A PowerBar eaten by the side of the trail can put the spring back in your kick-glide on a cross-country ski outing. But it won't pass for gourmet dining. Here are a few Nordic resorts where you can prop your gear at the door and indulge your appetite slowly, pleasurably, in meals from hearty breakfasts to candlelit dinners with fine wines. Reservations may be necessary, so call ahead for details.
Sorensen's, Hope Valley, Calif. (800) 423-9949, www.sorensensresort.com. At this all-season resort, sit at tables made from tree stumps amid the woodsy scent of a fireplace. Meat lovers feast on pork tenderloin, grilled lamb chops, or savory beef stew with carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes simmered in burgundy sauce. Even real men love the homemade quiche.
Tamarack Lodge & Resort, Mammoth Lakes, Calif. (760) 935-2442, www.tamaracklodge.com. After some of the most serene groomed skiing in the eastern Sierra, warm up inside the 1924 lodge and let chef Frederic Pierrel pamper you at the Lakefront, overlooking Twin Lakes. Dine on wild game and seafood dishes with a French flair.
Kirkwood Inn, Kirkwood, Calif. (209) 258-7304. Popular items on the Western menu of this 1864 log cabin-style establishment are BBQ ribs and Zak Fries (named for original owner Zachary Kirkwood). Enjoy pints of ale or cocktails at the bar as you admire the bullet holes remaining in the wall from cowboy days.
Mount Bachelor, Bend, Ore. (800) 829-2442, www.mtbachelor.com. You'll feel right at home in the cozy Cross Country Center café sipping hot chocolate or espresso, served along with deli sandwiches, Italian-style soups, or pasta.
The Canyons Resort, Park City, Utah. (435) 649-5400. At 8,000 feet, in the resort's Viking Yurt, Norwegian hospitality and a five-course supper await. The latter includes spiced Maine lobster with poached figs and sautéed mallard foie gras.
The Homestead, Midway, Utah. (800) 327-7220, www.homesteadresort.com. The casual country restaurant here, Fanny's Grill, serves comfort foods such as cinnamon French toast topped with caramelized pecans and peaches, and the Crater Club, a quadruple-decker sandwich of chicken breast, roast beef, pastrami, bacon, and three cheeses between slices of homemade focaccia bread.
Solitude, Salt Lake City. (801) 536-5787. Specials at the Creekside restaurant include pastas, wood oven pizzas, and chicken involtini—chicken breast stuffed with spinach, topped with roasted tomatoes, fon-tina cheese, and fresh sage and served with an herb-butter sauce.
Sundance, Sundance, Utah. (801) 225-4107, www.sundanceresort.com. In the rustic-elegant Tree Room, enjoy candlelit dining on American dishes with a Caribbean kick—pepper steak with mango chutney, or garlic-roasted trout with wild rice. The resort's more casual Foundry Grill serves hearty portions of prime rib, meat loaf, salmon, and wood oven pizza.
Pine Creek Cookhouse, Aspen, Colo. (970) 925-3535, www.pinecreekcookhouse.com. Guided ski trips lead to this quaint Rocky Mountain lodge where you can watch chefs prepare your choice of fresh trout or wild game, such as elk and venison, in the open kitchen.
Lone Mountain Ranch, Big Sky, Mont. (406) 995-2782, www.lmranch.com. Enjoy fresh fish, regional wild game, or a mouthwatering buffalo rib eye.
Illustration by Michael Klein
This article was first published in January 2003. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.