Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are aerobic activities and alternatives to learning a new outdoor winter sport. Some Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month venues, like those in New Hampshire, include cross country skiing and snowshoeing as part of their offers during January. The Cross Country Ski Areas Association provides a lot of useful information on getting started.
Also, check out xcskiresorts.com for up-to-date information about cross country ski areas.
Cross country skis are very different from alpine skis as are the·movements for the sport. Nordic venues offer prepared tracks for two different styles - kick and glide and skating.
Snowhoeing is not a sliding sport. Snowshoes have metal "teeth" on the bottom that rotate as you walk. In fact, the shoes are designed to help you walk on snow without sinking down. Many Nordic centers offer both cross country skiing and snowshoeing.