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Ready to say ‘mush’?
Each winter, weather permitting, the town of Todtmoos in Germany’s Black Forest holds sled-dog races. This season the races and related events will be held Jan. 24-25.
But the dog-sled season runs much longer. For those who’d like a go at the sport, the town has organized weekend mushing courses through mid-February. The price is 350 euros (about $467) per person and includes two nights in the guest house Sternen with breakfast and two days of instruction and practice.
Course dates are Dec. 20-21; Jan. 3-4, 17-18, Jan. 31-Feb. 1; and Feb. 8-9 and 14-15. The organizers ask that you arrive with winter clothing and shoes, a minimum level of fitness, a good mood and the joy of working with the dogs.
Details at www.todtmoos.de under "Musher Kurse" (in German).
Salzburg’s most famous son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was born in the city on Jan. 27, 1756. In his 35 years, he composed more than 600 works and became one of classical music’s most popular musicians.
Each January, the city celebrates with Mozart Week, this year Jan. 21 to Feb. 1. The 2009 program looks at the relationship between the music of Mozart and Franz Joseph Haydn (this year is the 200th anniversary of the Austrian composer’s death) and how they can be understood through each other’s music. Major conductors, composers and artists, including acclaimed Japanese pianist Mitsuko Uchida, will present the program of concerts, workshops and discussions.
Tickets are on sale online for chamber music, choir and orchestra concerts, plus talks and workshops at www.mozarteum.at. Click on "tickets" under UBS on the left side of the home page, then "Mozart Week" under "Concerts and Tickets." From there you can choose the venue, performance and seating (prices depend on seats).
Ice is nice
During winter, some folks head to warm, sunny climes while others prefer to revel in the cold, snow and ice. If you’re one of the latter, the Web site www.icecarvingsecrets.com/ics/ice_home.html is for you.
"Ice Carving Secrets" is a combination Web site/blog devoted to the art and trade of ice sculptures. If you want to try your hand at ice sculpting, you can click on free ice carving designs for a pattern and directions for making figures as well as a link for technique ideas. There are also photos of ice sculptures, videos and a blog.
For travelers, the "ice places" link has a variety of ice locations to visit and stay in. These include ice hotels in Greenland, Scandinavia and Romania; ice churches and chapels; ice bars (including London, Barcelona, Milan and Paris) and other ice attractions.
Ice dancing courses
If you’re a hot shot on ice skates, maybe it’s time to go a level higher and take up ice dancing. Several courses are being offered in Europe.
From April 6-11, Engelberg’s Sporting Park in Switzerland is offering an international dance course with Jimmy Young, an Olympic ice dance coach, and his assistant coaches. In Course A, skaters learn the waltz, Argentine tango, rumba/quick step, Westminster waltz, tango romantica and Viennese waltz. Course B covers the Canasta tango/14 step, Riverside rumba/Hickory hoedown, foxtrot/swing dance, tango/fiesta tango, blues/rhythm and blues and free choice. A warm-up course also is offered.
Courses A and B cost 330 Swiss francs (about $280) each. The warm-up course costs 210 Swiss francs.
Private lessons with Young also are available at 22 Swiss francs per hour and the other coaches at 20 Swiss francs. Details at www.skateengelberg.com.
Young will also hold a course July 27 to Aug. 1 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Details at http://jimmy-young.co.uk.
Run the tower
Think you’re in shape after working out on that step machine? Then test your stamina in Berlin’s Tower Run on Jan. 11.
Modeled after the annual dash up the Empire State Building, the race route climbs 29 flights of stairs (465 steps) in Germany’s highest residential building, the IDEAL-Hochhaus. Competitors are divided according to age and gender. The entry fee is 9 euros.
Entry form at www.tus-neukoelln.de/tri/towerrun/2009/ausschr09.htm (in German).
Best betsBELGIUM: Brugge continues its celebration of winter with its Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival, which runs through Jan. 11 in a 12,195-square-foot thermal tent on Station Square. This year’s theme, “Ice Magic,” explores the world of wizards and magicians. A team of 40 international professional ice sculptors has created this fairy-tale scenery by strategically lighting works of art sculpted out of some 600,000 pounds of ice and 400 tons of snow. An introductory video shows how the artists work. The tent is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The cost is 11 euros for adults (about $15), 7 euros for children ages 4 to 7, free for those younger than 4. See www.icesculpture.be.