1. Tubing

There are sane ways to slide down a mountain. Tubing is one. Multilane tubing hills such as Colorado's Copper Mountain use conveyor belt-like "magic carpet" lifts to haul you and your tube to the top after each slide. With 18 lanes, Massachusetts's Nashoba Valley is the biggest tubing park in New England.

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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.

4. Snowshoeing

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.

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5. Fishing

Prefer to stand still? Catch dinner while your pals are on the slopes. Licensed anglers fly-fish dozens of snow-banked rivers, such as Gore Creek (which runs through Vail Village), Utah's Weber and Provo rivers (near Park City area resorts), or the Frying Pan near Aspen. The water's nippy, but the trout are still biting — and you'll definitely beat the summertime crowds.

6. Snow coaches

If you think wintry mountain scenery looks better from behind a windshield, explore Yellowstone National Park aboard a "snow coach," a comfy heated van equipped with tracks or skis instead of wheels. In Park City ride along in a snow cat to get a firsthand look at what it takes to groom 4,000 acres at The Canyons or at Aspen/Snowmass get a taste of Alaska's famed Iditarod dogsled race via a dogsled tour at Krabloonik Fine Dining and Dogsledding.