. We stopped at the Pizzeria Caldera, which was actually pretty good even for this transplanted New Yorker. The restaurant was not very busy, the service was quick, our food came in within minutes and the staff was very welcoming. After lunch, we took a walk around town for a little while. Some of businesses were close while we were there but it is still a cute little town with a lot to see.

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Ever since I was young I always wanted to learn how to snowboard. I have been skiing for for most of my life (my dad was a ski instructor when he was young) but I always been fascinated by snowboarding. I was determine to try it one day. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity until now. Due to some more good fortune, I was offered a snowboarding private lesson. It was 3 hours with a teacher and was just what I needed to start me on my new obsession, I have to say I just loved it. It is fairly easy to book lessons from all level of experience, from beginner to expert. You have the option to book 24h before and they will be happy to find you somebody. I was a little concerned that 3 hours would be too much for me,  that I might nit be in shape or fall to much. Fortunately enough, none of that happened. I actually felt quite natural on my snowboard.  I had a great teacher that made me comfortable and I was able to make lots of progress really quickly. I did so well in fact, my teacher made me ride by myself after a half hour. His advice were very helpful, and I believe it made all the difference in helping me get off to a good start. I truly believe that if you want to start a sport like this, private lessons are the way to go, the cost is worth it. In just 3 hours, the lesson allowed me to go from the beginner slope to the green slope, and from rope tow to the chair lift to the tramway. It was intense and a little overwhelming but I really really loved it. I am now completely obsess with snowboarding, so much so that I am simultaneously shopping for new gear and affordable vacation packages while I’m writing this.

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Another one of our adventures was a trip to the wildlife safari. The safari itself lasted a total of 4 hours winding its way thru Grand Tetons National Park. We were fortunate enough to see elks, moose, the great American symbol: bald eagle, coyotes and wild sheep. The park is breathtaking and being able to see the wildlife in their natural habitat was for me a life changing experience. Experience like that better helps you understand your place in the world and nature itself. We loved every minutes of this, and plan to do it again on our next visit, hopefully during the summer time.

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No visit to Jackson Hole is complete without visiting Grand Teton village and no visit to Grand Tetons village is complete without visiting the legendary Mangy Moose bar and saloon. This is as close to a landmark in Jackson Hole as you would find, because of that it can get very crowded especially in the afternoon or aprés ski. They have a great ambiance and live music, cold beers and great food.

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I would also like to recommend the Handle Bar, this is where we had almost all of our lunches. I can say the food is outstanding and affordable. Some of my recommendations are their nachos, home smoked trout, their homemade pretzel bread and their Grand Teton grilled cheese sandwich. I don’t know if it was the altitude or the mountain air but the food was amazing wherever we went, which is important because my appetite doesn’t stop.

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To wrap it all up, I have to say like most vacations, this one was too short but full of fun and new experiences. I would definitely highly recommend a visit to Jackson Hole and Grand Tetons National Park. It is a small town but there is lots of things to do for children and adults. The slopes are well groomed and challenging, whether it’s skiing, snowboarding, exploring nature, whatever is your interest, you can’t go wrong in Jackson Hole. I hope to be back very soon.

Have you ever been to Jackson Hole before? If yes, share with us any of your recommendation.