How about this for a holiday gift: a new 5,500-acre backyard. Set on a densely wooded spread in the Poconos, two hours from New York City and Philadelphia, Skytop Lodge offers city folk room to roam. Turn the kids loose on a toboggan run that’s been issuing thrills since 1928, then glide on 30 miles of Nordic trails. At chow time, stay booted and cloaked while grabbing a burger at the outdoor grill (doubles from $395, including meals and rentals; skytop.com).
Located at the base of Mount Snow (doubles from $155) and nearby Killington ($135; pawhouseinn.com), the Paw House Inns specialize in all things Fido. If your canine is a strong breed, fit him with a harness for some skijoring. More likely you’ll opt to bring him with you on hundreds of miles of dog-friendly trails. If you need a few dog-free hours, leave him at the day care center: Staff will walk, run, and pet him per owner orders. Each room comes with a handcrafted, padded doggy bed. Dogless humans are welcome too—for a $10 surcharge.
By December, the only way to reach Don and Angel Hibbs’s camp on Nahmakanta Lake, near Mount Katahdin, is to snowmobile, ski, or mush. Our suggestion: Mush. A trip with Don, a Yukon Quest racer, is like a spin around the track with Tony Stewart and his supercharged Chevrolet. After sled training in Millinocket, you’ll take the reins and cover 25 miles to camp the first day, followed by 25-to-30-mile days. The Hibbses take only two people out at a time for the three-night experience, starting right after the first of the year and running through March ($1,175 per person; mainedogsledding.com).
[SAVE THE DATE: Dec. 12-16] Rollerblading’s chief obstacles are nonissues during Zephyr Adventures’ Florida skating trip ($1,500; zephyradventures.com). The five-day tour on scenic (and crack-free) paths around sunny (and flat) Tampa emphasizes instruction in stance, stride, turns, and—most important—braking. Nonskating friends can ride the same paths on two wheels.