If you can't get to Chile during the warm season, head there during South America's winter to ski at Portillo in the Chilean Andes, about two hours from Santiago.
Polar bear watching, Churchill, Hudson Bay, Manitoba
Who doesn't love polar bears? Truth is, global warming means within the next few decades the world's polar bear population is expected to rapidly plummet. With an environmentally mindful operator, you can see polar bears live in Churchill, on the Hudson Bay in Manitoba Province, Canada.
"I think people are very aware of the fact that it is a shrinking population," and this is driving increasing numbers of tourists to pay visits to the region, said Katherine Foxcraft, the product manager for Fresh Tracks Canada, a travel company that works with Churchill's polar bear specialists.
The best polar bear viewing is generally in October and November, as Hudson Bay begins to freeze and bears take to the ice for hunting. Some outfitters have vehicles with protected viewing platforms to allow photographers to safely take close shots of bears who might even try to climb aboard.
Other companies have remote lodges in the middle of bear territory. "The bears come all the way up to the fence," of the lodges, said Foxcraft.
Bears can be as curious about visitors as visitors are about them and do wander into Churchill itself, a potential danger. An interesting quirk of the town is that most cars are unlocked, allowing an easy escape from approaching polar bears. They might look cute, but they're still bears.
Winter festivities in Quebec
The Great White North becomes a French-kissed winter wonderland in Quebec Province, Canada. Carnaval de Quebec is one of the oldest of the world's winter festivals, with its 2013 edition, the 59th, running from February 1 to 17. There's everything from dance events to ice sculpture contests.
If that's not enough winter for you, head to Montreal's winter festival, expected to attract more than 900,000 people this year. Called Montreal en Lumiere, or Montreal in Lights, it will run this year from February 21 to March 3. Activities range from cuisine to music and other forms of entertainment.
Montreal is also paying homage to a nearby U.S. cultural capital this year with a "New York on Ice" Snow Village. Stay overnight in all that icy goodness in the village's 25-room ice hotel, which has meeting rooms for events and boasts the 100-seat Pommery Ice Restaurant.
Alaskan ice fishing
The thrill of Alaska's wild frontier combined with the pleasure of fishing is what Fishtale River Guides offers outdoor enthusiasts,
The outfitter, run by Andy Couch, takes visitors fishing throughout the year. Most of their ice fishing takes place in Mat-Su Valley about 40 miles north of Anchorage.
"Our ice fishing season is only constrained by ice conditions. We can usually safely fish starting in late November around Thanksgiving Day," Couch said.
This year ice fishing trips started much earlier in November, but a very warm season may mean waiting to ice fish until late in December, he said. The season usually lasts into late March or early April.
The thrill of fishing here has both to do with the size and quantity of the catch.
"The largest landlocked salmon we caught on an ice fishing trip was likely about 16 inches. In the summertime, the largest king salmon taken by my guests have weighed in at 56 pounds."
Most of the tour participants are locals from Anchorage, making it a great way to get to know Alaska. Beyond fishing, there is nearby skiing, dog sledding and snowmobile tours, as well as airplane flights to see the wilderness.
If you really want ice, there's no place like Antarctica, the frozen continent. It's perhaps the most otherworldly experience a traveler can have while still on Earth.
Oceanwide Expeditions, a Dutch company with an office in Houston, has trips that pass from Ushuaia in Argentina's most southern Patagonia.
Their Atlantic Odyssey cruise is the ultimate in ice vacations, lasting nearly 40 days, with visits to the Antarctic peninsula, the South Shetland Islands, South Georgia and the South Orkney Islands.
The trip also includes visits to slightly warmer and equally exotic islands such as Tristan da Cunha, St. Helena, Ascension Island and Cape Verde.
Antarctica is rich in wildlife, from whales to sea lions to Emperor penguins and many other species of birds. Zodiac boats allow for passengers to get close to the animals, with expert guides explaining the wildlife.