There's finally new snow in California, and the Polar Vortex continues to sweep the rest of the nation (skiing in Ft. Lauderdale anyone?). Some days are simply too gnar to shred the slopes, so Curbed Ski has compiled some alternate activities to help you pass the time. From hot springs to hot toddies, this list will keep you entertained while the flakes pile up.
Hot springs: Sure, there are plenty of public pools filled with steaming thermal water, but…ew. If you want to get natural, or au naturel, head to an easily-hikeable hot springs, like Black Rock or Stagecoach (Manby), both north of Taos. In Carbondale, Penny Hot Springs is just off Highway 133, smack in the Crystal River.
Spa or Rec Center Day Pass: Whether you're looking to work up a sweat on the treadmill or in the sauna, plenty of luxury hotels and ski town rec centers offer reasonable day rates. Consider a treatment at the cushy, über-friendly Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge or purchase one of the newly-available public passes at the Stowe Mountain Lodge (one of our 38 Essential Hotels).
Hot toddies (or cold brews): Drinking is a given in bad weather. But give it some consideration. Do you prefer to warm a barstool at a local dive or would you like a distillery or maybe a ski town brewery tasting and tour? Tasting rooms that get bonus points for fun/sleek atmosphere include Crested Butte's Montanya Distillers and Basalt's Woody Creek Distillers. Looking for a cozy restaurant bar with a view? Curbed Ski loves The Cottonwood in Truckee.
Visit a museum: It's hard to motivate for a museum visit on a bluebird day. Here's your chance to learn more about the history of snow sports or find out where all the former brothels are located. Check out Vail's Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum or the funky little Telluride Historical Museum.
Hitch a ride: In nasty weather, let someone else do the work- draft horses, for example. They're better-equipped to withstand a white-out, and you get to snuggle under wool blankets. Bonus: many sleigh rides are incorporated into lunch or dinner excursions to ski town restaurants like Ashcroft's Pine Creek Cookhouse and Sun Valley's Trail Creek Cabin. Just looking for a private or group tour? Try Mt. Hood Adventure.
Dog Sledding: You'll want to do your research to ensure animal welfare standards are met; with a great outfitter, mushing is an exhilarating way to spend part of a day. Hit the trail with nine-time Iditarod veteran "Alaskan Dario" at Alyeska.
Read a book: You know, those things made out of paper, with pages? Many ski towns still have indie bookshops, some with built-in or adjacent coffee bars. Curl up on a comfy armchair with a latte at Crested Butte's Townie Books or Telluride's Between the Covers.
-By Laurel Miller