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Two Tampa Bay ski clubs have set their trips for the 2009-10 ski season.

The first trip of the season for the Tampa Bay Snow Skiers and Boarders is Breckenridge, Colo., Dec. 9-16. The ski club will also be going to Steamboat, Colo.; Jackson Hole, Wyo.; Park City, Utah; Taos, N.M., and Lake Tahoe, Calif., among other places.

If you want a taste of Olympic skiing, the club is going to Whistler, British Columbia, at the end of January, just 10 days before the February Winter Olympics. In March, the group heads to the French Alps to ski Les Trois Vallées.

Trips range from $999 to about $2,200. For more information, call toll-free 1-888-768-7774 or go to

The Clearwater/St. Petersburg Ski & Sports Club is hosting 2010 trips to Colorado ski resorts in Beaver Creek, Telluride and Vail, plus Taos, Jackson Hole and Les Trois Vallées. Prices range from $975 to $2,498.

For more information, go to

Cooking class in Mexico

There are so many opportunities to learn to cook authentic Mexican cuisine, from small restaurants with informal classes to large resort kitchens and culinary schools.

If you're open to anyplace in the country, Oaxaca is an excellent location. Seasons of My Heart culinary school (seasonsofmy, a 45-minute drive from Oaxaca, is run by Susana Trilling, a chef and writer who hosted the PBS series Seasons of My Heart: A Culinary Journey Through Oaxaca, Mexico.

In the foodie Mexican city of Puebla, home to dishes like molé poblano, there are classes at the Méson Sacristía de Capuchinas ( The boutique hotel offers a six-night package that includes lodging, meals and 15 hours of a basic Mexican cooking course in English, but a one- to three-day course, even without accommodation, can be arranged.

Denver-based Epitourean ( coordinates trips to Isla Mujeres, near Cancun, and schools in Tecate and Tlaxcala.

Always getting lost? Try these tips

Linda Grekin, a school librarian from Michigan, is "directionally challenged," as she puts it. Her lifelong struggle to get where she wants to go has prompted her to write Never Get Lost Again: The Complete Guide to Improving Your Sense of Direction (RDR Books, $14.95).

Grekin offers ideas for fellow wanderers.

• Plot your trip, even down to drawing a map or making notecards listing landmarks.

• Get an early start so you're not rushed.

• Learn to read a map.

• Ask directions. If you get lost, ask again.

• Carry a GPS and a cell phone.

• When traveling, study maps and memorize street names. Write down names of landmarks and streets; they will help you find your way back to your starting point.

Mark your calendars

The annual freezing-cold extravaganza called ICE! opens at Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee on Nov. 14 and continues through Jan. 3. The convention hall at the sprawling resort is transformed into a winter wonderland complete with ice sculptures that you can slide on and walk through. Don't worry about your wardrobe; a warm coat is provided.

Tickets are $9.99 to $23.99 with overnight packages available. Call (407) 586-2000 or go to

Compiled from Times staff and wire reports

Side TripFLORIDA SKIERS HEAD TO THE LIFTS WITH BAY AREA CLUBS 10/31/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 31, 2009 4:30am]
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