12 Winter Activities for Non-Skiers

Escape the lift lines and embrace the winter wonderlands of North America with these 12 enchanting activities tailored for non-skiers. From serene snowshoeing excursions in Lake Tahoe to heart-pounding snowmobiling adventures in Alaska, our list (presented in no particular order) ensures that winter enthusiasts who prefer not to ski can still revel in the magic of the season.

#1. Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is a serene and invigorating winter activity, allowing non-skiers to easily traverse snowy landscapes. North America boasts a plethora of destinations perfect for this cold-weather pursuit. In the Lake Tahoe region, snowshoers can explore a vast network of trails in Tahoe National Forest or venture to Mount Rose for breathtaking lake views. Further north, Banff National Park in Canada offers pristine snowshoeing opportunities amidst towering mountain peaks and frozen lakes. For a more secluded experience, the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York feature an array of trails catering to all skill levels.

A man goes snowshoeing at sunrise
Snowshoeing allows you to experience the majesty of winter at your own pace.

#2. Winter Hiking

Winter hiking trails offer non-skiers a wonderful opportunity to immerse themselves in the snowy landscapes of North America. One remarkable destination is Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and Montana, where dedicated winter trails lead adventurers through the geothermal wonders of the park, surrounded by pristine snow-covered wilderness. The White Mountains in New Hampshire have challenging peaks and gentle trails suitable for all levels. Those seeking a coastal winter experience can explore the Pacific Northwest, where places like Mount Rainier National Park offer enchanting winter hiking amid ancient forests and snow-draped peaks. Additionally, the Canadian Rockies in places like Jasper National Park provide a spectacular backdrop for non-skiers looking to embrace the tranquility and beauty of winter through hiking.

#3. Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling is an exhilarating alternative for non-skiers at various North American destinations. The vast snowy expanses of Yellowstone National Park offer snowmobilers a unique way to witness the park’s geothermal wonders. Up north, in the vast terrains of Alaska, snowmobiling adventures provide access to remote areas, showcasing the state’s stunning winter scenery. For a different experience, the trails of the Upper Peninsula in Michigan offer thrilling snowmobiling experiences with scenic views of frozen lakes and dense forests. Trails in the Adirondack Mountains of New York provide a mix of groomed paths and backcountry adventures.

#4. Ice Skating

Ice skating is a traditional winter activity that beckons non-skiers to embrace the frozen beauty of North America. Many ski resorts, like Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada, offer enchanting outdoor ice skating experiences surrounded by snow-capped peaks. In the heart of New York’s Adirondack Mountains, Mirror Lake, frozen and glistening, transforms into a natural ice skating rink, providing a picturesque setting for skaters of all levels. Further south, in Colorado, Keystone Resort boasts a serene outdoor ice rink with breathtaking mountain backdrops. Whether it’s the iconic Rockefeller Center in New York City or charming Lake Placid in upstate New York, ice skating invites non-skiers to glide gracefully over frozen surfaces in some of North America’s most captivating winter settings.

#5. Spa Day

Indulging in a spa day is a luxurious and rejuvenating escape for non-skiers. The tranquil mountain settings provide the perfect backdrop for relaxation and pampering. In Aspen, Colorado, world-class spas offer a range of treatments, from soothing massages to invigorating hot tubs. Further north, the Fairmont Banff Springs in Alberta, Canada, provides an opulent spa experience surrounded by the breathtaking landscapes of Banff National Park. For those seeking coastal serenity, the Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont combines spa indulgence with views of the Green Mountains.

A couple enjoys a spa day
Why fight lift lines and the cold when you could be experiencing the ultimate in relaxation?

#6. Sleigh Ride

Sleigh rides offer a charming and nostalgic experience for non-skiers. One of the quintessential locations for this activity is Lake Placid in upstate New York, where visitors can embark on a magical sleigh ride through snow-covered landscapes surrounded by the Adirondack Mountains. In Breckenridge, Colorado, sleigh rides provide a romantic or family-friendly adventure with stunning views of the Rockies. Also, Jackson Hole in Wyoming is renowned for its horse-drawn sleigh rides that traverse the National Elk Refuge, allowing guests to view herds of majestic elk.

#7. Snow Tubing

Snow tubing is a thrilling and family-friendly activity that offers non-skiers an exciting alternative to skiing and snowboarding. In Park City, Utah, the Woodward tubing hill (formerly Gorgoza Park) provides an exhilarating experience with groomed lanes and a conveyor lift, ensuring an easy and enjoyable adventure. Further east, the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania offer numerous tubing parks, such as Camelback Mountain Resort, where visitors can slide down snowy slopes in inflatable tubes for a fun-filled winter day. Additionally, Colorado’s Winter Park Resort boasts the Coca-Cola Tubing Hill, featuring multiple lanes and nighttime tubing options for extra excitement.

A woman enjoys snow tubing
Snow tubing is fun for all ages. Many ski resorts have dedicated space for snow tubing lanes that are serviced by a lift.

#8. Ziplining

Winter ziplining is a heart-pounding activity that allows non-skiers to soar through snow-covered landscapes. The Adventure Park at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont offers an exhilarating ziplining experience with panoramic views of Mount Mansfield. Further west, in Whistler, Canada, the Superfly Ziplines take participants on a high-flying adventure above the snowy forests of British Columbia. Lake Tahoe is home to Heavenly Mountain Resort, where winter ziplining provides an adrenaline-pumping experience against the backdrop of the stunning Sierra Nevada mountains.

#9. Photography

During winter, photography tours present a captivating opportunity for non-skiers to capture the breathtaking beauty of the mountains. Yellowstone National Park offers a one-of-a-kind winter photography experience with its geothermal features, frozen waterfalls, and wildlife. In Alaska, Denali National Park presents stunning vistas of snow-capped mountains and vast wilderness, providing a photographer’s dream.

#10. Local Food Scene

Culinary experiences invite non-skiers savor diverse flavors in charming winter settings. In Colorado, Aspen is widely known for both its world-class skiing and culinary scene, flush with gourmet restaurants and cozy cafes. In Whistler, Canada, après-ski dining takes center stage with restaurants offering international cuisines and locally inspired dishes. Vermont’s charming village of Stowe boasts a mix of traditional New England fare and innovative culinary creations.

Non-skiers enjoy the fine dining scene
Upscale ski resorts like Aspen offer some of the best fine dining experiences in North America.

#11. Snowga (Snow Yoga)

Snow yoga and fitness classes provide a unique and refreshing experience for non-skiers in North America’s winter wonderlands. At Lake Tahoe, resorts like Palisades Tahoe (formerly called Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows) offer snowga, or snow yoga. Breckenridge, Colorado, is another destination where fitness enthusiasts can join snow fitness classes, combining exercise with the crisp mountain air.

#12. Arts and Crafts

Craft workshops and art classes offer non-skiers a creative and fulfilling way to spend time. Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico hosts various workshops, allowing participants to explore their artistic side. In the Catskills of New York, art studios and craft workshops provide a space for hands-on creativity, offering everything from pottery to painting. Additionally, the vibrant arts community of Asheville, North Carolina, allow individuals to express themselves through various artistic mediums. Asheville is about 60 miles from skiing at Cataloochee.