Wachusett Mountain Ski Area in Princeton helps hundreds of local groups in various ways, from small gifts of lift tickets for them to sell to raise money, to providing the venue for major annual fundraising events.

"We're here, we're local, and we can help," said GM David Crowley. The Crowley family, operators of Wachusett and owners of Polar Beverages of Worcester, Mass., America's largest independent bottling company, have a long tradition of community spirit in Central Massachusetts.

Turns out this generosity of mind is widespread in snow country.

Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow, operated by Tim and Diane Mueller who also operate Crested Butte in Colorado and Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire, has a track record of helping.

For example, the resort has a Cares and Shares program that collects food for local food pantries, and runs a day care operation for resort guests that also is open to area residents.

Mount Sunapee has similar events to support local food pantries, as many resorts do with various charitable causes.

Sunday River in Maine runs its Santa Sunday toy drive the first Sunday in December to collect toys for local kids.

B4BC, Boarding for Breast Cancer, raises money for cancer awareness and research programs, with fundraising events across the country, including Beech Mountain in North Carolina, and Cranmore Mountain Resort and Waterville Valley in New Hampshire.

Tremblant in Quebec participates in the Cedars Tour de Lance cancer fundraising bike ride with Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor.

There are many, many others.