Many ski towns offer excellent museums, tours or educational opportunities that make for enriching side trips away from the slopes. Call the local chamber of commerce for ideas and information. Here are some examples:
The Vermont Institute of Natural Science Woodstock, Vt. (Near Killington, Suicide Six): About 40 rescued raptors, up close and personal. 802-457-2779; www.vinsweb.org.
The Kiddie Kilometer Kirkwood, Calif.: An educational nordic trail featuring life-size cutouts of forest animals and signs that match tracks to different critters. 209-258-6000; www.skikirkwood.com.
The New England Ski MuseumFranconia Notch, N.H. (at Cannon Mountain): Small but packed full of vintage gear, machinery, films, photos, etc. 800-639-4181; www.skimuseum.org
The Country Boy Mine Breckenridge, Colo.: A working gold mine open for tours all winter. 970-453-4405; www.countryboymine.com.
Squaw Valley (Calif.) Olympic Museum Displays from the 1960 Olympics, located atop the tram at High Camp. 530-583-6985 or www.squaw.com.