Don’t pass up the opportunity of a ski vacation just because you don’t ski or snowboard. There are plenty of affordable activities off the slopes to make a winter vacation well worth the effort. When planning your vacation look for to see if these amenities are offered at your prospective destination.
Not to be confused with a sledding hill, a tubing hill operation is a sight to be seen. A magic carpet (strikingly similar to a conveyer belt) whisks you to the top of the hill where multiple chutes await you to plunge down on, you guessed it, an inner tube. Usually paid for by the hour, tubing hills have become insanely popular for children and adults alike, some requiring advanced reservations. Tubing is a great way to sample the alpine experience without the chairlift or rental skis.
Long believed to hold therapeutic properties, geothermal springs have attracted visitors for centuries. Soak your bones in the mineral rich waters while enjoying the mountain views. While not all ski communities boast natural hot springs, those that do are sure to offer packages and promotions. This is an experience not to be missed, and your skier friends will probably want to come with you. Be forewarned, some of the more rustic hot springs are “clothing optional” after the sun goes down.
Ski towns often have rich histories dating back to the mining booms of the 1800s. Notorious gunslingers and lawmen alike have footprints tracing down the main streets of these sleepy ski towns. There are excellent historical museums; many of which offer guided walks, guest lecture series and even ghost tours to satisfy curiosities.
Forget ski school, there are plenty of snow-free classes to be had. Check with local shops for the scoop on classes to learn to knit, quilt, scrapbook, and so on. Arts and Crafts not your thing? Try expanding your palate with a culinary class, attempt glass blowing or perhaps blacksmithing. Every ski town has a variety of businesses offering classes to locals and visitors alike.
Whether just browsing or on a mission to find the ultimate Norwegian sweater, shopping is by no surprise a non-skier’s staple activity. Resort shops will generally cater to the touristy fare while shops in the surrounding ski towns offer more variety. From fine art galleries to funky boutique shops, you are sure to find something of interest.
The adventures abound on a ski vacation, with or without the lift pass. Check the individual ski town websites for business directories and event calendars to get an idea of the happenings. When in doubt call their information center or the lodging reservations line, you’ll be able to talk with a local and get the scoop on what activities interest you.