1. Cross-Country Ski Snow Mountain Ranch,
THE DEAL: Kick and glide for a week along 60 miles of groomed nordic trails near Fraser, Colorado. Après-ski, ease your tired muscles in the indoor pool before reclining next to your fireplace in a cozy two-bedroom cabin with a fully equipped kitchen. Around you stretch 5,200 wooded acres, plunked near the ridiculously scenic 14,000-foot peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park. Need a fix of vertical? Winter Park and Berthoud Pass are 30 minutes south. Price above includes your cabin for a week (based on four-person occupancy), snowshoe or ski rentals, and sample round-trip airfare from Los Angeles to Denver (about $260). Other Colorado resorts, like those in Telluride, charge upwards of $200 a night for a double room and have fewer cross-country trails.
THE FINE PRINT: The basic yet comfy cabins are owned by the YMCAdon't expect mints on your pillowsand it can be hard to get reservations during the holidays. You'll need to rent a car ($175 per week) or hop a shuttle ($92 per person, round-trip) to get from Denver International Airport to the ranch.
CONTACT: YMCA of the Rockies, 970-887-2152, www.ymcarockies.org PRICE: $603
2. Mountain-Bike Sedona,
THE DEAL: When chilly, wet weather is shutting down mountain-bike season around much of the country, the riding's just getting good in Sedona. November and December days are dry and sunny, with temps hovering around 60near-perfect conditions to enjoy the region's more than 200 miles of singletrack. Check in with the friendly folks at Bike & Bean bike shop for trail maps and, if you like, a guide. Spend your afternoons threading the soaring red-sandstone towers, and nights relaxing at one of Don Hoel's Cabins: luxuriously rustic, private huts in Oak Creek Canyon, just a short drive from the trails. Price above includes sample round-trip airfare from Washington, D.C., to Phoenix ($225); car and bike rental; and three nights' lodging. Guided cycling trips in the Southwest this time of year can run as high as $795, not including airfare.
THE FINE PRINT: You pay for food. (Most of Hoel's cabins have kitchens, so eating in is an option.)
CONTACT: Bike & Bean, 928-284-0210, www.bike-bean.com; Don Hoel's Cabins, 800-292-4635, www.hoels.com
3. Ski Innsbruck,
THE DEAL: More than 60 chairlifts serve Innsbruck, meaning you're never more than a short walk from the slopes. Spend eight days at the three-star, family-run Hotel Tautermann Garni, tucked in a quiet residential neighborhood just ten minutes by foot from the Hungerburg Lift. By day, rip tens of thousands of acres of fluffy Tyrolean schnee. By night, kick back at a classical concert at the Treibhaus or sip a schneevogel cocktaila frosty apple-flavored cognac drinkat the November Bar. Package price includes round-trip travel from New York to Innsbruck, seven nights' accommodation, breakfasts, and six days of lift passes good at any of the five nearby ski areas. A DIY package would run you at least 65 percent more.
THE FINE PRINT: Travel dates are fixed: January 10-18, 2004. Meals not included.
CONTACT: Ski Europe, 800-333-5533, www.ski-europe.com