Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa is number one in the public’s eye, according to The USA Today 2018-19 10Best Poll for cross country ski resorts.
Create family memories on a cross country ski weekend. (Fischer)
Resorts run by families are great for family winter vacations packed with something for every family member from fresh home cooked food to the atmosphere and fond memories.
A girldfriend ski and bike. (Methow Trails)
As the cross country (XC) ski season winds down, most XC ski areas close because of lack of skiers rather than lack of snow on the trails. The sun comes out, the temperature rises, but where are the XC skiers?
A snowshoe through the woods at Great Glen Trails. (Great Glen Trails)
This winter across the country, resorts and inns are offering retreats that combine yoga with cross country skiing and snowshoeing. These activities go hand-in-hand as they encourage and build an intimate relationship between mind, body, and spirit.
The fluidity and rhythm of cross country skiing and/or snowshoeing are indeed yoga-like, and yoga is known for enhancing balance and strength using “micro-muscles” and that makes it a perfect match, which can also add a spiritual aspect.
Maplelag Resort in Callaway, Minnesota has the Ski & Be Yoga Retreat, which includes getting outdoors in nature for cross country skiing and snowshoeing, healthy meals, and massage, Feb 3-6, 2017. The program at Maplelag is run and organized by Melissa Joy Schoeller whose activities are for “an active day in the fresh outdoors with time and space to rest and renew mind, body, and spirit.”
The Cross Country Ski Headquarters in Roscommon, Michigan has the Stretch & Slide Yoga Ski Retreat, Jan. 21 where they start with yoga to establish self-awareness with body and breath, so that awareness carries over into the skiing. Many people who participate in Stretch and Slide are new to skiing, so beginning with yoga gets people feeling embodied and in touch with themselves right off the bat, which helps them learn Nordic skiing technique with more ease and enjoyment. Being more in tune with one's body and breath also helps foster an awareness of the present moment, which enables one to truly experience and savor the beauty of nature when skiing or snowshoeing outdoors.
Jan. 14, 2017, at Great Glen Trail Outdoor Center in Gorham, New Hampshire, the Women’s Winter Escape program activities emphasize ski clinics for classic and skate techniques, beginner through advanced, but there is also pre- and post-activity stretching, snowshoeing, yoga, snow tubing, lunch, and an après ski wine and cheese with discounted shopping in the Great Glen Outfitter Shop. This program is limited to 20 participants, ensuring a low student to instructor ratio for personalized attention and instruction during clinics. Participants can change groups during the day - for example, to go snowshoeing led by a naturalist and later in the afternoon can rejuvenate with a yoga session. On the following day, Great Glen hosts an equipment demo, with products from ski and snowshoe suppliers available to take out and test on the trails. Participants in Saturday’s Women’s Winter Escape will receive a free trail pass for Sunday, giving access to the demo with no extra charge.
The Adventure Center at Waterville Valley, New Hampshire in the southern White Mountains has the Women's Clinic Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, with XC ski instruction, equipment demo, waxing clinic, yoga, massage, and lunch included. The program is organized at the Adventure Center and if it is cold, the indoor yoga class will help as a warm up before the outdoor part of the program.
In the Rockies, the Ski, Sip & Spa Day is at Devils Thumb Ranch Resort in Tabernash, Colorado Saturday, Feb 12, 2017, including XC ski lessons, lunch, yoga, hot tub, sauna, and wine and cheese. Massage or facial services are available at special rates to program participants.
The Women's Ski Weekend at Izaak Walton Inn in Essex, Montana on the Amtrak line is scheduled for Jan 21-22, 2017, and it includes one night accommodations, skate skiing instruction, two yoga sessions, a 30-minute massage, and a buffet dinner. Brenda Winkler will help you learn new or refine ski skills and develop your yoga practice that will complement your skiing. The event allows for more relaxation time so you will feel refreshed, recharged and ready to explore your new skills when you return home.
In the western U.S., Sun Mountain Lodge in Winthrop, Washington in the Methow Valley has the Women's Adventure Camp Feb. 26-28, 2017, coordinated by Cascade Endurance with Nordic skiing, yoga, breakfast and lunch, ski sessions, wine/hors d'oeuvres reception, and relaxation.
