Every year, thousands of ski lovers frequent popular ski mountains and areas particularly, during the holidays and school breaks, for winter indoor and outdoor recreational activities. While skiing is the most popular activity at the best family ski resorts, there are various alternative activities that you can equally enjoy while at the ski resorts.
It is a mistake to think that the only thing to do at a ski resort is Alpine, or downhill, skiing. If you truly want to experience a winter wonderland, plan to take part in the many thins that a good ski resort area offers for the entire family. Below are some of the activities that you could consider during your ski vacation.
Snowshoeing is one of the most straightforward and easy activities at ski resorts. What started as a mode of transport long, long ago has slowly evolved to a popular winter sport due to its versatility and ease of learning. People of all ages can be able to enjoy snowshoeing as the activity extends beyond the normal hiking activity. When you are out snowshoeing, you require some common sporting gear such as footwear, heavy clothing, base layers, and a pair of poles — in many ways, the same gear that you likely packed for your skiing. Snowshoeing offers a great workout experience for people prefer aerobic exercise that goes a long way to assist you stay in shape throughout the winter period. There are no limitations as to how many trails you can snowshoe and everything depends with whether you want to go hard or easy on the entire activity.
Cross Country Skiing
Cross country skiing – or Nordic – is a type of outdoor activity where skiers use their own propulsion to move across the snow-blanketed terrain as opposed to using ski lifts and other forms of ski transport up the mountains and gravity to get back down the mountain.
Cross country skiing is one of the best cardio workouts you can get, especially in winter climates. However, this activity is still considered as a form of transport in some parts of the world. Today, cross-country skiing is similar to the traditional cross-country skiing that the sport evolved from, with more advanced gear, and the benefit of groomed trails. Ski resorts often offer Nordic skiing as one of the activities, complete with groomed trails, or in many cases a near resorts that specialize in cross country. Cross country skiing is a common sport in snow covered landscapes such as some parts of North America, Canada, Russia and some parts of Europe.
Snowmobiling is a popular winter sport common in winter recreation areas. Snowmobiles do not require a road or trail since they can simply create their own path, but most people who are environmentally-conscious prefer to follow groomed trails in order to avoid disturbing natural areas. Staying on the trails also assures you the best chances of staying safe — although anytime you are riding a powerful machine in the mountain area, there is some assumed risk.
In face, with most ski resorts offering snowmobiling activities, one of the greatest concerns among key stakeholders is safety. Wear your helmet, keep your speed down, and stay on the trail! Traditionally, snowmobiles could accommodate one or two people. However, most of the snowmobiles manufactured over the last 5 years are designated for a single person. The last decade has seen a significant rise of snowmobiling as a recreational activity. Other forms of recreational snowmobiling include; freestyle, trail-riding, ditch-banging, grass drags, snow-cross, trail riding, and mountain climbing. Snowmobiling is not a safe sport for young children and should not be allowed without parental supervision.
There are various global snowmobiling races in different parts of the world such the World Championship Hill Climb which is also held annually at Jackson Wyoming at the Snow King Resort.
Ice fishing is the activity of fishing (or sometimes a spear) through a small hole in the ice. When a lake freezes, it is usually only top 6-24 inches that is covered with hard ice. Underneath is water, complete with fish living just as they would in the summer. Ice fishermen can either choose to fish in the open or inside heated enclosed spaces with various amenities. Many ski resorts are near lakes that are conducive to ice fishing, and can point you in the right direction for gear or even a guide.
Ice fishing has evolved drastically over the years. Gone are the days when you would have to drill a hole with a hand auger, and wait hoping that a fish will swim close to the bait. Modern day ice-fishermen carry light gear, battery powered solar units, and fast powered augers enabling an angler to drill hundreds of holes on the ice in a single day (if they desired — usually 5-10 is plenty). Electronics can help you determine if there a fish near your hole or if you should move. There are also various maps and surveys offered by ski resorts pointing out the places where there are lakes and make more sense than random ice fishing. There are various ice-fishing contests today such as the huge annual events held on Gull Lake, Minnesota. Lake Simcoe in Canada is also a popular location for ice fishing and is considered as the ice fishing capital.
Taking a Gondola Ride
The gondolas that take skiers up the mountain are also a great way to simply take in the mountain views. Taking a gondola ride is a popular activity among children and non-skiers while at ski resorts. An important thing to remember is that you do not have to be a skier or snowboarder to take the gondola ride. You can simply enjoy the enclosed trip to and from the mountain peaks. Children, particularly those under 10 or so, often do not get to explore the upper reaches of the mountain, so a gondola ride can be a great way to see more territory. However, there is no point of bringing children along if they cannot enjoy some of the activities on offer. Taking a gondola ride will no doubt bring back a smile on your child’s face.
There are several other activities that you can enjoy during a ski vacation. Despite the fact that not every ski resort offers every single activity, the lucky few can still have a chance of the lifetime engaging in activities such as dog sledding, sleigh rides and wildlife viewing. Dog sledding and sleigh rides are only offered in selected ski resorts. However, an activity such as wildlife viewing is common in almost every ski resorts.
Whatever activity you choose to engage in, ensure that you make the best out of your ski vacation and if possible, consider every recreational activity that the ski resorts have to offer.
Paul Miller is the Founder of Family Skier. He is an advanced skier and has extensive experience with family travel and ski schools. An accomplished skier, he has skied in 15 states and provinces and 6 countries. In addition to FamilySkier, his writing can be found on many ski-related websites, and as curriculum for many ski clubs in North America.