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It's part of a trend to provide visitors to ski resorts and other snowy destinations with a wider variety of choices, said Troy Hawks, managing editor of the National Ski Areas Association Journal.
in the morning before the slopes open to the public is an option at more resorts. Some, like Northstar at Lake Tahoe, require skiers to stay with a guide; others, like Aspen, Colo., include a gourmet breakfast. Steamboat Springs, Colo., has been experimenting with multiple day First Track passes, some of which can be shared among buddies.
"What we're seeing is a larger swath of the family you've got the grandkids all the way to the grandparents and all of them have their idea of how they want to spend their day," he said.
FILE This Dec. 21, 2005 file photo shows Garrett Marsh, 12, airboarding down the slope near Snowmass Village, Colo. Visitors to winter recreation destinations enjoy activities like airboarding, snowkiting and skijoring as alternatives to more traditional snow sports such as skiing or snowboarding. (AP Photo/Paul Conrad, file)After nearly 50 years of living in the Rocky Mountains, I thought I knew how to enjoy the winter. I've gone skiing, skating, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, tobogganing, sleigh riding, dog sledding and more.
Bumper cars on ice: Just what it sounds like, these are turning up at skating rinks from coast to coast. The battery operated "cars" are large rubber tubes with molded seats that Nike Cap Black Dri Fit
Skijoring: From the Norwegian word meaning "ski driving," skijoring is still primarily the stuff of winter carnivals and cowboy competitions. But some places, like the adult only Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, Mont., offer guests the chance to see what it's like to be pulled on Alpine skis behind a horse. Other resorts, like Eden Mountain Lodge in Eden Mills, Vt., and Devil's Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, Colo., work with experienced skiers and their own dogs to learn what it's like to go Adidas Hat White And Gold
Ice castles: These massive ice castles are formed by thousands and thousands of icicles. A series of pathways takes visitors through ice columns, tunnels, caverns and archways. Introduced last year in Silverthorne, New Era Cap Boston Colo., the castles were being built this winter in Steamboat Springs, Colo., and at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.
mushing on Nordic skis.
Some activities are more popular in certain regions, and some aren't well advertised, so for a different spin on a snow destination vacation, here are some things to look for:
Air bags: These massive, inflatable air bags are placed at the bottom of jumps to allow skiers and boarders to try flips and spins. Nail the landing on your feet and you ride off down the hill. Fail, and you have a soft landing.
Snowkiting: Snowkiting or kite boarding is a cousin to ocean kite surfing. For the winter version, experienced, fearless skiers or snowboarders are harnessed to kites and use wind power to propel themselves around. An extreme sport, it requires strength and an understanding of wind patterns. Lessons are recommended.
First tracks: The opportunity for intermediate and advanced skiers to take the first runs Atlanta Hawks Hats
can hold one adult or an adult and small child. Controlled by two joysticks, they are easy to steer or spin as they bump along on wheels with tiny cleats. Most rinks have age, height or weight restrictions.
8 icy thrills you have to experience
But until this winter, I'd never heard of bumper cars on a skating rink. And it wasn't until recently that I had my first chance to carve turns down a ski hill on a snowbike.
Airboards: A high tech spin on winter tubing, these snow body boards are inflatable sleds with molded plastic runners on the bottom and handles on the top. The sleds can reach speeds of 60 mph or more, and users steer by shifting their body weight.
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