Want a guilt-free way to indulge yourself with food while exercising? Cross country (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 events that are planned this winter across the country with a varied menu of fun and fine cuisine.

EAST

Smugglers Notch in VT has the S'mores and Snowshoe Trek every Wednesday night 5:30-7:00 PM. S'Mores await snowshoers after a short trek to a bonfire. For hardier snowshoers there's the Notch Night Snowshoe Tour on Tuesday night, and on Wednesday nights there's a Snowshoe Adventure Dinner at the mountain summit. The Maple Experience is on Tuesdays on a tour to learn about maple sugaring and get to take home a sample. Look for the Morse Highlands Day Lodge for a bonfire and S'mores.

The Chocolate Festival at Mt. Washington Valley Ski & Snowshoe Center in Intervale, NH on Sunday, February 25 is an inn-to-inn affair at 10-12 stops to experience your chocolate fantasies including moose and fondue. Go on a tour of any length and actually gain calories, even if you ski as far as 20 kilometers. A shuttle is also available for those that have overindulged at the event dubbed the "Sweetest Day on the Trails."

CENTRAL

Treetops Resort in Gaylord, MI has the Skiable Feast Getaway Package that features a winter gourmet adventure with 5 buffet food stations along 6 km of trails. It is offered on 7 dates during January-March.

On Feb 3, Cross Country Ski Headquarters in Roscommon, MI the "Ski the Beer Trail" is a new event sponsored by Paddle Hard Brewing with XC skiing, craft beer tasting, and a rustic BBQ lunch along the trails. Look for the Fill at the Grill and Fire on the Mountain food events.

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan 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 on in March.

MOUNTAINS

At Devil's Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa in Tabernash, CO,  the Stagecoach Classic Race & Tour is on January 20 with a 15 km tour (also a race for competitors starting earlier), which starts at Devil's Thumb follows the Fraser River and ends at Hideaway Park in Winter Park followed by a BBQ and beer garden with live music. The Ski, Sip & Spa day is set for Feb 11.

Just Desserts Eat & Ski in the Enchanted Forest in Red River, NM on February 24 features goodies from 20 different local restaurants at three trailside stations with up to 100 desserts within a 4 kilometer loop. Their motto is, “It’s not a race, just a gorge fest.”

The Rendezvous Trails in West Yellowstone, MT 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 March 10.

Look to the Galena Lodge in Ketchum, ID for the Full Moon Dinners on nights with the full moon, whereby you can go ski or snowshoe ($5 snowshoe rental offered) and then return to lodge for a 4-course dinner at $40 or half price for kids under 12. There are also special Wine Dinners, Holiday Dinners, Valentine's Day Dinner and Twilight Ski Dinners scheduled from mid-December to mid-March.

Frisco Nordic Center in CO has the Ski, Eat and Be Merry event on Feb 3 from 6:00 0- 10:00 PM with a progressive dinner along the trails  stationed with delicious foods paired.

 

Tahoe XC in Tahoe City, CA has the New Year's Day On Trail Breakfast at 10-11:30 AM with skiing or snowshoeing to the unique trailside "lunch truck" (pictured above) for a hot meal made to order right along the trail and remember to sign up in advance.

Cypress Mountain outside of Vancouver, BC has Fondue Dinner Snowshoe Tour, Girls' Night Tours, and Music Night all scheduled to start in January. These programs include rental equipment, trail access, and guides/instructors.