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Unlicensed digs closing in Hawaii

December 23, 2007|Jay Jones; Josef Molnar; Hugo Martin; Chris Erskine

Hundreds of unlicensed bed-and-breakfasts and vacation rentals on Maui, Molokai and Lanai will apparently have to shut down by Jan. 1, following a court ruling last week. A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Maui Vacation Rental Assn. against Maui County, which governs all three islands. The association was seeking a postponement of the county's order for more than 900 properties to close by year's end for failing to possess business licenses. President David Dantes said the association's board of directors would review the judge's order before deciding how to proceed. Dantes doubted any further legal action would begin before the county's deadline.

-- Jay Jones

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Head's above

Scattered along the slopes of a volcanic island in the South Pacific, the 1,000 or so mammoth moai heads of Easter Island have mystified countless tourists, but the accommodations have been, well, sparse. By month's end, that will have changed with the opening of the Posada de Mike Rapu hotel. The wide windows framing the island's sweeping views and natural-toned interiors that don't sacrifice comfort mean that guests can now say, "I've been there" without adding, "I know how the natives lived." A three-night stay starts at $1,794 per person. (866) 750-6699, www.explora.com/rapa-nui_thehotel.php.

-- Josef Molnar

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Valet, with skis

Pizza, pet medicine, flowers and even diabetic testing equipment are among the many goods and services you can have delivered directly to your front door. Now, you don't even have to get out of your bathrobe to rent and be fitted with ski equipment. Door 2 Door, a subsidiary of Christy Sports, bills itself as a full-service snow sports valet, and it's in more than 40 locations in Colorado and Utah. Here's how it works: You place an order by phone or online and a team of snow sports technicians arrives at your hotel room to fit you with boots, poles, skis, snowboards, even scarves and gloves. Rentals run $13 to $55 per day, depending on location and gear. Once you're done shredding the slopes or biffing off a rail, drop your gear at a Christy Sports outlet, near 15 major resorts. (866) 323-7547, www.d2dskis.com.

-- Hugo Martin

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Fresh powder

Just in time for the Christmas rush, Mammoth Mountain received 2 feet of fresh snow early last week and was expecting another significant storm, with as much as 2 more feet of snow late Thursday, as the Travel section was going to press. The resort was planning to have more than 20 lifts open this weekend, including a new high-speed lift that takes the place of Chair 9. It will whisk skiers from the Eagle Lodge side of the mountain to Dragon's Back (10,371 feet) in six minutes. The same storm systems that hit lower in the state left Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe with several feet of new powder, and snow depth reached 95 inches high on the hill.

-- Chris Erskine

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Look -- eagles!

Nature lovers who want to make a contribution without spending much cash can donate their time and enjoy the great outdoors by going on bald eagle counting tours. Sponsored by the Mojave River Natural History Assn., the monthly outings gives visitors to the Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area the chance to watch our America's national symbol (which was recently taken off of the critically endangered species watch list) in their its native settings. The count is held on the second Saturday of each month; the next event one is Jan. 12. Admission and the outing are free, and barge tours at the park, 20 miles north of San Bernardino, are available by reservation. For information, call (760) 389-2303.

-- J.M.

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