Cross-Country Skiing: Five Great Places to Wax Your Skinny Skis - Page 2
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Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, Vermont
The celebrated von Trapp family of "The Sound of Music" fame is also known for having one of the top ski lodges in New England. After fleeing the Nazi regime in Austria in the 1940s, the family moved to the Stowe area and began welcoming guests to their lodge in 1950. The luxurious Austrian-styled lodge overlooks the quaint town on a beautifully forested 2,500-acre property with nearly 100 miles of cross-country trails (37 miles of groomed routes plus 62 more miles in the backcountry). A three-mile trek from the main lodge is the Slayton Pasture Cabin, just the place to warm up with a cup of soup and a seat by the fireplace before continuing on the trails. And at the end of the day, it's hard to imagine a better place for rest and relaxation than the slick guestrooms and award-winning dining room.

Royal Gorge Cross Country Resort, Soda Springs, California
Near Lake Tahoe, Royal Gorge is the largest cross-country resort in the United States in terms of sheer size, with more than 124 miles of trails on a whopping 6,000 acres, plus a pair of old surface lifts. Several of the trails are also good for snowshoers. Set at the scenic foot of Devil's Peak, the area is (as of 2012) operated by the nearby Sugar Bowl Resort, a longstanding Tahoe downhill ski area. The new owners have announced plans for numerous improvements, including a pair of beginners’ trails between Sugar Bowl and Royal Gorge. An “interconnect trail” currently joins the two areas, though it's not very beginner-friendly. Rentals, lessons, and dining are at Summit Station.

Active Backwoods Retreat, Ironwood, Michigan
Reliably snowy Ironwood is one of the true cross-country meccas of the Midwest, and Active Backwoods Retreat is the best place to experience this winter wonderland. With 1,100 acres of relatively gentle terrain in the Montreal River Valley, the resort has about 25 miles of trails for every skill level, as well as six miles of dedicated snowshoe trails. You can even bring Fido along on your winter getaway, as the retreat has nearly three miles of dog-friendly trails for skijoring—that's skiing with a canine-powered assist. Several cabins at the resort are available for overnight guests (though they’re not dog-friendly), and a number of lodging options are in Ironwood and the vicinity.

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