Family Fun - Cross Country Skiing

Skiers of all ages and skill levels
 can enjoy the different groomed trails.

Photo by Kine Torinus

Cross country skiing is one sport which makes family participation relatively easy. Toddlers to grandparents can enjoy Nordic Skiing. It is simple to learn.

The first thing you will need is equipment. Families can get into cross country skiing for what it costs for one set of downhill skiing equipment.. Start with waxless skis. These are a good choice as they require no additional knowledge or equipment to use.

As with any sport, shoes are key. Modern ski boots are warm and comfortable and provide the necessary support. Just make sure they fit properly.

Cross country skiing does not require special clothing. However, wool and synthetic material may be the best choice. Cross country skiing is an active sport, one which requires peeling off layers and piling it back on. Be sure everyone is well dressed in layers - to avoid chilling or over-heating.

The easiest way to introduce young children to skis is to allow them to strap them on and tromp around the back yard for awhile. Most children will enjoy playing in the snow, having treasure hunts, doing stunts, racing down little hills or going over small jumps, all with skis on.


Once you hit the trail, remember to keep it fun. Not only do you have a great opportunity to 'play' together, but you are surrounded by chances to increase your appreciation for and knowledge of nature.

Snow provides a wonderful classroom for learning about animals in winter. Since the animals cannot move without leaving tracks, invest in a book on tracking animals in the snow and learn what critters live near your cross country ski trail.

Start with an hour and take several breaks. Be generous with the snacks (power bars, candy, nuts, water). They make great incentives, but remember, everyone is also burning energy and calories. Create positive memories. Make it seem 'easy', and your children will be begging to go again.

Cross country skiing can be as much fun as a family trip to the beach or the park. It can create as many positive memories as a family bike ride, hike, or summer excursion in the woods. It allows everyone to get outdoors in the winter, provides an outlet for excess energy, is great exercise, and is easy enough and safe enough for everyone to participate.

“Wisconsin's state parks and forests take on a special beauty when covered by winter's white blanket of snow. Enjoy the winter scenery, get healthy exercise and have some fun by cross-country skiing on nearly 700 miles of groomed trails. Many clubs, ski teams and youth programs use Wisconsin's parks and forests to practice for races such as the American Birkebeiner, and several properties schedule occasional candlelight ski nights throughout the winter.” For additional information on Wisconsin's Cross Country Skiing, visit the Wisconsin DNR web site. 

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