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.

Notchview Reservation in Windsor, MA hosts the Moonlight Ski, Wine & Cheese event on XC skis or snowshoes for tasting of local wines, beers, and cheeses. Go by your own headlight or the moonlight. Pre registration required for event on Jan 19, Feb 16, and Mar 16 starting at 6:15 PM.

The Chocolate Festival at Mt. Washington Valley Ski & Snowshoe Center in Intervale, NH on Sunday, February 24 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 on Saturdays during January-March.

On Feb 2, Cross Country Ski Headquarters in Roscommon, MI the "Ski the Beer Trail" is a new event 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 March 9.

MOUNTAINS

Just Desserts at Enchanted Forest XC Center

Just Desserts at Enchanted Forest XC Center

Just Desserts Eat & Ski in the Enchanted Forest in Red River, NM on February 23 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.”

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.

At Devil's Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa in Tabernash, CO,  the Ski, Sip & Spa is an all day event that includes lunch and wine & cheese. It is set for Feb 10. Also, the Taste of the Ranch dining series regularly features fresh offerings for a 4-course ranch-to-table experience.

The Rendezvous Trails in West Yellowstone, MT features cuisine that is homemade and from local restaurants that can be found along a designated route on the trails at the Taste of the Trails on Feb 17. Pay in advance at West Yellowstone retailer Free Heel & Wheel.

Frisco Nordic Center in CO has the Ski, Eat and Be Merry event on Feb 9 from 6:00 - 10:00 PM with a progressive dinner along the trails featuring food, drink, 3 bonfires and 300 luminaries on a 2 km loop. The evening ends with a party in the lodge. Frisco is also hosting a Snowshoe Dinner on two Sundays, Jan 20 and Feb 17 starting at 5:00 PM for a tour and then dinner. 

WEST

Tahoe XC in Tahoe City, CA has the New Year's Day On Trail Pancake 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. Fish Taco Night is a fundraiser on Feb 13.

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.