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Cross-country skiing combines with great food at unique Red Lodge event

Cross Culinary
Posted at 5:38 PM, Feb 19, 2023

RED LODGE - The fourth annual Cross Culinary event was held in Red Lodge this weekend, where people were given the unique opportunity of cross-country skiing while enjoying local food on the trails.

Red Lodge Nordic Center was packed over the weekend with nearly 300 cross-country skiers hitting the slopes in search of some good food. Among those on the trails was Billings resident Joseph Dillard, who said the event was a perfect combination of some of his favorite things.

“Cross-country skiing is one of the best exercises there is," Dillard said. "So to mix it up with a little bit of really good food is a nice combination."

The event features about a 3-mile route, with various pitstops along the way offering food from local vendors such as Prerogative Kitchen, Samurai Sue's Everyday Foods, and Fishtail restaurant Montasia. There was also a station featuring live, local music.

And while the area was crowded, Dillard said it was actually good to see so many people.

“When it’s crowded it’s kind of fun because you’re skiing around people and going between them, which almost never happens, particularly up here," Dillard said. "It’s fun to see all of the different variety of people that you get out on cross-country skis."

Event coordinator Tom Kohley said that variety and influx of people is exactly what the Cross Culinary event aims to do.

“It’s definitely a celebration of the area," Kohley said. "It brings some of the best culinary artists in the region to a really neat facility in the red lodge Nordic center."

Kohley said it's a unique experience for Montanans, and one that generates a lot of support for the community of Red Lodge.

“It brings in about 300 people over the course of two days, and they ski around to different stations and enjoy culinary delights,” Kohley said.

And Kohley said that support is exactly what Red Lodge needs after what has been an eventful couple of years.

“The last two years, we’ve experienced the Robertson draw fire and the spring flooding," Kohley said. "So, it’s a nice opportunity to celebrate with culinary artists and all of the skiers here."

For Dillard and his friends, that's a big part of why they were there.

“We’ve been trying to come up more frequently," Dillard said. "These people are living on the edge most of the time and it really hit them hard with that flooding. So, we’re just playing our part for the winter here."