Ask Lonely Planet: Where are the best ski destinations for non-skiers?

Every month in Lonely Planet Magazine, our panel of experts try to solve a reader's travel dilemma, like this one:

I'm looking for a good destination for skiing, where there's also plenty for non-skiers to do. Any ideas?
Michael Joseph, Nottingham

1. Innsbruck

Innsbruck in the Austrian Tyrol is a good bet. The city has twice hosted the Winter Olympics, in 1964 and 1976, and ski resorts close by include Seefeld and Igls, so there's no worries about the snow-based opportunities for fun. You can't miss one of Innsbruck's most impressive sights, the Bergisel-Schanze, the ski-jump stadium remodelled in 2002 by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. Once off-piste there's plenty to do, from strolling through the medieval heart of town to visiting the quirky Grassmayr Glockenmuseum, dedicated to the bell-making tradition of the local Grassmayr family. Innsbruck's most famous sight is the Goldenes Dachl, or golden roof, a three-storey balcony built in 1500 for the Tyrolean ruling family. If you've got little ones in tow, the Alpenzoo is an excellent diversion. The Penz Hotel has über-designed rooms. For more information, visit

Tom Hall, UK travel editor

2 Breckenridge

Colorado has some of the USA's best skiing, and historic towns that have lots to do off the slopes. For a lived-in town feel, try Breckenridge, a survivor of the 19th-century gold rush 80 miles west of Denver. The skiers with you can split time on fantastic mountains, with Keystone and the high-up Arapahoe Basin also nearby. For non-skiers there are shops, spas, indie films at the Speakeasy Theatre, art classes, outdoor ice-skating tours and the just-opened Gold Runner roller coaster through forested tracks by the slopes. You can then all enjoy happy hour and meals of elk at the Victorian antique-filled Hearthstone Restaurant. The Fireside Inn b&b is a good budget option with a hot tub and easy access to downtown, or stay through the weekend to take advantage of 'Sunday Sleepover' rates at One Ski Hill Place.

Robert Reid, US travel editor

3. New Zealand

Skiing in New Zealand is a bit different – the Southern Hemisphere season runs June to October for a start. Kiwis also base themselves in towns near the slopes rather than in purpose-built ski resorts. The Remarkables and Coronet Peak ski fields in the South Island are the best in the region and have courses for all levels; Coronet even offers night skiing. Nearby Queenstown has a reputation for adrenaline – try bungee jumping, caving, rafting, sledging, jet boating, zip-lining, skydiving and hang gliding. Arrowtown, a short jaunt away, has a settlement from the gold-rush era of the 1860s and nearby Gibbston Valley Winery produces some fine pinot noir. Back in town, there's a buzzing live-music scene, nightclubs, cafés and restaurants. Chalet Queenstown has great lake-facing rooms if you book early.

Shawn Low, Asia-Pacific travel editor

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