OK, what can you do close by when there is no snow? You can head to the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford and try the ski simulator.
The simulator is located on the sixth floor in the sports lab gallery. Unlike some of the simulators in arcade establishments, this one does not cost anything extra beyond admission. You simply step into the "skis" set the ability level and course and then head downhill.
It takes a while for your eyes to adjust to the screen because you are staring a two-dimensional image while trying to participate in a three-dimensional activity. But the simulator is fast and it feels close to the real thing.
A word of caution: Be careful! The turning mechanism is really loose so increasing the speed can cause the skis to get away from you. (I must admit it is kinda fun crashing into the boundary fence.) Obstacles include trees, lifts and a few walls.
The Science Center is located at 250 Columbus Blvd. in downtown Hartford.
If you’re interested in strapping on a virtual pair of skis over this school vacation the center is open through Dec. 30 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.; Dec. 31 and Jan. 1-2 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
For admission prices, go to the Science Center website.
Note: Chris Dehnel is the Vernon Patch editor and a past president of the Eastern Ski Writers Association. He writes a column called Snow Business, which explores the world of skiing and snowboarding.