So you don't ski, oh? Apathy for schussing and slaloming is still no reason to avoid the winter sports scene. New England resort moguls have reached into their bag of tricks and pulled out a startling variety of ways to turn a blanket of snow into commercial fun.
Tobogganing, sleigh-riding, and ice fishing provide plenty of sport for the non-skier, while dog-sled races and horse racing on ice have been known to lure even slat fiends from the trail.
Winter vacationers are slowly learning something that Maine backwoodsmen have known for generations: that ice fishing can make a person just as happy and almost as cold as speeding down the side of Pico Peak. It's also the only way to stay home and go fishing at the same time.
"Bob House" Does the Trick
Ice fishers can do this by renting a "bob house" and waiting for bites in the relative comfort of a coal stove. Colonies of these shelters are now flourishing on some of the larger lakes, such as Squam in New Hampshire, Champlain in Vermont, and Sebago in Maine.
Still lazier anglers can find an outlet for their sloth in "tip-up" or "tilt" fishing. The fisherman merely sets his rig over an ice-hole and retires to the security of a bazing fire on the shore.
When a fish bites, it seems, the "tip-up" waves a bright red flag in the air. The sportsman then leaps up, snatches his booty, and again retires to his point of vantage. This whole procedure is guaranteed to be simultaneousy thrilling and restful.
Trotting horse races take place Sunday afternoons at Derby and Lanconia, New Hampshire. Keeping the pacers upright on the bare ice demands strong hands and steady nerves from the drivers. At the finish line a blanket, a ribbon, or even a shiny new bag of oats awaits the winning horse.
A two-ton cat is creeping over the New England landscape this winter and obligingly carrying rubbernecks to the heights of mountain ranges. The "Sno-Cat", a cabin cruiser on tractor treads, carries sightseers up the slopes to spectacular panoramas that were once granted only to skiers.
Then there's always the Skimobile at North Conway and the Aerial Tramway at Cannon Mountain, which provide passengers with magnificent views unobtainable at lower levels.
Outdoor cooking is also great fun, say the resort folders. "The memory of a meal prepared and eaten in nature's open acres, where the aroma of the fire mixes with the fragrance of the sheltering firs, is long remembered." Those who have tried it tend to agree, for reasons varying with the skill of the chef.
"Good times and thrills" also are available in sleigh trips, bay rides, and even square dancing. Then again, you could always learn to ski.