Where Next?

So many places to go, so little time. But that’s the beauty of a new year – it’s a fresh calendar, and the months stretch out ahead with possibilities. There are family vacations to plan, upcoming milestones to celebrate, and new destinations to check off you must-visit list.

That list will get a little longer with this issue of Virtuoso Life. Maybe you’ll want to spend a week in London before – or during – the Olympics (page 96). Or set sail with your extended family on a Baltic cruise (page 104). Perhaps you’ll head outdoors for an adventure in Alaska (page 114), skiing in Whistler (page 124), or biking through France (page 130).

The world awaits, so we asked Virtuoso’s top travel advisors to tell us what’s hot for 2012 – the destination and trips they’re recommending clients book now, and why. (Find out on page 84).

And though we asked advisors for their opinions, we also want yours: Where do you want to go next? Tell us by taking our Travel Dreams Survey. It’s fast, fun, and will surely inspire you with a world of destination and experiences, from island escapes and romantic getaways to outdoor adventures and trips of a lifetime.

In fact, the grand prize is a trip of a lifetime itself; a 12-day, all-inclusive Mediterranean cruise for two on Crystal Cruises’ Serenity from Venice to Athens, in a penthouse suite (but of course). The grand prize also includes the perks of Voyager Club, an exclusive program available only through Virtuoso. Five other lucky entrants will each win $1,000 cash. The survey begins January 5 and ends March 31, so please go to www.virtuoso.com and take our survey for a chance to win*.

Whatever’s on the horizon for your year ahead, may it include more than a few new passport stamps. Happy Travels – and good luck with the survey.

* If outside of the U.S., sweepstakes does not apply. Non-U.S. residents are invited to take the survey at www.virtuoso.com/traveldreams.

Getting Ready For The 2010 Winter Olympics

Vancouver 2010 LogoI spent last weekend with my family at Whistler Blackcomb – our first foray onto the slopes in this ski season. This is an exciting season in Whistler and Vancouver, with the 2010 Winter Olympics just around the corner. Here’s a quick preview into how things are shaping up for a great Winter Olympics.

Vancouver To Whistler Transportation Improvements
The sea-to-sky highway improvements are largely completed and are just fantastic. There’s now a two-lane highway almost all the way from Vancouver to Squamish. Between Squamish and Whistler there are passing lanes at regular intervals. Drive times to the resort from Vancouver and Vancouver Airport are significantly reduced.

The Snow Conditions At Whistler
January can be a hit or miss month in terms of fresh snow on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. (You can check historical statistics here). You can take it from me: the current snow conditions at Whistler Blackcomb are really great. There’s plenty of fresh powder all over the mountains.

Preparations For Olympic Events At Whistler
The Downhill and Super-G events will be raced on the Dave Murray Downhill and Franz’s runs (men’s and women’s respectively) on Whistler Mountain. These runs are in great shape with lots of snow cover all the way to Creekside. You do have to take a slight detour between upper and lower DM Downhill because of construction for what looked like a viewing stand. The helicopters flying overhead carrying loads of lumber were a new sight on the mountain.

Olympic Shopping Opportunities
There’s Olympic logo gear, toys and totchkes in most shops in the village especially those run by the resort. My boys just loved the soft toy versions of the Vancouver 2010 mascots, Miga, Quatchi and Sumi.