It’s been an extreme winter thus far, which is good news for skiers and snowboarders. In many cases, we’ve seen record snowfall levels. But what if you don’t ski? What are the ski resorts doing to offer exciting, fun, creative outdoor programs for the non-skiers?
Stowe Mountain Lodge may be located in a popular skiing and snowboarding destination, but you’ll find no shortage of non-skiing activities. You can try other winter activities such as ice climbing, dog sledding, snowshoeing, and you can even help out with a kids snowman building contest. If you’d rather stay indoors, there’s laser tag, kids pizza and movie nights, and arts and crafts on Sundays. You can also explore areas around the Lodge with Mercedes-Benz drive tours (as well as self-guided tours), enjoy wine tours and tastings at the Boyden Valley Winery, or go for a 4,635-foot zip line canopy tour.
For those looking to bring home a handmade keepsake, there’s a factory where kids can build their own stuffed animal, while the adults can test their carpentry skills by making a rocking chair with Turner Mill Timbers. If you’d rather stay inside the Lodge, there’s an outdoor heated pool, and an adult and kids spa—mini me massages, facials, pedicures, and manicures included.
Vail is one of the biggest destinations for skiers around the world, but it’s also home to many activities for those who don’t want to hit the slopes. At Vail Cascade Resort & Spa, you can take gondola lift rides, dog sled rides, heated snow-coach rides, sleigh rides, and horse-drawn carriage rides.
Looking for something more active? You can take guided snowshoe nature tours, go horseback riding, ice climbing, ice skating, sledding, tubing, snowmobiling, thrill sledding, winter fly-fishing, and take mountain tours. Vail Village also provides entertainment with art galleries, bowling, the Colorado Ski Museum, movie theaters, Walking Mountains Space Center, shopping, and fine dining.
Park City is another hot destination for skiers, and at Montage Deer Valley, they can partake in both Nordic and cross-country skiing while the non-skiers choose from a variety of other activities. Non-skiers can go snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sleigh riding, “fat biking” with thicker bicycle wheels, and bowling. Montage Deer Valley also has two Bernese Mountain dogs, and visitors can hang out with them up to three times each day.
For something a little more memorable, private charter flights are available to take you to see Arches National Park—these can accommodate up to eight people. If you’re up for some adventures, try the Alpine Coaster—a toboggan-style coaster with 4,000 feet of curves and bends—or you can go bobsledding at the Utah Olympic Park. During the warmer months, you can try fly fishing and go for a hot air balloon ride. When you’re ready to reconvene with the skiers and snowboarders in your group, the hotel offers s’mores every day at 4 p.m.
Lake Tahoe straddles the California-Nevada border, and provides activities and entertainment all year long. Located just 15 minutes from the lake, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe has ski-in, ski-out access to Northstar California, but the non-skiers aren’t left out either. You can go snowshoeing—either during the day, or on a full moon hike—or explore the Sierra Nevada mountains on a dogsled tour. Other activities include snowmobiling, sledding, and helicopter tours. At the Village at Northstar, you can take advantage of the 9,000-square-foot ice skating rink and movie theaters. Nearby you’ll also find a bowling alley and museums, including the Tahoe Maritime Museum, Gatekeeper’s Museum, and Kid Zone Museum.
If you’re bringing the kids along, there’s a family night in the arcade every Friday from 6 to 9 p.m., and families who play can get free popcorn and beverages. From 4 to 5 p.m. each day, everyone can gather around the outdoor fire pit for s’mores featuring signature marshmallows, which are created by the hotel’s marshmologist.
Alyeska Resort is a common destination for heli-skiing, which is available each year in the Chugach Mountains from February 11 to April 17, but if you’d rather stay inside the helicopter, you can take a helicopter glacier tour for $270 per person. Want to see the ten thousand year-old glacier up close? You can book a helicopter landing glacier tour for $380 per person.
You can also catch a ride on the 60-passenger Aerial Scenic Tram, which features views of the Turnagain Arm, peaks of the Chugach Mountain Range, and up to seven “hanging” glaciers. Other winter activities include snowshoeing, snowmobiling, a snowmobile glacier tour, dog sledding, and cross-country skiing. Always wanted to see the Northern Lights? Alyeska offers a Northern Lights wake-up call to make sure you don’t miss it.
Bretton Woods may be one of the most popular skiing and snowboarding spots in the New England area, but some resorts, like the Omni Mount Washington Resort, cater to non-skiers as well. If you’re not a fan of the cold in general, visit the heated indoor and outdoor pools or head to the 25,000-square-foot Omni Spa. But if you still want to get out and explore, you can go ice skating, snowshoeing, tubing, snowmobiling, sleigh riding, dog sledding, or ice climbing—just to start. Arguably, the coolest thing offered is a canopy tour—or zip line tour—which happens to be the longest in New England. When you’re done for the day, you can relax by the outdoor fire pit and make s’mores.
For more information about skiing and winter sports, check out:
- Where You Can Find Ice & Snow Attractions
- Tips for Flying With Skis and Snowboards
- Where You Can Stay in a Real Igloo
By Peter Greenberg for PeterGreenberg.com