"Bleisure trips" is the latest iteration of combining business with pleasure, as in skiing and snowboarding.

Taking advantage of a trip for mountain fun also can provide an opportunity to experience something of major cities which serve as gateways to the snow.

Several hotel chains recently announced plans which the business traveler/skier or snowboarder should keep in mind.

The Four Seasons Hotel Denver, for instance, opened last month, in the part of the city called LoDo (Lower Downtown). The facility has 239 guest rooms, a 9,000-square-foot spa, a steakhouse, and a rooftop terrace with pool deck. There are also spaces large and small for business events.

This permits those flying into Denver a chance to check out the Denver Art Museum, the U.S. Mint, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, the Downtown Aquarium, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver before or after hitting the slopes. Denver is, of course, the gateway to numerous mountain destination resorts, all within a relatively short drive.

Winter Park, for example, is a major destination resort 67 miles northwest of town. It's an easy drive on I-70 and U.S. Highway 40. Winter Park has been a favorite of Denverites for 71 years.

Colorado's second Four Seasons hotel, the Four Seasons Resort Vail in Vail, Colo., is scheduled to open in December with 121 guest rooms and 8,510 square feet of meeting space.

Minneapolis, too, is a gateway to skiing and riding, albeit at smaller ski areas. While there, visitors can take in a production at the Guthrie Theater, visit NPR favorite Garrison Keillor's bookshop in St. Paul, or see wonderful works of art at the Minnesota Museum of Art, great paintings of nature at the Science Museum, and the statue of Mary Tyler Moore outside the IDS Center.

Carlson Hotels has announced that it will open the second Radisson Blu hotel in the U.S. near Minneapolis at the Mall of America, an easy trip on public transportation from downtown. They call it Minneapolis; it's actually Bloomington, about 10 minutes away. Buck Hill ski area is just off I-35W in the Burnsville suburb. Welch Village is located just 40 minutes south of the Twin Cities. Afton Alps is about 45 miles away.

Carlson Hotels Global Chief Operating Officer Thorsten Kirschke said the location appealed to the company for the huge number of U.S. and overseas tourists who visit the Mall. The 501-room facility is expected to cost $130 million.

The Radisson Blu in Minnesota will have a restaurant and lounge, an indoor pool, a spa, fitness facilities, and more than 23,000 square feet of meeting space. Construction is scheduled to start next month.

Radisson Blu is considered an upscale offering in the Carlson Hotel chain. The company announced that the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel will open in Chicago about a year from now, offering access to Chicagoland ski areas such as Chestnut, about a two-hour drive; and tiny Wilmot, about 45 miles away, where many local skiers learned the sport. Wisconsin areas are also fairly close.

Carlson Hotels also announced construction of a new Radisson Hotel two miles from Calgary International Airport. Don't miss the Glenbow Museum or the Scotiabank Saddledome.

You also can catch some very close-in alpine sking and riding, as well as some cross-country skiing at Canada Olympic Park. The Big 3 resorts of Lake Louise,Sunshine Village, and Mount Norquay are 80 miles away from Calgary in Banff.