Check with the ski resorts for program prices, details, and registration.
Plan to gather up the kids and head to the hills during the school breaks next winter. No need to head to warmer climes - winter can be snowy, yet mild, and perfect for a family vacation with plenty of activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
According to the experts, who regularly update XCSkiResorts.com and here at SnoCountry.com, the nation's top XC ski resorts are exceedingly family-friendly with lots to enjoy together both on the snow and off. What families want and need is exactly what an XC ski vacation delivers: multi-generational participation, quality time and shared memories.
There are special touches such as talent shows, child-friendly classes and family style meals to help your XC ski and snowshoe vacation become the perfect memorable getaway with your loved ones. Families can find resorts that offer the perfect combination of carefree atmosphere and picture-perfect views together with beautiful lodging, family dining, and expertly groomed trails and learn how they can enjoy the winter outdoors together.
Here are some suggestions:
Lapland Lake Ski & Vacation Center in Northville, N.Y. has nightly bonfires on the weekends and the kids love to play Napa Kikku, which is a Finnish game on ice with a sled and a pole. Kicksleds, tubing, ice skating and parents use pulk sleds to pull the kids along the xc ski trails.
Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, Maine has family programs to engage kids and adults with outdoors and educational activities such as XC skiing, mountain biking, equestrian, exploring life and animals on the farm, apple cider making, butter making, milking a cow, carving pumpkins, and much more.
Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt. is one of the most famous family resorts where the hills come alive with the "Sound of Music." In the Green Mountains of Vermont, Trapp Family Lodge is a paradise for families with a fitness center, an indoor pool and the Mountain Kids Club provides playtime, craft time and movies for kids.
Smuggler's Notch Resort in Smuggler's Notch, Vt. has a dynamic lineup of family programs with 1,000 acres for alpine skiers and snowboarders, teen centers, kids camps and FunZone play area, resort village with shops and restaurants, condo lodging, and walk-to free shuttles. There's XC ski and snowshoe trails, winter walking, ice skating, and more. Recognition for family focus has been awarded by numerous magazines.
Maplelag Resort in Callaway, Minn. is run by a three-generation extended family and this resort has families coming back year after year. They serve family-style meals and host a talent/variety show, which is a big hit. The state’s largest hot tub, bottomless cookie jars, sledding, ice skating, and XC ski/snowshoe trails combine to make this one of the most popular family destinations.
As the name implies, Palmquist Farm in Brantwood, Wisc. is an XC ski center on a farm with kid-friendly animals such as horses and a dogs. There are sleds to use on sliding hills and ice skating pond, plus horse-drawn sleigh rides and kids rental ski equipment. They say that a visit to Palmquist's is like coming home to Grandma's house.
Devil's Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa in Tabernash, Colo. has outdoor adventures from XC skiing and snowshoeing to Zipline, horseback riding and laser biathlon. There are "cowpoke camps" for overnight guests with kids in half and full-day programs, heated pool, movie nights, game room, and more.
Snow Mountain Ranch is operated by the YMCA of the Rockies in Granby, Colo. and is a destination for the whole family with the most affordable options for lodging which includes a Day Pass covering a weekend kids program with outdoor fun and indoor activities such as a pool, climbing wall, roller skating, craft shop, and more.
Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Mont. has programs for outdoor youth adventures that include animal tracking, snowshoeing, tubing, snow kickball, obstacle Olympics, finger painting, scavenger hunts and ice cream socials. Parents will love the cuisine, massage and xc skiing on picturesque trails.
You'll be amazed by the giant trees in Sequoia National Park and Monument near the Montecito-Sequoia Lodge in Kings Canyon National Park, Calif. There is a daylong program for children, which has a break for the family to join together during lunch. The kids build igloos, go tubing and XC skiing or snowshoeing on nature hikes to see and learn about animal tracks. At night there is a dance, karaoke and bingo.
Photo: Family cross skiing at Lapland Lake Ski & Vacation Center in NY