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RISMEDIA, February 11, 2011—(MCT)—If you and your family are looking for a new way to take advantage of the snow, skate skiing, a speedier form of cross-country skiing offers a more-vigorous cold weather activity for families to enjoy. Skate skiing, which uses diagonal strides to move along the trail is gaining popularity among cold weather fans. Here are five places where you can give it try.

1. Stevens Pass, Wash. With an average annual snowfall of 37 feet, this 70-year-old resort and Nordic center all but guarantees pristine conditions when you and your family visit. Once on the trail, you’ll move among firs and hemlocks in two national forests: Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie and Wenatchee. Skate skiers will appreciate the miles of machine-groomed trails winding among alpine lakes on the region’s sunny eastern slope. Lessons are available.

2. Winter Park, Colo. Explore more than 60 miles of groomed trails on skate skis at this family favorite in the Colorado Rockies. In addition to making the most of free skiing lessons offered by the Nordic Center at the YMCA of the Rockies’ Snow Mountain Ranch, enjoy more family fun. Go ice skating, tubing or sledding; play broomball; or create arts and crafts. Plus, get cozy for story time with hot chocolate and s’mores by the fire.

3. McCall, Idaho. Bring your favorite furry friends for a day of outdoor fun in the snow. Dogs are welcome on Nordic trails in several locations throughout McCall, a mountain enclave two hours north of Boise. At Jug Mountain Ranch, the Lyle Nelson Nordic & Snowshoe Trail system, designed by the local Olympian, offers skate ski tracks for all abilities. Fido will romp in the snow as your family navigates trails at Tamarack Resort, where lessons and guided tours are also available.

4. Juneau, Alaska. Pop on your skis and get things in perspective when you glide across Mendenhall Glacier Lake. With the massive glacier as your backdrop, the whole family will speed across the flat terrain in some of the most majestic scenery imaginable.

(c) 2011, The Dallas Morning News.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.