Work Out, Chill Out

Fitness
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Work Out, Chill Out

Are people who hit the gym during their ski vacations a mystery to you? Find out why you might want to join them-and where to go when you do.

At the mention of fitness centers in ski country, one thought comes to mind:

Why?

>Why, after a hard day on the slopes, would you drag yourself to the gym for a high-intensity spinning class or to lift weights? The answer: You probably wouldn't, even though low-resistance spinning is a great way to get rid of the dull ache you feel in your thighs on Day 3 of your ski vacation. But there are plenty of other reasons to seek out a good fitness center on your next trip to the mountains.

First, they're not just good places to sweat, but also to relax. You can unwind in a whirlpool or sauna, spring for a massage or take a stretching class to loosen up your muscles-which ultimately will help you ski better.

Also, a good fitness center will keep the whole family happy. Most have daycare services or kids clubs to entertain the youngest members while the older ones shoot hoops, play tennis or squash, try a yoga class, take a crack at the climbing wall or splash around in the pool (if there are water slides, you'll be a hero). If sports aren't their style, look for a gym that offers low-key activities such as air hockey or ping-pong.

Fitness centers are especially good for longer vacations, when you might not ski all day, every day. Most offer multiple-visit discount cards, so you can drop in for some jacuzzi time on days you go hard on the hill and get in a workout on days you don't. Many also provide personal-training and physical-therapy services so you can maintain your at-home fitness routine.

Not sure where to go? Here's a sampling-ranging from municipal rec centers to upscale, privately owned clubs-of some of the top fitness centers in ski country.

EAST
Bretton Woods Sports Club
Twin Mountain, N.H.
603-278-2582
With a big-screen TV and VCR, free movie rental, a video arcade, and ping-pong and pool tables, it's a wonder guests ever actually work out here. Those who do make it past the diversions head for the four-lane lap pool, racquetball/squash courts, cardio room or weight room. Be prepared to sweat on your own, though: No exercise classes are offered.
Location 1/2 mile from Bretton Woods base lodge.
Daily Adult Rate $11
Don't Miss A rousing game of walleyball in one of the club's two racquetball courts.
Also Check Out Ascutney Sports & Fitness Center (802-484-3511) in Ascutney, Vt. The center's location at the base of the mountain makes it perfect for a pre-ski stretching session or an après-ski sauna.

Lake Placid Health & Fitness
Lake Placid, N.Y.
518-523-4127, www.placidhealth.com
Boasting 1,000 members in a town of 5,000 year-round residents, this 14,000-square-foot club is a prime place to check out the local scene. Opened in September 2000, it's the largest fitness center in a 40-mile radius. It houses a 25-yard, three-lane lap pool, a cardio and weight room, two aerobics studios and a day spa, all in an Adirondack-style setting.
Location 12 miles west of Whiteface Mountain.
Daily Adult Rate $15
Don't Miss Getting into the groove with a disco spin class. With its Seventies' hits, mirrored balls and flashing lights, it's all the nightlife you'll need.

Stoweflake Spa & Sports Club
Stowe, Vt.
800-253-2232, www.stoweflake.com
Stoweflake dresses up the guest's workout experience with classy touches, such as poolside room-service at its 40-by-20-foot indoor rec pool and windows in the spinning room that frame Mt. Mansfield. It also has the corner on the squash market with the only court in town, so book your squash time well in advance. Or leave your racket behind and indulge in one of the day spa's 35 treatments.
Location Five miles south of Stowe Mountain Resort.
Daily Adult Rate $20; ee for guests at Stoweflake Mountain Resort.
Don't Miss The Tubbs Winter Fit class ($15), essentially an obstacle course completed on snowshoes. You'll have so much fun you won't realize you're getting fit.
Also Check Out Topnotch Resort & Spa (800-451-8686) in Stowe. Sure, you can work out here. Or you can head right to the whirlpool with its hydromassage waterfall. One of New England's premier spas, Topnotch lives up to its name for relaxation.

ROCKIES
Aspen Club & Spa
Aspen, Colo.
970-925-8900, www.aspenclub.com
The Aspen Club's biggest draw is its luxurious spa, but everything else is state-of-the-art as well, from the plush locker rooms to the spacious weight and cardio area. Skylights and expansive windows let the outside in, while two mind/body studios offer classes (from The Five Tibetans to Tai Chi) aimed at letting the inside out.
Location One mile east of downtown Aspen.
Daily Adult Rate To get in the door, you must purchase a spa service or tennis lesson. After that, you have free rein.
Don't Miss Picking up a chicken pesto wrap from the club's café after your workout.
Also Check Out Golden Door Spa at The Peaks (970-728-2590) in Telluride, Colo. Consistently rated one of the top spas in the U.S., the Golden Door offers weight and cardio equipment, a lap pool, a climbing wall and exercise studios-all in an upscale setting.


