2. Snow biking
Thrill seekers should check out one of the newest skiing alternatives: snow biking. (Think flying downhill on a bicycle fitted with skis.) Durango Mountain Resort in Colorado offers lessons (one short session should have you out and about) and rents the contraptions for $44 a day.
3. Cross-country skiing
You like the snow but hate crashing into trees. Try cross-country skiing, which is simple to learn, lets you set your own pace, and provides a killer workout that isn't murder on your joints. Both Colorado's Vail and Vermont's Killington boast serious cross-country centers, with groomed tracks, rental gear, and skilled instructors, plus easily accessed backcountry trails. With more than 9,000 acres of land to roam, Royal Gorge in the Lake Tahoe area is billed as North America's largest cross-country resort; it's not far from downhill resorts Northstar California, Squaw Valley, and Alpine Meadows.
For blazing your own trail, try snowshoeing: Modern versions of the winter-friendly footwear are lightweight and cheap to rent at ski areas like Maine's Sugarloaf and Idaho's Bogus Basin.