Plan your winter haven vacation: Austin airport adds new direct flight to Colorado mountain ski destination
American Airlines is debuting nonstop service between Austin and Vail, Colorado, just in time for ski season.
A popular ski and snowboarding destination, American will start service on Dec. 15 to Eagle County Regional Airport—running daily until Jan. 9, weekly from Jan. 10 to Feb. 15 and daily again from Feb.16 to April 3.
“Austin continues to grow and we’re proud to support that growth with new routes,” American director of short-haul network planning Philippe Puech said. “From connecting central Texans to the slopes this winter to bringing more business to the heart of Texas, American is eager to welcome customers on board.”
So what’s to see in Vail?
There is still just as much to do in ski country outside of skiing season.
Visit Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
The highest botanical garden in the world at 8,200 feet, this free garden in the heart of Vail Village showcases a collection of alpine, sub-alpine and mountain flora. Guide yourself on a tour with informative displays throughout before visiting the alpine house, which presents plants from around the globe. Unique experiences like yoga in the gardens and botanic photography are commonly held.
Visit Adventure Ridge
Let out your inner dare devil at Adventure Ridge, located at the top of the mountain with views of Gore and Sawatch ranges. Take a ride on Vail’s Lionhead Gondola to the top of the peak where you can ride the mountain coaster, go rock climbing, mini-golfing, zip-lining or mountain tubing at Eagle’s Nest. You can also learn how to ski bike in the wintertime!
Summer concerts at Vail’s Ford Amphitheater
Similar to Austin’s Waterloo Ampitheater, the Ford Amphitheater holds a summer-long concert series from diverse genres. Sit out on the lawn, swap out the skyline for a lush mountain landscape and relax to some tunes.
(Town of Vail)
There’s a number of active summer activities to enjoy in Vail—start out by biking down the mountain where skiers would usually be with races in summer, or compete in the GoPro Mountain Games in June. Vail holds its Whitewater Race series throughout the spring and kids can compete in the Adventure Games in August.
Find the winter wonderland you can't get in Texas.
Ski on Vail Mountain
(Town of Vail)
One of the largest ski resorts in the world, Vail Mountain has 5,317 acres of terrain for skiing and “Back Bowls” that offer powdery rides for all skill levels. Blue Sky Basin is a must-see with its open meadows and stunning 360-degree views of the surrounding peaks.
With everything you need in Vail Village or Lionshead—dining, shopping, the Colorado Ski & Snowboarding Museum and spa treatments—you never have to leave the peaks.
Winter lights and market
(Town of Vail)
Colorado will serve you the white winter that you (almost) never see in Texas, perfect to get into the holiday spirit. With hundreds of shops—selling candy, clothing and gifts—art galleries, restaurants, breweries and picturesque views, shopping at Vail Village can be comfortably done once you get off the slopes.
Ice skating in Vail Valley
(Town of Vail)
Have your choice of three different rinks: The Arrabelle at Vail Square, with twinkling lights to set the mood; the Solaris Ice Rink, which allows visitors to skate through the center of Vail Village; and the Dobson Ice Arena, the largest indoor rink in Vail at 35,000-square-feet, hosts skating, public hockey practice and ice bumper cars.
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Tesla’s Austin presence is becoming even greater as the automaker plans for a nearly 52,000-square-foot showroom in northeast Austin.
A filing with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation reveals Tesla will have the dealership at 2323 Ridgepoint Drive, near the intersection of 290 and 183. It’ll serve as Tesla’s fourth Austin showroom once it reaches its expected completion in February next year.
Boyd Watterson Asset Management is listed as the owner of the one story building that will undergo renovations and alterations totaling $1.5 million. Illinois-based Chipman Design Architecture is listed as the design firm.
Tesla’s other Austin showrooms include one at the Domain, another off of Research Boulevard in northwest Austin and at The Yard in South Austin. The site on St. Elmo Road was built just last year with an estimated $2.5 million price tag.
News of the showroom comes shortly after Tesla applied for expansions at its headquarters in southeast Travis County. According to filings, Tesla may build a 500,000-square-foot building for two general assembly lines at Giga Texas.
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Genetic engineering company Colossal Biosciences announced it has started de-extinction of the thylacine, also known as the Tasmanian tiger.
Partnering with the University of Melbourne and its Thylacine Integrated Genetic Restoration Research Lab on these efforts, Colossal says bringing the tiger back could “re-balance the Tasmanian and broader Australian ecosystems.”
“With our planet’s biodiversity at risk, we will continue to contribute scientific resources to preserving the species and ecosystems necessary to sustain life,” CEO Ben Lamm said.
Founded last year, Colossal aims to further develop technologies for marsupial conservation efforts and say they are the first to apply CRISPR technology for the purpose of species de-extinction.
The company has its headquarters in Dallas with Austin ties through its software and hardware team. Also with Lamm, who is former CEO of Austin AI company Hypergiant.
Ben Lamm and co-founder George Church
The Tasmanian tiger marks Colossal’s second de-extinction project. Before its work on the Australian marsupial that was eradicated nearly a century ago, Colossal announced its plans to resurrect the woolly mammoth.
Now, Lamm said they are thrilled about teaming up with the Melbourne lab, which is headed by Andrew Pask, a marsupial evolutionary biologist and Tasmanian tiger expert.
Pask said this is a “landmark moment” for marsupial research and that the technology from the project will influence the next generation of conservation efforts.
“Additionally, rewilding the thylacine to the Tasmanian landscape can significantly curb the destruction of this natural habitat due to invasive species,” Pask said. “The Tasmanian tiger is iconic in Australian culture. We’re excited to be part of this team in bringing back this unique, cornerstone species that mankind previously eradicated from the planet.”
\u201cIntroducing Texas #pumas reinvigorated the Florida panther population.\u201d— Colossal Biosciences (@Colossal Biosciences) 1655137149
Colossal points to the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone and the Tasmanian Devil to Australia as examples of the importance of rewilding species to their original habitats. Through that, Colossal says, damaged ecosystems can be restored and revitalized.
To achieve the successful birth of the Tasmanian tiger, Colossal says advancement of current marsupial assisted reproductive technology is required. The work goes beyond the Tasmanian tiger though and Colossal says this technology will be instrumental in the preservation of marsupials at large. The company notes this is especially important in Australia, which faces a fast rate of biodiversity loss and where marsupials are highly concentrated.
Colossal boasts investors like nature gaming group Untamed Planet and local Australian non-profit WildArk, as well as actors the Hemsworth brothers.
“Our family remains dedicated to supporting conservationist efforts around the world and protecting Australia's biodiversity is a high priority,” Chris Hemsworth said. “The Tassie Tiger’s extinction had a devastating effect on our ecosystem and we are thrilled to support the revolutionary conservation efforts that are being made by Dr. Pask and the entire Colossal team.”
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