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USA Today: 10 Great Places to Feel Like an Olympic Champion

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There's nothing like witnessing Shaun White stomp a double cork 1080 in the 22-foot halfpipe, or seeing Rachael Flatt effortlessly nail a triple Salchow. However, if you can't join the sports-loving masses in Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics (today through Feb. 28), never fear. Jim Kaese, cofounder of, shares with Sarah Sekula for USA TODAY his favorite ways to harness the oomph of the Olympics all year long.

Utah Olympic Park
Park City, Utah

For the daredevil in you, snag a spot on the skeleton course where you race headfirst down icy tracks at speeds of up to 45 mph. "It's Utah's version of the Fountain of Youth," Kaese says. "For a few minutes you'll feel 12 again." Nearby, at Park City Mountain Resort keep your eyes peeled for lightning-fast Ted Ligety, 2006 Olympic gold medalist. Word has it, he favors the East Face run. Call ahead for reservations. 435-658-4200;

Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica
Ocho Rios, Jamaica

"If you've fantasized about experiencing a bobsled run, but avoid cold and snowy weather like a reptile, then consider this tropical rainforest venue," Kaese says. "Bobsled Jamaica is more roller coaster than bobsled, but this gravity-pull ride is thrilling." The "sled" whips through a 3,280-foot track featuring scream-worthy twists and turns. When you come back to your senses, hop a chairlift to the top of Mystic Mountain and chow down Caribbean cuisine at the attraction's charming eatery. 876-974-3990;

Mont Tremblant Ski Resort
Quebec, Canada

There's just something about cross-country skiing past porcupine tracks, through open meadows and along the Diable River. It's part exhilarating, part exhausting. That's where apres-ski pursuits come in. Mont Tremblant goes out of its way to create activities for the entire family to enjoy indoors, as well, says Kaese. While the tikes are splashing it up at the adventure-themed aquatic center, adults can soak in Scandinavian baths at the slope-side spa. 888-738-1777;

Bemidji Curling Club
Bemidji, Minn.

Curling isn't the coolest Olympic sport, but it's catching on. At Bemidji Curling Club, visitors can give it a go by prior arrangement. This club boasts more than 50 state and national titles and has been around for 70-plus years. Better yet, while you are throwing "rocks," you may get a few pointers from 2006 Olympic bronze medalist Pete Fenson, who trains there often. 218-751-1123;

Mount Snow Resort
Mount Snow, Vt.

"Mount Snow is to East Coast snowboarders what Boston is to marathoners," Kaese says. Here, in Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark's hometown, you'll ride the same tubes and jumps that Olympic snowboarders ride throughout the year. Afterward, if you crave BBQ ribs or a handcrafted pizza, try TC's Family Restaurant, owned by Clark's parents. 800-245-7669;

Tordrillo Mountains

Winter in Alaska, simply put, is majestic. Likewise, there is no more impressive sight on the continent than the massive and jagged Tordrillo Mountains, Kaese says. Here's the chance to conquer remote terrain via a heli-ski session alongside Tommy Moe, 1994 Olympic gold medalist. The uber-athlete guides trips from Tordrillo Mountain Lodge in April and the "Kings and Corns" program in June. Think: velvety snow and runs with an average vertical of 3,000 feet. 888-983-3742;

Germain Arena
Estero, Fla.

Lace up your skates and soak up some figure-skating know-how with three-time Olympian Todd Eldredge as your guide, or sign up for a rough-and-rugged pickup game of hockey. "But prepare to work those ankle muscles," Kaese says. Once you're worn out, warm up outsidein the Florida sunshine. 239-948-7825;

Whistler Blackcomb Resort
Whistler, B.C.

The resort is the site of the annual TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival April 16-25. "Whistler's mountain runs are legendary, but the real hullabaloo is about the impressive live music concerts, winter fashion shows, film and photography displays, and quirky sideshows (e.g. dog parade). While Canadians are warm and friendly year round, the brisk outdoor temperatures finally start to abate in April, making the fourth month of the year perfect for a Whistler visit." 866-218-9690;

U.S. Olympic Education Center
Marquette, Mich.

Being in the seats for a speedskating event at the USOEC is like watching a NASCAR race on steroids, Kaese says. "Competitors whiz around the ice oval at amazing human speeds, and winners and losers are often separated by only tenths of seconds," he adds. 906-227-2888;

Whiteface Mountain
Wilmington/Lake Placid, N.Y.

