Fab Ski Resort Activities for the Non-Skiers in Your Group

Posted by Janice Sakata-Schultze on December 20, 2014

Sometimes my conscience tells me, especially after two ACL surgeries on my left knee that I shouldn’t ski anymore. Common sense suggests I find safe, non-threatening activities.

But just because you don’t ski doesn’t mean you need to miss out on all the fun in the mountains. If you’re like me or just not a huge fan of hitting the slopes, your days of being stuck in the lodge are over!

In the last few years, I’ve found plenty of non-skier activities that actually feed my craving for mountain adventure.

Here’s a small, but delicious sampling of what I’ve found around the Rockies, and Sierras from Breckenridge to Tahoe, for both non-skiers and those in need of a break.

It’s not downhill’s boring cousin

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Nordic skiing, or cross-country skiing is a good workout and not as high on the risk-o-meter as downhill. Some say it’s the best way to experience the amazing mountain scenery. By traveling slower, you really get to see the trail in whole new way. Check out the Vail Nordic Activities desk near the Golden Peak base and the Crested Butte Nordic Center in Colorado, as well as Tahoe XC Center in Tahoe City, California.

Release your inner mountain man (or woman)

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If you love hiking during the warmer months, then try this heart-pumping activity. With snowshoeing you can explore on your own, or find a knowledgeable nature guide to take you on a tour. Some great options here include the Nature Discovery Center at Vail Mountain and Crested Butte Mountain Guides in Colorado.

Need for speed through the snowfields

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Want an unforgettable adrenaline rush? Then look no further than on a self-guided or guided snowmobile tour. You’ll find great options at Action Adventures and Colorado Adventure Rentals, in Crested Butte, as well as Zephyr Cove Snowmobiling Center and Lake Tahoe Adventures in Tahoe.

Gliding on skates and tubes

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Just about every ski resort has some form of an ice skating rink for people to glide around and channel their inner Olympian, even if it’s for a few seconds.  Lace up and go at Crested Butte’s Big Mine Ice Arena, Keystone’s frozen pond rink, and Tahoe’s Skating at Heavenly Village. You can also enjoy the thrill of going downhill the old-fashioned way when you fly on oversized rubber tubes or sleds at the Fraser Tubing Hill in Colorado.

Just hear those sleigh bells ringing

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You might want to sing Christmas carols, even if the holidays have long passed, when you’re on one of these bracing trips. Try out the Husky Express Dog Sled Rides near Tahoe, Lucky Cat Dog Farms in Crested Butte or the Iditarod Sled Dog Tours in Jackson, Wyoming. For sleigh rides, look into Devil’s Thumb Ranch near Winter Park or Fantasy Ranch at Crested Butte.

Get cultured, mountain-style

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The mountains have always been known for classy ski villages with flashy shopping and delicious food. But before that they were rough frontier towns, packed with pioneers and hardy prospectors. You can learn all about Colorado’s colorful history on the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance tour. You can also take the self-guided route through six different museums in town. For something more unusual, learn how beer is crafted through a brew master at the Breckenridge Brewery or nearby Dillon Dam Brewery. Or, stick to the shopping, dining, and other fun activities that make the villages at many ski resorts so great. 

Relaxation near the slopes

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No one says you have to hit the double black diamonds to earn some pampering. Go ahead and bliss out while everyone else gets cold on the mountain. In Colorado, you can soak in the natural Hot Sulphur Springs near Winter Park. Further west, relax at Grover Hot Springs or Wally’s Hot Springs in California. For something more indulgent, treat yourself to a massage.


You can find more adventures and family travel tips by Janice on her blog.