The recent announcement that Mount Ruapehu’s ski season, on New Zealand’s north island, is being extended until November has made a lot of snow bunnies very happy. But what about those forgotten few who don’t live for ‘pow-pow’ and bluebird days carving up the slopes? What is there to do in a place where the allure of snow-white, winter wonderland-esque magic on the slopes does not float your boat? Well… plenty!
Keeping in New Zealand for starters, the ski resort/ adrenaline paradise that is Queenstown offers much more than snow. One of the world’s highest bungy’s, whitewater rafting, jet boating, a gondola and luge with a view to rival any other in the world, ‘Lord of the Rings’ scenery to hike and explore - there is something for everyone!
Then take Mount Ruapehu up north - one of the world’s most spectacular walks, The Tongariro Crossing, on the fringe of a volcano is a stone’s throw away.
Many resorts in the USA are tapping into the lucrative market of people who enjoy ski resorts but not the skiing. Vail offers dog sledding and tubing. Squaw Creek, in Olympic Valley, just minutes from California’s North Lake Tahoe boasts fantastic ice-skating. Nearby Northstar at Lake Tahoe offers winter paddle wheel boat rides and Mt. Washington in New Hampshire offers a beginning ice climbing course where you climb a frozen waterfall.
Canada and Whistler in particular is right up there with their famous Ziptrek attracting many, this is essentially a flying fox that sees you soaring through the Whister outback - over rivers, gorges, trees etc. The resort also boasts a massive tubing track and impressive motorised sleighs for rent on which you can cruise around the mountain.
St Anton in Austria has venues for ice-skating and curling, scenic walking trails and a 4 km illuminated toboggan trail. Then take Alpe d’Huez in France - this is one Europe’s most lively resorts and is worth visiting for the party scene alone!
So in short, there is LOADS to do in ski resorts aside from skiing. If none of the listed activities appeal, just baske in the always stunning setting, kick back watching the action on the slopes with your hot chocolate, indulge in the relaxing hot spas or just curl up with mulled wine by the log fire. Bliss!
Have you ever gone to a ski resort, not to ski?
Have you ever been to a resort with exceptionally good, or bad non-ski activities?