The U.S. Alpine Championships take place March 20-23, marking the 30th anniversary of the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics, when skiers carved their way down this mountain in a quest for medals, Kaese says. Watch 2010 Winter Olympic greats, like Lindsey Vonn and Steven Nyman, take on Whiteface Mountain's most challenging slopes. 800-462-6236;

---February 2010

The FITNESS Fit 50: The Best Breakthroughs for Your Workout

Fitness Advice on the Go

Leaving home and staying in shape is a lot easier since the launch of Want to know if your hotel has a decent gym or where the nearest healthy restaurant is? For $2.95 a month, you can get the fit-lifestyle lowdown on major U.S. and some European cities.

---Nov./Dec. 2008

Hyatt Partners with Athletic-Minded Traveler

CHICAGO (August 25, 2008) “ Hyatt Hotels & Resorts today announced that its North American properties will provide jogging and fitness-walking guests with palm-size route cards designed by Athletic-Minded Traveler®, a leading healthy-travel and lifestyle media firm. Hyatt is the first major hospitality company to partner with Athletic-Minded Traveler and will feature the maps as part of the StayFit@Hyatt program at participating Hyatt Regency and Grand Hyatt properties.

Enhancing the dynamic selection of StayFit@Hyatt workout programs that cater to fitness-conscious business and leisure travelers, these easy-to-carry cards will provide runners and walkers of all levels with essential information to help them follow healthy pursuits while away from home. The Athletic-Minded Traveler maps offer detailed directions on one side (beginning at each property's front door) and a colorful map with mileage markers on the other (routes range from 2 to 8 miles). The unique tools encourage runners to head outdoors by answering the vital questions "Where?" and "How far?"

"Our staff of active-lifestyle experts is extremely proud to provide Hyatt guests with individually-researched route maps," says Jim Kaese, Co-Founder of San Diego-based Athletic-Minded Traveler, LLC.

"Because jogging and walking are the most popular endurance activities for North Americans (e.g., even the frequent running population - 100+ days/year - is estimated at an impressive 16 million, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association) runners will always be the largest group of Hyatt guests in search of a quality fitness experience. By offering this resource, Hyatt conveys to the running and fitness-walking communities that it understands their plight of identifying legitimate routes while staying in unfamiliar destinations and aspires to accommodate their healthy lifestyle choices."

"This new service from Athletic-Minded Traveler adds a valuable component to our StayFit@Hyatt program," said Gordon Tareta, vice president of spa operations for Global Hyatt Corporation. "Every participating property has been assessed by Athletic-Minded Traveler staff which is made up of fitness-conscious individuals who share our guests" interest in living a healthy lifestyle. Athletic-Minded Traveler shares Hyatt's dedication to providing uncompromising service and is an ideal partner."

Firm on the Fly

Firm on the Fly. Stay in shape wherever you visit. lists hotels with the best gyms and nearby trails in cities all over the country.

---March 2008

Figure On Fitness

FOR MANY TRAVELERS, it's a chore to maintain a healthy and athletic life - style on the road. A new Web site ( offers help. It gives recommendations on the most fitness-focused hotels, outstanding health clubs, healthy restaurants and popular outdoor activities in more than 60 North American cities.

The site was launched by Jim Kaese and Paul Huddle after the success of their travel guide, The Athletic-Minded Traveler: Where to Work Out and Stay When Fitness Is a Priority.

Web content also includes the top hotel lap pools (Orlando's Dolphin Resort and Swan Resort top the list, with a shared 33-yard outdoor lap pool) and the Best Hotel Gyms in the United States (the Houstonian's 125,000-square-foot fitness haven makes it number one; a rock-climbing wall pulls the Venetian up to fifth). Check out the full list below, or head to the Web site for an explanation for each hotel's ranking.

----Nov. 2007

Fresh Air Fitness for the Business Traveler

What began as a 450-page travel guide, with tips for fitness-minded folks on places to stay and work out in major metropolitan areas, has blossomed into a comprehensive Web site. For $2.95 per month ($19.95/yr), subscribers have access to local running and walking routes with marked mileage and printable maps, descriptions of nearby health clubs and pools, and more. The site is also updated regularly with recommendations in other categories, such as restaurants with healthy options.

----- Sept. 2007

America's Best Hotel Lap Pool

It's a shame Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt didn't swim laps at the posh Peninsula Hotel pool when they reportedly took their kids swimming there over the weekend.

