As ski season draws to an end, so too does our three-part SKI Magazine series on the best snow vacations for non-skiers. So think twice before you pass on that last invitation—especially if it’s to one of SKI’s top resorts for off-hill activities.
1. Whiteface Mountain, New York
Whiteface and Lake Placid go hand-in-hand, and ever since the Olympic Winter Games were held here in 1980, the area has been host to every kind of winter sport you can imagine. Not only can you ski, you can also skate the outdoor oval, take a bobsled run on the 1980 Winter Games track, and even learn to ski jump year-round.
Photo courtesy of Olympic Regional Development Authority
2. Aspen Mountain, Colorado
Spend your day experiencing snow in a new way—like skiing the 40+ miles of Nordic trails or taking a snowshoe tour guided by staff from the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. Snow ain’t your thing, or you just need a break from the slopes? Treat yourself to a day in the picturesque town at the numerous art galleries, spas, and shops that cozy up to the mountain—and get to them via a horse-drawn carriage.
Photo courtesy of Hal Williams
3. Heavenly, California
Want to experience the mountain, but don’t feel like putting on all that cumbersome gear? Take a scenic gondola ride up to The Deck to enjoy stellar views of Carson Valley, Desolation Wilderness, and Lake Tahoe, all while sipping some hot cocoa or a signature cocktail. Or head to Adventure Peak for sledding, snow-biking, and tubing. Off-mountain activities include ice-skating, matinees, shopping, nearby hot springs, and more.
Photo courtesy of Heavenly Ski Resort/Vail Resorts
4. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
Whistler is known for its big-mountain steeps and stunning scenery, but look beyond those huge rock formations and you’ll find an even bigger range of off-hill activities. Visit the tubing park for family fun, try dogsledding, soar above the resort on a zipline eco-tour, or catch a horse-drawn sleigh for a truly Canadian winter experience.
Photo courtesy of Whistler Blackcomb
5. Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont
Summon your inner child with the video arcade located inside the Village Lodge, or take your kids to the FunZone and play the day away. Cruise down the mountain on an airboard (similar to an inflatable sled), ice-skate at SmuggsCentral, relax in the Mountain Massage Center, or shop around. Experience quintessential Vermont outside the resort by visiting a cider mill or going horseback riding.
Photo courtesy of Smugglers’ Notch Resort
6. Park City, Utah
Park City thrives with options for the non-skiing snow lover. Take a ride on the Alpine Coaster or a tubing lane at Gorgoza Park for a laid-back family activity. Step it up a notch with dogsledding, bobsledding, snowmobiling, or hot-air ballooning. If you’re looking to get away from the snow, retreat to town, where you’ll find lots of shopping and entertainment options.
Photo courtesy of Park City Mountain Resort
7. Tremblant, Quebec
In addition to snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and horseback riding, Tremblant also serves up more unique escapades like ice-climbing a frozen face on Mont Tremblant (with a certified instructor), ten different paintballing courses, and an aerial forest adventure. Also on the menu are truly off-hill options like spas, massages, and Scandinavian baths.
Photo courtesy of Mont Tremblant Ski Resort
8. Vail, Colorado
At Vail, there’s dogsledding, horseback riding, and tubing, but it’s the village shopping that will provide hours of off-hill entertainment. With hundreds of boutiques, ski-gear outfitters, gift shops, and art galleries, you can shop the day away while your friends and family hit the slopes.
Photo courtesy of The Lodge at Vail
9. Breckenridge, Colorado
There are just as many things to do indoors as outdoors at Breckenridge. To enjoy the great outdoors without strapping on your skis, go on a hot-air balloon ride at sunrise, journey to nearby ghost towns on a guided dogsled trip, or take a sleigh ride to an elegantly rustic dinner. For some entertaining downtime inside, mosey around the town in museums, spas, or theatres, or go underground for a mine tour. Unleash your creative skills by taking a cooking class at Beaver Run Resort, or going to a painting class.
Photo courtesy of Breckenridge Central Reservations/Breckenridge Resort Chamber
10. Deer Valley, Utah
All Seasons Adventures’ guided activity services will give you the opportunity to explore the area surrounding Deer Valley Resort via snowshoeing, dogsledding, sleigh rides, and more. Summit Meadows Adventures offers off-site snowmobile tours in nearby Brown’s Canyon. The town of Park City is home to many shops, art galleries, and theaters as well.
Photo courtesy of Deer Valley Resort
Let the ski-free fun begin! And while you’re deciding which of these resorts appeals to you, don’t forget to consult SKI’s top 10 ski resorts for dining and top 10 resorts for après-ski.