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Snow Play, Without the Skis

If skiing and boarding are too slow for you, try zipping down an ice chute at 70 mph in a bobsled as you tour the 2002 Winter Olympic Games facility (435-658-4206, www.utaholympicpark.com/home.html), which also offers the world's steepest zip line (reaching speeds of up to 55 mph) and luge, freestyle and ski-jumping camps. Bobsled rides are $200 each, zip line rides are $12 and standard tours are $8.

Beaver Creek, Colo. The Vilar Center for the Arts (970-845-TIXS, www.vilarcenter.org) is a 530-seat theater modeled on Littman's Kunstler theater in Munich, Germany, with an ornate design and natural wood and stone touches. The center, which opened in 1998 beneath Beaver Creek's ice rink, hosts music, dance, comedy and plays year-round.


At Maryland's Wisp, snow sports include tubing down the mountain. (Timothy Jacobsen For The Washington Post)

_____Winter Ski Special_____
Backcountry Skiing in Jackson Hole
Stowe, Vt.
Off the Slopes
washingtonpost.com Ski Guide
Interactive Map: Mid-Atlantic Resorts

Big Sky, Mont. Winter fly-fishing has caught on here. Visitors can cast for rainbow, brown and cut-throat trout on the Gallatin River for $250 per half-day for two people (Gallatin Riverguides, 406-995-2290, www.montanaflyfishing.com). Big Sky Resort has added kids club activities (free to guests) that include arts and crafts, movies, rescue dog demonstrations, fireworks and fireside bedtime stories.

Steamboat, Colo. After wriggling out of the Gore-Tex and into comfy evening wear, diners can ride the resort's gondola to dinner. Choose from a bistro with fixed-menu dinners from $59 per person; a Scandinavian-style restaurant with live acoustic music, a five-course dinner and a sleigh ride to and from the gondola, from $79 per person; and a family-style barbecue buffet with live country/western music for $37 per adult. For reservations, 970-871-5150, www.steamboat.com/winter-int.aspx?CategoryId=191.

Steamboat visitors can also enjoy two of the major attractions of a snow sports vacation -- stunning mountain scenery and a relaxing hot soak. Strawberry Park Hot Springs (970-879-0342, www.strawberryhotsprings.com; $10) is a network of outdoor thermal pools geologically heated to 101 to 105 degrees. For a shuttle ride and springs ($30), reserve at 970-879-5820. The resort also features snowshoeing, sleigh rides, hot-air balloon rides, winter fly-fishing and horseback rides. Info: 877-237-2628, www.steamboat.com/winter-int.aspx?CategoryId=30.

Mid-Atlantic

Canaan Valley, W. Va. Practice your triple axel or best Gretzky moves on the Canaan Resort's lighted ice skating rink. Rates: $4.25 for a two-hour session; rentals $2.25-$3. Snowshoeing is also available. Free movies for the kids every Saturday night, popcorn not included.

With a studded-tire mountain bike, you can cycle on snow or ice as if you were riding on pavement; ask the staff at Blackwater Bikes (304-259-5286, www.blackwaterbikes.com; $25 rentals per day) for suggested trails and tips. For something a little saner, Blackwater Falls State Park (304-259-5216, www.blackwaterfalls.com) has miles of cross-country ski trails and a sled hill with rope tow, so you can save your energy for the trip down. The on-site Sled Run & Cross Country Ski Center offers rentals.

Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Pa. Snowmobile tours, day and night, start at $40 per person for a one-hour day ride; night sessions are $80 per driver, and $20 per extra passenger. The resort also has a winter concert series that, judging by the bookings -- America, Eddie Money -- is targeting parents of teenagers (prices vary). Info: 800-452-2223, www.7springs.com.

Snowshoe Mountain Resort, W.Va. In an interesting marriage of adventure and indulgence, Snowshoe is offering what it calls adventure dining. A guided snowmobile ride along 2 1/2 miles of the Cheat Mountain Ridge Trail brings guests to the Sunrise Backcountry Hut for a four-course gourmet dinner ($95 per person). Snowshoe also offers cross-country skiing and snowshoeing -- guided or not -- in neighboring Monongahela National Forest.

For teens and younger children, Snowshoe two years ago opened Split Rock Pools in the resort village, a series of indoor/outdoor pools and hot tubs with water slides and fountains, all connected by a heated sidewalk. On designated nights the pools are limited to ages 13 to 18. Free for resort guests. Info: 877-441-4FUN, www.snowshoemtn.com.


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