Romantic skiing trips in Wisconsin

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of December 19-25, 1996
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Romantic skiing trips in Wisconsin
Question: Over Christmas break I would like to take my boyfriend on a romantic, candle-lit cross-country skiing excursion. Are there going to be any around the Twin Cities or western Wisconsin in December or January?

Stephanie Smith
Eau Claire, WI
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: If you've got torch-lit nordic skiing on your mind, you should call the Hennepin County Parks reservation line at 612-559-6700 for a schedule of guided full-moon ski trips in the Twin Cities area. You may have a tough time finding pre-set romantic ski treks out there--most likely they'll just be jaunts through the freezing-cold North Woods by moonlight. But don't despair: If you really want to control the situation--with candles, romance, wine, whatever--I'd recommend skipping the organized group tour for a ski weekend for two at a cozy, nordically inclined bed-and-breakfast somewhere.

One to consider is the Laurentian Resort at Giants Ridge Recreation Area, about 200 miles north of Minneapolis in Biwabik, Wisconsin. Giants Ridge is a 45-mile trail system that has hosted three nordic World Cups, which should give you a good idea about the terrain. The Red and Blue Loops are each six miles long; ski the two back-to-back and you'll have climbed and descended more than 2,000 feet, with one hefty, 300-foot uphill slog. Or try the Silver Loop, an intermediate track that hugs the ridgetops of the Iron Ranges and avoids the major steeps. The Laurentian has one-room efficiencies ($85 per night; bring your own candles) and fireplace- and Jacuzzi-equipped cabins. Call 800-843-7434 for rates and reservations. The daily trail fee at Giants Ridge is $8, and ski rental will cost you $15 per day; call 800-688-7669 for details.

Another good bet is Mrs. B's Historic Lanesboro Inn, about 120 miles south of the Twin Cities in, you guessed it, Lanesboro, Minnesota. The focus here is on holing up in the phone-, TV-, and clock-free rooms equipped with homemade beds and Amish quilts--either that or getting a workout on the nearby Root River Trail, a 35-mile cross-country ski track that parallels the river, or within the surrounding 400,000-acre Big Woods. Root River Outfitters rents ski equipment for $7.50 per day; call 507-467-3400. Replenish your wasted calorie supply by gorging yourself on "gourmet comfort food" at one of the inn's five-course meals. Room rates are $55-$95 per night, including breakfast. Call 507-467-2154 for reservations and information.

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