Here's a guilt-free way to indulge yourself with food while exercising. XC skiing and snowshoeing are some of the best forms of aerobic exercise.
But if you go on a "Gourmet Ski Tour" on your XC skis or snowshoes, you may very well eat your way to fitness at a number of trailside food stops. What a grand time so go ahead, eat, ski, and be merry - appetizers, wine, champagne, fondue, entrees, desserts, and more.
Here's a cross section of the culinary XC ski and snowshoe events that are planned this winter across the country with a varied menu of fun and fine cuisine.
Smugglers Notch in Vt. has Sweets and Snowshoes every Wednesday night 7-9 p.m. for adults only. Hot cocoa, coffee, and three desserts await snowshoers after a 30-minute trek to a pavilion and campfire. A warming meal of hot soup, bread and beverage at a trailside cabin is a destination for the Soup and Snowshoes guided trek mid-day Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and on Tuesday nights there’s a Snowshoe Adventure Dinner at the mountain summit.
Eastman Cross Country's Nordic Nibbles in Grantham, N.H. Jan. 19 has a Scandinavian theme with a visit to a fire pit at each stop for cheese from a local smokehouse, Lindt chocolate, gingerbread cake and pastries, local dairy milk for hot coco, soup, and the main meal from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
The Sweetheart's Chocolate Tour at Bretton Woods Nordic Center in N.H. is Feb. 15 with a self-guided tour to stops for sweets from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Enjoy the Sweetheart's Ski or Snowshoe Tour by candlelight at 7-8 p.m. that evening.
The Chocolate Festival at Mt. Washington Valley Ski & Snowshoe Center in Intervale, N.H. Feb. 23 is an inn-to-inn affair at 10-12 stops to experience your chocolate fantasies including moose and fondue. A shuttle is also available for those that have overindulged on this event dubbed the “Sweetest Day on the Trails.”
The Upper Peninsula of Mich. in Ironwood features cuisine from local restaurants that can be purchased at a nominal fee along a designated route along the trails at the Taste of the Trails on the ABR trails March 1 from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m.
Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, Colo. hosts the Grand Huts.org Progressive Dinner Feb. 15 with a multi-course meal at outposts along the trail in a fundraiser for the huts.
Just Desserts Eat & Ski in the Enchanted Forest XC Ski Area in Red River, N.M. Feb. 22 features goodies from 20 different local restaurants at three trailside stations with up to 100 desserts within a 4 km loop. Their motto is, “It’s not a race, just a gorge fest.”
Crested Butte Nordic Center in Colo. has a yurt reached by a 2 km XC ski or snowshoe tour where 10 dinners are offered during the winter including the Full Moon Dinners @ the Yurt and the Valentine’s Day Dinner.
Look to the Galena Lodge in Ketchum, Idaho for the Full Moon Dinners on nights associated with the full moon, whereby you can go ski or snowshoe (half price rental gear offered) and then return to lodge for a four-course dinner at $40 or half price for kids under 12. There are also special Wine Dinners, Holiday Dinners, and a Valentine’s Day Dinner.
Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Mont. has the Glide & Gorge event March 9 from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. with trail luncheon stationed with appetizers, soups, entrees, desserts from the Ranch's four-star kitchen, local brew, wine, music and shuttles. There's also a trailside one-stop buffet every Friday that can be reached on foot, snowshoes, or skis located so that one can either begin or finish their outing with the feast.
Cypress Mountain outside of Vancouver, B.C. has Chocolate Fondue Tours Friday and Sunday nights starting at 6:30 p.m. and a Cheese & Chocolate Fondue Tour Fridays and Sundays at 6–10 p.m.. Tours are organized by pre-registration. Ladies Only Chocolate Fondue Snowshoe Tour are Jan. 10, 24, Feb. 7, 28, and Marvh 14 at 6:30 p.m.
Photo: Nordic Nibbles at Eastman Cross Country in N.H. (Eastman XC)