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Great Dates / Make tracks to love

The kinder, gentler type of skiing is perfect for low-key outings


Best for: Fit-ish couples, Buffalo newbies


Where: Delaware Park, Elmwood Village, or snowy environs


You’ve done the traditional thing with dinners, movies, and drinks. Why not stretch those dating muscles, literally and figuratively?


Pretending cold weather doesn’t exist won’t make the seasons pass any faster. So, we adapt. Cross country skiing might not be ideal for dedicated couch potato couples, but it doesn’t require  folks to be gym bunnies, either. For many of us, it’s a sport that’s within reach. Perhaps the heady exhilaration of outdoors exercise in the dead of winter is the gateway to ending  your WNY winter lethargy.


Get started with a Sunday morning ski lesson in Delaware Park from the Buffalo Nordic Ski Club. Lessons are free to members; membership is $15 annually. Equipment can be rented ahead of time at Campus Wheelworks on Elmwood or Snowflake Ski Shop in Lockport.   


“The Buffalo Nordic Ski Club has been around for thirty-six years, during which time we’ve had a few weddings for members who have met in the club,” says club president Jim Klein, who also remembers going on a ski date—which may have even been a first date—at Bond Lake Park in Lewiston.


“Provided there’s enough snow, the park is suitable for all levels, with mostly flat terrain,” says club member Deedee Clohessy. “But there are also a few hills of varying degrees to test your technical skills. Afterward, you can hit any number of the nearby coffee shops or have brunch.”


As a Plan B for beginners, Klein suggests Byrncliff Resort in Varysburg (a straight shot down 20A from East Aurora), which rents equipment and provides perfectly groomed trails. “They even have lighted trails for night skiing,” he says. “For the beginner, it is much easier to learn on groomed trails. Another spot to get started is Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve in Cheektowaga, where equipment can be rented for as little as $8. The trails are very flat for the true beginner, but are not perfectly groomed.”


Wherever you point your skis, you will likely be on the trail for an hour or two, leaving plenty of time to add another component to the date. The Art Roscoe trails at Allegany offers overnights with rentable cabins, but be prepared to rough it a little: the cabins have electricity, but bathrooms are shared due to limited running water. For more ideas, click here.


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