Skies Without Clouds, Warmth Without Humidity, Starry Nights Without Rival; Death Valley Provides Warm Desert Oasis for Winter-Weary Travelers
For Immediate Release
DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, Calif., December 18, 2013 – Over the next few months, the warmth- and sun-deprived residents in many regions of the country will be seeking a winter getaway with temperatures trending to the high side of the thermometer. Furnace Creek Resort in California’s Death Valley National Park offers a winter getaway that is heavy on sunshine and light on effort.
Comprised of the luxurious and historic AAA Four-Diamond-rated Inn at Furnace Creek and the energetic and family-friendly Ranch at Furnace Creek, the resort offers a broad range of on-site activities as well as a perfectly located home base for exploring the vast park’s attractions.
“Winter is prime time in Death Valley National Park, and those of us who live here welcome the season like an old friend,” said Rich Jones, general manager of Furnace Creek Resort. “While some destinations slow down in the winter, Death Valley ramps up as our energized visitors go – and stay – outside and play.”
Jones noted that the resort is easily accessible, particularly from Las Vegas, where it is a drive of only 2 ½ hours. Many Las Vegas enthusiasts schedule post-trips to Death Valley to enjoy the sunshine and natural beauty of this neon-free destination. “The two destinations – Las Vegas and Death Valley – are both distinctive and fun, and they offer different experiences,” he said. “We are finding increasing numbers of our guests are combining the two locations into one fabulous vacation.”
Furnace Creek Resort offers a variety of discounts and packages including “Prospector Rates” with 30 percent off the regular rates on select dates, savings for seniors on an escalating scale up to 30 percent depending on the length of stay, and a Stay and Play package featuring unlimited golf, accommodations and more.
Death Valley’s Winter Sports
A properly equipped winter sports enthusiast in Death Valley is outfitted with good hiking boots, sunscreen, hat, binoculars, camera, golf clubs, bathing suit, tennis racket, water, full tank of gas and light jacket.
Between now and May, the Furnace Creek Golf Course will host a steady stream of golfers. At 214 feet below sea level, the course is the lowest in the world. Because the golf ball does not fly as far as it does at sea level and higher elevation courses, players must adjust their club selections as well as their mental approaches. The course also features small greens, strategically placed Palm and Tamarisk trees and water coming into play on nine holes.
Even if their game is off, golfers can still feel good about playing the course. The golf course was designated a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.” To achieve certification, a course must demonstrate it is maintaining a high degree of environmental quality in several different areas, including water conservation and wildlife and habitat management.
At the elegant Inn at Furnace Creek, a member of Historic Hotels of America, guests can swim and relax by the quiet pool. The pool is kept at a comfortable 82 degrees by a warm spring. Surrounded by an oasis garden, the pool offers the feeling of extreme seclusion and relaxation. Soft music is played from the poolside lounge, and two poolside fireplaces offer a place for guests to ward off the relative chill of the early evening.
The family-friendly Ranch at Furnace Creek offers an abundance of on-site facilities for young ones to blow off steam, including a sport court, stables for horseback riding, sprawling yard and spring-fed pool.
Hiking opportunities in Death Valley are practically unlimited for both casual and seasoned walkers. Although there are no formal trails, paths carved out by past travelers are easy to follow. The National Park Service conducts interpretive programs daily including guided walks and naturalist talks. The programs begin at the National Park Service Visitor Center next to the Ranch at Furnace Creek or at a predetermined location in the park.
Many park visitors make the 55-mile drive from Furnace Creek to Scotty’s Castle to take a tour of the park’s Moorish-style castle and to learn the convoluted, entertaining tale of how the castle came to be built. The story involves a secret gold mine; a millionaire and his religious, musical wife; and an utterly charming con artist.
Even on the warmest winter days, visitors to Furnace Creek Resort remain cool, thanks to the power of the sun. Just a few years ago, resort operator Xanterra Parks & Resorts completed construction of the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) system in the tourism industry. The system generates more than 2.3 million kWh of electricity, or one-third of the total electricity needs of the resort.
Land of Extremes
Death Valley is a land of extreme dryness and heat as well as extreme beauty.
The park is located near the California/Nevada border, approximately 120 miles from Las Vegas and 300 miles from Los Angeles. It is the hottest, driest and lowest place in North America. Annual rainfall is typically less than 2.5 inches.
The reason for Death Valley’s extreme climate is found in its geography. There are four major mountain ranges between the Pacific Ocean and Death Valley. When winter storms move east from the Pacific Ocean, they must pass over these mountain ranges to continue east. When the rising clouds cool they produce rain or snow on the western side of these mountains. When those clouds reach the eastern side of the mountains, however, they no longer have much moisture.
The park’s depth, shape and minimal plant cover all contribute to the its extreme temperatures. Death Valley’s elevation changes are dramatic. From the top of Telescope Peak to the west to Badwater at the bottom of the valley, there is an elevation change of more than 11,000 feet – roughly twice the depth of the Grand Canyon.
When Death Valley experiences rain during the winter months, the chances are improved for a spectacular spring wildflower season. The desert’s famous wildflower show can begin as early as late February, when much of the country is still frosty.
The Furnace Creek Resort has been welcoming guests since the 1930s. The AAA Four-Diamond-rated Inn at Furnace Creek is open from mid-October through mid-May. It features 66 rooms, including two suites with a full array of amenities, fine dining, tennis courts and a spring-fed pool. Open year-round, the Ranch at Furnace Creek is situated adjacent to the golf course and features 224 rooms in a casual setting, general store, spring-fed swimming pool, tennis courts, horseback riding and the Borax Museum.
Reservations may be made online at www.furnacecreekresort.com/ or by calling toll free at 1-800-236-7916 or 1-303-297-2757.
Known for its “Legendary Hospitality with a Softer Footprint,” Xanterra Parks & Resorts® entities include lodges, restaurants, tours and activities in national and state parks and resorts as well as a cruise line, railway and tour operator. Xanterra Parks & Resorts has operations in the Grand Canyon, including Grand Canyon Railway and The Grand Hotel in Tusayan, Ariz.; Yellowstone; Zion; Crater Lake; Rocky Mountain and Petrified Forest National Parks; Mount Rushmore National Memorial; Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley National Park and five Ohio State Park Lodges as well as the Geneva Marina at Ohio’s Geneva State Park. Xanterra Parks & Resorts also operates Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., Windstar Cruises and VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations.Xanterra Parks & Resorts
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