For Most of us, a winter vacation means a week or two at a sun or snow-belt resort. However, there's a small but growing number of vacationers for whom winter is the time to get back to nature and the wilderness.
These are the followers of the so-called "quiet sports," be it weekend cross-country ski treks in Northern woods, dog sledding in Alaska or week-long canoe expeditions in mysterious Southern swamps.
In its winter issue, Mariah, a wilderness sports and expedition magazine, contacted 100 outfitters and organizations to see what they had on tap between now and April. Here's a partial listing:
Alpine touring - Skiers of any ability can take part in five-and seven-day ski-touring expeditions to Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park. Contact the Wilderness Institute, P.O. Box 1343, Jackson, Wyo. 83001.
Avalanche seminars - The recognition of avalanche conditions and terrain will be taught in six-person seminars to be held in February and March in Western Mountain regions. Contact Sierra Avalanche Seminars, Box 8, Nordan, Calif. 95724.
Backpacking - Winter treks throughout the United States, including the Grand Canyon, Ariz, Death Valley, Calif., Sea Islands, Ga., and Hawaii. Contact Sierra Club, 530 Bush St., San Francisco, Calif. 94108 (Trips are open to members only).
Canoeing - Two guided canoe trips through Florida's Everglades are held every weekend through April. Contact Tropical Wilderness Outfitters, 15355 Dixie Hgwy., Miami Fla. 33157.
Cruising - Week-long tours to Baja California take participants to painted caves and on whale-watching traps. Contact Baja's Frontier Tour, 4365 New Jersey, San Diego, Calif. 92116.
Dog sledding - An opportunity to see Alaska between now and April via dog teams, snowshoes and cross-country skis. Write Denali Dog Tours and Wilderness Freighters, Box 1, McKinley Park, Alaska 99755.
Heli-skiing - Participants flown into Canada's Cariboo and Monashee mountain ranges for a week of guided skiing and instruction. Contact Cariboo Helicopter Skiing, Box 1824, Banff, Alberta, Canada.
Ice Climbing - Daily lessons in ice or rock climbing at New Hampshire's Cathedral and White Horse cliffs as well two-to-five-day ice climbing seminars. Write International Mountain Equipment, Box 494, North Conway, N.H. 03360.
Nordic cross-country skiing -Day, weekend and one and two-week tours in Vermont's Green Mountains. Contact Hike-Ski Tour Vermont, RFD 1, Chester, Vt. 05143.
Rafting - The fjords of Southern Chile will be explored by inflatible boat in two three-week expeditions in February and March. Contact Oceanic Society Expeditions, 240 Fort Mason, San Francisco, Calif. 94123.
Wilderness schools - Seven-to-75-day wilderness learning experiences in Alaska and many other states; curriculum includes camping, trail technique, environment, mountaineering and fishing. Contact National Outdoor Leadership School, P.O. Box AA, Lander, Wyo. 82520.
Outward Bound schools around the country are also offering a host of winter expeditions - everything from dog-sledding to Mexico Kayak trips. The schools featuring winter trips include: Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, P.O. Box 429, Rockland, Me. 04341; Minnesota Outward Bound School, 1955 E. Wayzata Blvd., Wayzata, Minn. 55391; Colorado Outward Bound School, 945 Pennsylvania St., Denver, Colo. 80203; Southwest Outward Bound School, P.O. Box 2340, Sante Fe, N.M. 87501; NOrth Carolina Outward Bound School, P.O. Box 817, Morganton, N.C. 28655.