The selections focus on some of the hottest areas for outdoor winter fun, such as snow skiing, ice fishing and dog sledding and cozy places to hang out.From their list include the following and excerpted from their original write-up is a summary below: #10: Casper, Wyoming: Casper’s hotels, restaurants and most of the city’s entertainment options cost less than those in many other winter playgrounds.The nearby Hogadon Ski Area has three lifts and 24 trails, and just minutes from downtown, Casper Nordic Center has 26 miles of groomed trails, 27 miles of back-country trails and a lighted loop for night skiing. Ice fishing adventures await at a pair of lakes southwest of the city. More than a dozen guide services in Casper provide equipment and tips for reeling in a big catch of walleye, trout and perch. #9: Concord, NH: Six ski areas within 50 miles of Concord offer adventure for all experience levels, including Gunstock Mountain Resort, which has 55 trails and eight lifts, and McIntyre Ski Area, a smaller resort with runs for beginners and children.
Those looking for a bit more power can hop on a snowmobile and cruise through 80 miles of trails in and around the city. Mt. Washington Northern Extremes Snowmobiling, less than two hours away, offers rentals and guided trips along 200 miles of trails. Other outdoor activities include ice fishing, skating, dog sledding and ice climbing.
#8 Bangor, Maine: Most restaurants and pubs offer nightly entertainment, while the Penobscot Theatre Company, Bangor Symphony Orchestra and Robinson Ballet stage seasonal performances. People fill the downtown area for several winter events including a holiday festival and parade. Even in cold weather, the Waterfront area along the Penobscot River is a beautiful place to walk, as is the Broadway Historic District, an area filled with homes built by lumber barons of the 1800s.
#7: Missoula, Montana: Missoula makes a great base for those interested in piecing together a multiday ski trip. Skiers can choose among six ski areas within a two-and-a-half hour drive of downtown, the closest being Montana Snowbowl in the Lolo National Forest about 25 minutes away. Cross-country skiing trails can be found in three national forest areas – on some local golf courses and at the Mount Haggin Nordic Ski Area.
#6: Waukesha, WI: For a unique experience when weather conditions are right, visitors can rent toboggans and race down a pair of wooden, 350-foot runs in Waukesha’s Lowell Park, while snowboarders and sledders often zip down the park’s hillside. Several other parks in and around Waukesha feature hills for sledding, cross-country skiing trails and ice skating rinks. Two nearby ski areas – Alpine Valley and Highlands of Olympia Ski Hill – have a mix of runs, night skiing and challenging terrain parks.
#5: Reno, Nevada: Think Tahoe and plenty of skiing, resorts, pampering and mountain food and pubs. Plus, it’s an easy and quick side trip from the San Francisco Bay Area. Eighteen ski resorts in the Reno and Lake Tahoe area provide the opportunity to swish down the slopes, and most can be reached within an hour’s drive from downtown Reno.
#4: Traverse City, MI: The city gets an average of more than 100 inches of snow annually, and skiers, sledders, snowmobilers and snowshoers put it to good use. Three ski areas provide slopes for all skill levels. Skiers enjoy limited downhill runs and rope tows at Hickory Hills within the city, while Shanty Creek Resorts, about 40 minutes away, has more than 50 runs and a 450-foot vertical drop. Traverse City is surrounded by cross-country ski areas, including the Pere Marquette State Forest, home to the Vasa Pathway, a series of trails that loop through towering pine trees.
#3: Minneapolis, MN: Minneapolis has more theater seats per capita than any U.S. city outside of New York. More than 20 theaters stage shows ranging from children’s plays and sketch comedy to Off Broadway performances and operas. Crowds at some of the city’s top attractions thin out during the winter months, so visitors get more time and elbow room to explore places such as the Minnesota Zoo and the Science Museum of Minnesota.
#2: Spokane, WA: One of the larger ski resorts, 49 Degrees North, has a 1,850-foot vertical drop and five chairlifts. Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park, just 28 miles from downtown, features five double chairlifts, a terrain park and snow tubing area. Ice skaters love downtown Spokane’s Riverfront Park Ice Palace operated by the city’s parks department. The department also co-sponsors with REI guided moonlight snowshoe hikes through the meadows and woods around Mt. Spokane. Many area fishermen head to Cocolalla Lake in Idaho just 66 miles away.
#1: Anchorage, AK: Blanketed with snow from mid October to early April, Anchorage means an opportunity to take in every winter sport you’ve ever wanted to do. Anchorage is an urban oasis in a land of vast wilderness with entertainment and dining options as varied as the landscape. Venues such as the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, Cyrano’s Theatre Company and Chilkoot Charlie’s host a variety of musical and theatrical events. Twenty-two museums and historic sites, such as the Alaska Native Heritage Center, connect visitors to local culture.
Resourced and excerpted from Livability.com. Photo credit: Alaska by Nicole Geils.