Silver Mountain Sports Club & Spa
Park City, Utah
435-649-6670, www.silvermountainspa.com
Formerly called Prospector Athletic Club, Silver Mountain has new owners who are putting the finishing touches on a massive club makeover. Their goal? To give the 23-year-old facility a country-club feel, says General Manager Michael Smith. Amenities include a 9,000-square-foot weight and cardio room (each cardio machine has its own 7-inch TV) and a 1,600-square-foot aerobics studio. Guests can also enjoy a gymnasium, two racquetball courts, a café, two outdoor pools, childcare and a day spa.
Location Prospector Square, downtown.
Daily Adult Rate$18; discounts offered to guests of many local hotels.
Don't Miss The 60-foot Lazy River bubbling through the outdoor recreational pool, which is heated to allow guests to swim year-round.
Also Check Out Park City Racquet Club (435-615-5401), one of the U.S. Ski Team's official training centers. An inexpensive place to play ($6.25 per day), it offers indoor tennis, spinning, a gymnasium, hot tub, and ample cardio and weight equipment.

Silverthorne Recreation Center
Silverthorne, Colo.
970-262-7370, www.toski.com/silrec
The crown jewel of this 6-year-old municipal center is its 15,100-square-foot aquatics center, complete with lap pool, diving pool, play pool, 140-foot twist slide and hot tub. With high ceilings and large windows, the area has a bright, airy feel. That atmosphere carries over to the second-floor workout area, which also is bathed in natural light. Exercisers-who can choose from an indoor track, free weights, cardio equipment and weight machines-can either look down onto the 8,100-square-foot gymnasium or out onto the panorama of rugged mountain peaks just west of the facility.
Location Just off I-70 in Silverthorne, near Keystone, Copper Mountain and Breckenridge.
Daily Adult Rate $8
Don't Miss Catching a glimpse of U.S. and European World Cup racers who work out here in November.
Also Check Out Avon Recreation Center (970-748-4060) near Beaver Creek and Breckenridge Recreation Center (970-453-1734). Both have spacious workout areas, beautiful views, numerous classes and pools with water slides. Breck also has two large climbing walls and a gymnasium.

Vail Cascade Spa & Club
Vail, Colo.
888-824-5772, www.vailcascade.com
The Cascade Club offers high-end amenities in a down-to-earth atmosphere. And with a $3.4 million renovation in the works (most of which will go toward the spa facility), the environment will only get better. Features include an abundance of new cardio and weight equipment and basketball, racquetball, and indoor and outdoor tennis courts. Guests can also run on an indoor track or soak year-round in a steamy outdoor pool.
Location Base of Vail Mountain, west end of Vail in Cascade Village.
Daily Adult Rate $20; free to guests of Vail Cascade Resort.
Don't Miss Tuesday Pilates classes, which are included in the club fee.
Also Check Out Vail Mountain Lodge & Spa (formerly Vail Athletic Club) in Vail Village. Although it's fairly small, this classy club has all the workout basics, plus a climbing wall and several world-class athletes as instructors. Try its Stretch & Breakfast program: For $14, you'll receive shuttle service from your condo, a full breakfast buffet, a stretching session with a trainer and shuttle service to the slopes.

PACIFIC
Incline Village
Recreation Center
Incline Village, Nev.
775-832-1300, www.ivgid.org
This 8-year-old rec center is popular with the area's over-50 crowd, says operations supervisor Julie Thew, but all ages enjoy its Olympic-size pool, 7,800-square-foot gymnasium and well-equipped fitness room. Aerobics classes are included in the entrance fee; yoga and cardio-kickboxing are extra. If the weather cooperates, guests can recuperate from their workouts on the creekside sundeck while sipping a smoothie from the center's snack bar.
Location Three miles south of Diamond Peak Ski Resort.
Daily Adult Rate $11
Don't Miss The center's temporary membership. It's good for seven days but pays for itself in three.
Also Check Out Kahle Community Center (775-588-0271) in Stateline, Nev. This new facility is a bargain, offering a gym, indoor track, fitness equipment, indoor playground and more for $5 a visit.Meadow Park Sports Centre