When the space is set up as a 3-lane, 25-meter lap pool, it's the best indoor hotel lap pool in the U.S., according to

While most hotel "lap pools" are impossibly small, oval shaped or require something like 142 laps per mile, the Peninsula's has high ceilings, a bright atmosphere, bottom stripes and floating lines (though the hotel website’s online picture omits the "ugly" lane divisions for artistic reasons), according to Jim Kaese and Paul Huddle, both triathlon coaches who started the company to help fitness enthusiasts find decent training sites while on the road.

--- August 2007

Denver Post - There are plenty of sites that list the nearest gyms to the airports or hotels with good fitness centers, and this one does those things too - but it is much more comprehensive than that. It also features running and walking routes and maps, biking options and bike shops, healthy restaurants and health food stores, shops for gear in case you forgot your bathing suit, and where to golf or find an outfitter for more intensive activities such as kayaking.

March 2007

American Airlines-American Way

Health: Staying fit is hard enough when you're at home, much less when you're forever on the road. Fear not, for the authors of The Athletic-Minded Traveler: Where to Work Out and Stay when Fitness Is a Priority have created a web version of their best-selling book, with expanded information on more than 80 destinations. Insiders in each city weigh in on everything from ­fitness-focused hotels to diet-conscious dining rooms to site-specific workouts. A subscription is $20 a year; corporate plans are also available.

----January 2007

Fitness Training: Mile High Fit Club

"You risk suffering a 20 percent decline in performance from travel alone," says Jim Kaese author of The Athletic-Minded Traveler (SoCal Publishing). "If you're not careful, you'll show up for the active trip of a lifetime with your B- or C-game." How you spend the final hours leading up to your next adventure could mean the difference between epic and excruciating. Here's a first-class plan.

November 2006

Running Network Recommends AMT

Jim Kaese and Paul Huddle have tapped into a successful niche with their book, "The Athletic-Minded Traveler: Where to Work Out and Stay When Fitness is a Priority", now in its second printing (SoCal Publishing, 2006).

The 450-page paperback guide has received praise from Newsweek, Men's Health, Adventure Sports and others. Most of the hotels, lap pools, health clubs, run routes, etc., recommended in the Second Edition were also recommended in the First. However, many of the properties' and facilities' equipment details and contact information have been updated and/or revised.

Robust sales of the book's First Edition also led to the launch of an online portal,, which covers additional cities as well as healthy dining options (including Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, farmers' markets, etc.), run routes with custom maps, athletic-minded retailers, and a lot more.

"We're thrilled with the continued appetite for our content and want to make certain that we provide it to the public in multiple formats," says Kaese. "And we are very thankful to the running and triathlon community who continue to be our core audience groups."

October, 2006

Stay Fit on the Road

On-the-road fitness gets a Web boost.

To help you stay fit while you're on the road, ($2.95 a month or $19.95 a year) has hotel-gym and health-club reviews, healthy eating options, and nearby running routes for more than 100 destinations in North America. (You can check out all recommended hotels for free.) Its creators have toured all the places they recommend, so you can be sure the "lap pool" isn't really a hot tub.

August 2006

MSN Recommends AMT

Explore the road less traveled. If you're looking for a more active sort of vacation, the Athleticmindedtraveler web site,, offers tips on choice jogging routes and healthy restaurants across North America. For $3 per month or $20 per year, you get downloadable running maps and advice from locals on fitness-focused hotels, hiking trails, swimming pools, as well as reliable bike shops.

June 2006

Christian Science Monitor

"There are hotels that organize group runs for their guests and have a staff member take them on a morning jaunt," says Jim Kaese, the fitness expert who founded, a site that directs users to hotels with top-notch fitness facilities.

-- May 2006

Don't Let Business Travel Derail Your Fitness Goals

"If it's not convenient, it's not going to happen," said Erin Kaese, co-founder of Athletic-Minded Traveler, a company that provides travelers and corporations with information about attractive places to stay, eat and work out on the road.

The company's Web site,, offers subscribers information on more than 50 U.S. cities -- from running routes to health food stores. The site is expanding internationally, with fitness-minded information on Canadian cities coming soon.

Some of the information on the site is free, but most of the content requires a subscription that runs $2.95 a month or $19.95 a year.

CNN asked Kaese to share some tips to help business travelers stay fit away from home.

Keep your gear packed

You're less likely to work out on the road if you have to hit the mall when you arrive for a new set of gym clothes. Many business travelers keep a bag partially packed with esesntial toiletries to avoid scrambling when a new trip pops up.

"I'd say do the same thing when it comes to your workout stuff," Kaese said. "Always have workout gear in the bag so you don't have to think twice about it."

