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Glide through the countryside and enjoy culinary delights.
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updated 1/10/2007 3:28:39 PM ET 2007-01-10T20:28:39

Fine dining and fitness rarely go hand-in-hand. The exception is when you partake of a “Gourmet Ski Tour” on cross country (xc) skis or on snowshoes. Actually, gluttony is good, almost a requirement, to keep participants going strong from trailside food stop to trailside food stop enjoying delicacies and treats ranging from exotic appetizers, fine wines and champagne, to the more traditional fare of fondue, chocolate, and more.

With its origins in Scandinavia more than four thousand years ago as almost the best means of transportation from one place to the other during the long winters, xc skiing is the acknowledged “world’s best aerobic workout” by the Institute for Aerobics Research. It gives a total body workout, even if maintaining a leisurely pace, without stressing joints. That’s another bonus with xc skiing - its natural motions make it easy to learn and completely doable for all ages and all fitness levels.

The result: a guilt-free chance to indulge yourself at culinary xc ski events held across the country this winter.

The editors at xcskiresorts.com/ have compiled a cross section of the culinary xc ski events across the country that feature a varied menu of fun and fine cuisine.

East
Eastman Cross Country’s Nordic Nibbles in Grantham, N.H.,on 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 cocoa, plus soup and the main meal.

The Joy of Skiing Progressive Picnic in Bethel, Maine, at Sunday River Inn on Feb. 25 invites participants to ski to designated locations on the trails for fresh donuts made trailside, soup for lunch at the covered bridge, S’mores, with a finish at a deck party, which is a fundraiser for the American Lung Association.

The Chocolate Festival at Mt. Washington Valley Ski & Snowshoe Center in Intervale, N.H., on Feb. 25 is an inn-to-inn affair with 10-12 stops to experience your chocolate fantasies including mousse and fondue. This is one where even if you ski as far as 20 kilometers, you might actually gain calories the treats are so decadent. A shuttle is also available for those that have overindulged.

Central and mountains
Garland Resort’s Gourmet Glide in Lewiston, Mich., invites skiers to its trails where five trailside feasts will allow them to fuel themselves along the way. The tour starts with mimosas and breakfast at the resort lodge and progresses through to the most famous stop at the Trout Pond Camp, where skiers and snowshoers fish for trout that is then prepared for them right there over a wood fire. The program runs on nine Saturdays throughout Jan. - March with groups heading out at 9 and 10 a.m.

Better go around more than once in theJust Desserts Eat & Ski in the Enchanted Forestin Red River, N.M., on Feb. 24. This popular event features goodies from 20 different local restaurants at three trailside stations with up to 100 desserts all within a 4-kilometer loop.

Be prepared for a four-star, four-course, four-kilometer tour of Italian fare at Crested Butte Nordic Center’s Progressive Bonfire Dinnerin Crested Butte, Colo., on March 17. From 5 to 7 p.m. skiers will follow the illuminated trail to enjoy the culinary delights.

West
Tahoe Cross Country’s Gourmet Tourin Tahoe City, Calif., on March 11 is a two-hour affair (1-3 p.m.) to sample fare from a dozen of Lake Tahoe’s finest North Shore restaurants. Look for stops featuring delectable seafood, crab cakes, soup, wine, and pasta.

Local restaurants provide the cuisine for the Gourmet Ski Tour in Bear Valley, Calif., on March 25. Look for five stations - appetizer, soup, entrée, dessert, and champagne with strawberries - at scenic huts along 8 kilometers of trails. Hint: register early because it is limited to 30 skiers.

Other xc ski/gourmet food special events include the Hearts of Jackson in Jackson, N.H., on Feb. 11, a Valentine’s Day fundraiser for the American Heart Association; Dartmouth Cross Country Ski Center’s Progressive Dinner in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 2; and regularly scheduled Full Moon Dinners at Galena Lodge in Ketchum, Idaho.

For more information about xc ski resorts and events happening in your area, visit xcskiresorts.com with up-to-date information about xc ski equipment, special programs, resorts, fitness options and more.

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