The kids and your significant other want to head to the slopes but you’re not thinking you’ll have much fun in the snow.
Maybe like me, you can’t this year. (I’m rehabbing from knee surgery.) Maybe you just don’t like snow sports. It’s not necessary to sacrifice your vacation to please your family.
No, I’m not suggesting you and the other non-skiers and riders go elsewhere, though that is always an option. The good news is these days, and especially this spring, you will find as much to do off the slopes as on at the same time scoring a good deal on lodging and lift tickets for everyone else.
There’s so much to do that the snow sports lovers in your family may clamor for a day off the slopes to join you dog sledding, fat biking, taking a cooking or yoga class, challenging themselves in an Escape Room or touring local museums. Of course, there are also plenty of spas, shops and restaurants to suit every palate.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with nonstop flights from 13 cities, is celebrating spring with free live music, lodging deals and plenty of off-the-slope fun, including guided snowmobile or snow coach tours to Yellowstone National Park. There are also eco snowshoe tours. Take a sleigh ride at the National Elk Refuge or ride the legendary Jackson Hole Aerial Tram: in 12 minutes, you’ll ascend 4,139 feet as you enjoy 360-degree views of the Tetons and Jackson Hole valley. At the top, grab a waffle at Corbet’s.
How about including a hot springs soak in the itinerary? At Astoria Hot Springs Park on the banks of the Snake River you can soak in the shadow of the Tetons surrounded by a 95-acre park; Those heading to Steamboat, Colorado, inevitably plan a trip to the Strawberry Park Hot Springs about 6.5 miles outside of town or closer to town, Old Town Hot Springs complete with two water slides and a climbing wall.
Glenwood Springs, Colorado, 45 minutes from Aspen, is famous for its hot springs, including the world’s largest hot springs swimming pool and Iron Mountain Hot Springs with pools overlooking the Colorado River.
Stowe, Vermont, is the quintessential New England ski town and the birthplace of alpine skiing. Stowe’s extensive trail system is a great destination for other winter activities, including snowshoeing, dog sledding, fat biking and sleigh rides. Stop at the Vermont Ski & Snowboard Museum to learn the history of skiing and riding in the Green Mountain State.
Breckenridge, Colorado, is one of my favorite ski resort towns where you can fat tire snow bike, winter fly fish, take a ghost tour or visit the kid-friendly Breckenridge Distillery for an artisanal cocktail or mocktail. Mush your own team of Siberian Huskies through the Rocky Mountains! Solve a mystery at one of Breckenridge’s escape rooms, Mountain Time Escape Room and Escape Room Breckenridge. Take a BreckCreate arts class or take a cooking or photography class at Colorado Mountain College. See the Vipers, Breckenridge’s (MWHL) minor league hockey team play at the Ice Rink.
You’ll find all sorts of spas from luxurious hotel spas to day spas at most every ski town these days. If you aren’t skiing or riding, treat yourself at a spa like The Four Seasons Vail, the Equinox Resort in Vermont (the Spirit of Vermont combines massage, Reiki energy work, and reflexology) while The Snake River Lodge & Spa just off the Jackson Hole slopes has a five-floor spa complex. (How about an exfoliating treatment with local volcanic salt?) There typically are yoga and fitness classes (opt for a private yoga session at Topnotch Resort in Stowe).
Near Waterville Valley, New Hamphsire, visit Ice Castles in nearby North Woodstock with ice slides, ice caverns and crawl tunnels.
The alpenglow is an optical phenomenon that illuminates the mountains at sunset with a peach and purple hue. See it in Kalispell, Wyoming, at Lone Pine State Park. Winter kayak at Flathead Lake.
Museum hop in Santa Fe while the rest of the family skis. Take your pick of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, the Museum of International Folk Art or the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts. There are 250 art galleries too.
Ride horses in the snow – or watch them from your porch hot tub at Vista Verde Ranch outside of Steamboat, Colorado, where a variety of winter sports is on tap away from the crowds at a big ski resort. (Ready to make snow graffiti?)
But if that’s what your kids crave, the ranch will shuttle back and forth while you relax honing your Nordic skiing skills, on a guided snowshoe walk or just cozying up to the fire while someone else cooks and cleans for you.
Stay on the outskirts of Yellowstone Park at Lone Mountain Ranch, in Montana which dates back to 1915. Go dog sledding on the forest’s snow-blanketed floor.
Park City, Utah, with Deer Valley Resort and the Park City Mountain Resort, boasts Main Street lined with buildings built during the 19th-century silver boom and Utah Olympic Park (Utah hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics) with its museum, luge and bobsled runs. There are fabulous spas. (I’m partial to the one at the Montage at Deer Valley) art galleries, upscale eateries (High West Distillery is right downtown) and shops. We took the chance to snowshoe in the back country with a guide.
Now, are you ready for some fun in the snow?