Whistler, B.C.
604-938-3133
Meadow Park offers the best fitness-center value in ski country: $4 grants access to the aquatics center (two pools and a hot tub), weight, cardio and boxing studios, and the NHL-size ice skating rink. For $4 more, you can do your best Gretzky impression at a drop-in hockey session (several are coached and geared toward novices). After all, when in Canada...
Location Four miles north of Whistler Village.
Daily Adult Rate $4 (U.S.)
Don't Miss Getting your summer fix with a leap into the pool from the overhead rope swing.
Also Check Out Sun Peaks Sports Centre (250-578-5533) in Sun Peaks, B.C. Also a great deal, at $4 for two ice rinks, a year-round outdoor pool, a hot tub and a gym.

Snow Creek Athletic Club
Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
760-934-8511, www.snowcreek.com
Built in 1981 and appointed inside and out with wood paneling, Snow Creek may look a bit dated, but its equipment and programs are worthy of the new millennium. It boasts more than 40 cardio machines, three weight rooms and classes ranging from yoga to The Express Workout. Guests can also work out in the gymnasium, racquetball courts or lap pool-or relax in one of three hot tubs.
Location Five miles east of Mammoth Mountain.
Daily Adult Rate $15
Don't Miss Catching a free shuttle to the club from almost anywhere in the area.
. And with a $3.4 million renovation in the works (most of which will go toward the spa facility), the environment will only get better. Features include an abundance of new cardio and weight equipment and basketball, racquetball, and indoor and outdoor tennis courts. Guests can also run on an indoor track or soak year-round in a steamy outdoor pool.
Location Base of Vail Mountain, west end of Vail in Cascade Village.
Daily Adult Rate $20; free to guests of Vail Cascade Resort.
Don't Miss Tuesday Pilates classes, which are included in the club fee.
Also Check Out Vail Mountain Lodge & Spa (formerly Vail Athletic Club) in Vail Village. Although it's fairly small, this classy club has all the workout basics, plus a climbing wall and several world-class athletes as instructors. Try its Stretch & Breakfast program: For $14, you'll receive shuttle service from your condo, a full breakfast buffet, a stretching session with a trainer and shuttle service to the slopes.

PACIFIC
Incline Village
Recreation Center
Incline Village, Nev.
775-832-1300, www.ivgid.org
This 8-year-old rec center is popular with the area's over-50 crowd, says operations supervisor Julie Thew, but all ages enjoy its Olympic-size pool, 7,800-square-foot gymnasium and well-equipped fitness room. Aerobics classes are included in the entrance fee; yoga and cardio-kickboxing are extra. If the weather cooperates, guests can recuperate from their workouts on the creekside sundeck while sipping a smoothie from the center's snack bar.
Location Three miles south of Diamond Peak Ski Resort.
Daily Adult Rate $11
Don't Miss The center's temporary membership. It's good for seven days but pays for itself in three.
Also Check Out Kahle Community Center (775-588-0271) in Stateline, Nev. This new facility is a bargain, offering a gym, indoor track, fitness equipment, indoor playground and more for $5 a visit.Meadow Park Sports Centre

Whistler, B.C.
604-938-3133
Meadow Park offers the best fitness-center value in ski country: $4 grants access to the aquatics center (two pools and a hot tub), weight, cardio and boxing studios, and the NHL-size ice skating rink. For $4 more, you can do your best Gretzky impression at a drop-in hockey session (several are coached and geared toward novices). After all, when in Canada...
Location Four miles north of Whistler Village.
Daily Adult Rate $4 (U.S.)
Don't Miss Getting your summer fix with a leap into the pool from the overhead rope swing.
Also Check Out Sun Peaks Sports Centre (250-578-5533) in Sun Peaks, B.C. Also a great deal, at $4 for two ice rinks, a year-round outdoor pool, a hot tub and a gym.

Snow Creek Athletic Club
Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
760-934-8511, www.snowcreek.com
Built in 1981 and appointed inside and out with wood paneling, Snow Creek may look a bit dated, but its equipment and programs are worthy of the new millennium. It boasts more than 40 cardio machines, three weight rooms and classes ranging from yoga to The Express Workout. Guests can also work out in the gymnasium, racquetball courts or lap pool-or relax in one of three hot tubs.
Location Five miles east of Mammoth Mountain.
Daily Adult Rate $15
Don't Miss Catching a free shuttle to the club from almost anywhere in the area.

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