A pair of gym shoes that can double as running shoes, a sports top, shorts and a light jacket will usually do the trick, Kaese said.

Workout in the morning

An early workout gets you started with vigor and ensures that exercise makes it into your schedule, Kaese said.

"It's more apt to happen because you can't predict the client meeting going over, the sudden 'let's extend this into a business dinner,' all the different things that happen at the end of the day."

Find out about gym partnerships

Your home gym membership may allow you to work out at affiliated gyms across the country. YMCA members usually are welcome at other Ys, sometimes for free.

Even if your gym does not have branches in other regions, some health clubs will welcome members of other clubs that belong to the same professional organizations.

For example, if your home gym belongs to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, you may be able to work out at other affiliated gyms for a small fee, Kaese said.

Some hotels also partner with local gyms.

"A lot of hotels acknowledge that their on-site facility is a closet and they do have a deal with a nearby health club," Kaese said.

Pack emergency food

Avoid getting stranded with unhealthy vending machine options by packing a few things that will tide you over.

Kaese suggested snacks such as energy bars, trail mix and turkey jerky.

"Reward yourself with a great healthy dinner. If the day is just crazy, know at the end of the day you're going to eat something that's good for you and that you're going to enjoy."

Don't let stress determine what you eat

"Travel is very stressful, and I think the first thing we do is we turn to something that's very comforting," Kaese said.

Resolve ahead of time to stick to your healthy routine -- working out early and packing healthy snacks will help.

Then make healthier meal choices when you have a chance to slow down.

"Most restaurants do tend to have at least one or two options that are a lot more sensible than other options."

Business Week

Some companies are also trying to make their employees' trips more comfortable. This month KPMG launched its Athletic-Minded Traveler Web site, which provides information on fitness centers, running routes, and healthy restaurants in popular business destinations.

San Diego Union Tribune

Following the success of "The Athletic-Minded Traveler", San Diego 's Jim Kaese created the Internet version of the book. For the person who wants to remain active and eat healthy on the road, the site is golden.

Some 52 cities, plus five in are featured, with detailed information about hotel gyms, health clubs, restaurants and more.

Like so much in life, it's the details that make the site special. At hotel gyms, the number of aerobic machines and weight range of the dumbbells are listed.

All the fitness facilities were personally visited, which made for some humorous anecdotes. One Salt Lake City hotel said it had an Olympic-sized pool. Instead, it was a short lap pool, complete with a sign reading: 1 mile = 156 laps.

Said Kaese: "It was basically a large hot tub."

One gym was on the hotel's only smoking floor.

"It's the only gym I've ever seen with ashtrays," said Kaese.

Neither hotel made the Web site. Some Fortune 500 companies have signed deals with the site, enabling their employees to access the information for free.

-- May 2006

Money Magazine

"Forget the claustrophobic hotel gym. offers tips on choice jogging routes and healthy restaurants in major cities. For $3 per month or $20 per year, you get downloadable running maps and advice from locals on hiking trails, swimming pools, reliable bike shops, and the like."

The CEO Workout

Need another reason to hit the gym? Seventy-five percent of top-ranking execs say being fit is critical to their career strides, a poll by notes. You can still sweat for success when you travel for business--simply log on to to check out gym facilities before you leave.

--March 2006

New Web Site for Athletic-Minded Travelers

Following up on the success of their best-selling travel book, "The Athletic-Minded Traveler", and resounding demand for an online version, Jim Kaese and Paul Huddle, along with Athletic-Minded Traveler, LLC, have launched

As the "largest healthy travel site on the Web," the portal adds to the book's first-hand recommendations on the best places to stay and exercise across the country with new cities (including international destinations), healthy and athletic-minded dining options, running route maps that can be printed or downloaded into an ipod, local retailers and more!

The site's sophisticated search functionality allows users to simply enter their location to find nearby athletic-minded pursuits, restaurants and other venues, all according to distance. "The Athletic-Minded Traveler" print version continues to be sold at most Jamba Juice locations, many bike shops and running stores, and traditional bookstore outlets including

--February 2006

Runner's World

Are you one? Do you worry about meeting your carb and protein needs while traveling for work? What about getting in your long run while vacationing with the family? Tired of slogging through intervals on a too-slow treadmill in the hotel exercise room while squirrelly 10-year-olds play Hercules on the weight bench? Well, this site offers you the insights on fitness-focused hotels, health clubs, running routes, lap pools, restaurants, and more, all in an effort to help you keep your training consistent, even when your location isn't.

--January 2006

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