The mountains aren't just a place to ski and board - they offer myriad snowy adventures. Here’s where to take the family for the best winter thrills and spills.
Get your skates on
Morzine, near the French-Swiss border is a favourite with holidaying families thanks in part to its world-class skating facilities both indoor or out. The rinks host regular hockey matches, ice shows and the odd disco. While Lake Louise's emerald waters draws sightseers to Canada's Banff National Park in summer, during winter's deep freeze, the lake teems with swirling figure skaters and helmeted hockey fans.
Feel the rush
Be prepared for a serious case of puppy love when you tour the backcountry by dog sled. Alberta's Canmore-based expedition company, Mad Dogs & Englishmen run family tours that include a complimentary cookie and hot chocolate stop. Explore Canada's beautiful Elk Valley Wilderness with Fernie Dog Sledding. Closer to home, Australian Sleddog Tours' gorgeous team of Siberian huskies lead family tours from Mt Hotham's Dinner Plain during the ski season.
Jingle all the way
Are you listening? In car-free Wengen in the Swiss Alps, people move to the sound of sleigh bells. Another popular way to experience the scenery around Lake Louise is by horse-drawn sleigh (tucked under a cosy blanket). Make tracks through the frosty forest with Clydesdales Bud and Doc at Canada's Big White.
Walk on the wild side
Fully impress your clan by choppering in, then showshoeing your way along Alberta's Cline River Valley (between Banff and Jasper) to a frozen waterfall. Learn about Aspen Mountain's silver mining history as you explore one of Colorado's favourite mountains on an ACES snowshoe adventure or discover the legends of Canada's Silver Star mountain while learning how to break trail.
Follow the red tail lights of fellow snowmobilers up the darkening, empty ski trails of Whistler's sister mountain Blackcomb to Crystal Hut to enjoy soup and hot chocolate or a fondue dinner. Children as young as six can ride solo at Canada's Big White and Silver Star resorts. Keep watch for moose, big horn sheep and elk as you explore Wyoming's Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail which meanders through the imposing Grand Teton National Park, within a day trip from Jackson Hole.
If it's a little solitude you seek let the horses from Del's Triangle 3 Ranch near Steamboat Springs guide you through Colorado's peaceful Mt Zirkel wilderness area. The family-owned Rafter Six Ranch, within Kananaskis Country in the Canadian province of Alberta is one of the only western outfitters to offer trail rides here in winter.
Whip it up
Keep frostbite at bay with a thawing cup of hot chocolate, topped with loads of whipped cream and marshmallows at Perisher Blue's mid-station (above the quad chair). Fuel at Snowmass Village in Colorado is another personal favourite (try the white mocha) but you don't necessarily have to even unclip your skis to treat yourself here. Colorado's top ski towns - including Aspen and Beaver Creek - serve cups of steaming cocoa on their slopes.
At the foot of Switzerland's Eiger mountain, Grindelwald is home to the world's longest sledge run extending 15km from the summit of the Faulhorn into the main village. In Victoria's High Country, Falls Creek's Snow Tubing Park is the most fun families can have off skis here. Big White's Mega Snow Coaster Tube Park is North America's largest. Weather permitting you can now experience horse-drawn toboganning at Alberta's Rafter Six Ranch.
One for the jet set
For that ultimate rush of adrenalin try jet boating. Nothing gets the heart beating faster than when you're skimming across the shallows of the Shotover River, speeding through its narrow rocky canyons and eventually spinning to a stop. Remember to smile for the camera! This heart racing diversion can be found on New Zealand's southern alpine ski fields of Coronet Peak and The Remarkables.
Take a dip
After a perfect powder day within Japan's popular ski regions - Nagano, Hokkaido, Niigata and Tohoku - it's become customary to relax in a steaming onsen. In North America, soak up the scenery at Strawberry Park's natural hot springs near Steamboat Springs, Colorado, or Banff in the Canadian Rockies. Europe's largest thermal baths can be found at Leukerbad, Switzerland.
Race for gold
In Cortina, Italy you can bobsled on the Olympic run, with a qualified pilot out front. Set your own personal best at Whistler's Olympic Sliding Centre.
Fly like an eagle
Ride the world's longest, highest ziplines between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains in Canada or high above Queenstown, New Zealand with Ziptrek Ecotours. Whistler's Peak to Peak gondola is another worthwhile experience. It's the highest lift of its kind spanning more than three kilometres.