New home for a nordic skier, bike racer

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of May 29-June 4, 1997
Hiking expeditions in Eastern Europe
New home for a nordic skier, bike racer
Sea kayaking along the Eastern Seaboard
Wicked trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains
Canoeing down the remote Snake River

New home for a nordic skier, bike racer
Question: I am approaching a move from Milwaukee on completion of my residency program here. I am an avid outdoor adventurer and, in particular, do a lot of nordic skiing and bike racing. Do you have any suggestions on a place to look for a job?

Matt Harrison
Milwaukee, WI
[email protected]

If you've got to move, why not
pick something near trails?

Adventure Adviser: You're probably looking for something more exotic, but I'd suggest two cities very near your current neck of the woods. The first is Madison, Wisconsin. Listed as the place where you can "find it all" in the July 1995 issue of Outside, Madison is a truly great city. The university town of approximately 200,000 even has a city park with about 10 kilometers of lighted ski trails. Plus, there's a huge posse of nordic skiers who hit the Midwestern race circuit, culminating with the Birkebeiner, every weekend from Thanksgiving to Spring Break. Same goes for biking. There are miles of rolling country roads to train on during the week that are sure to get you in top shape for events like the Chequamegon, which take place just a few hours away in northern Wisconsin.

If you're looking for something a little more metropolitan, check out Minneapolis/St. Paul. The Scandinavians who settled these cities must have forced the town fathers to leave plenty of space for cross-country ski trails. Depending on where you live, you could have miles of trails right out your back door, all of which double as biking trails in the summer. Granted, you're not going to have mountainous terrain, but as you can tell by the skiers who come out of Minneapolis, they don't need mountains.

Two other suggestions are Anchorage, Alaska, or a ski town with a substantial base population, like Vail. If you can handle five hours of daylight in the midwinter, you should consider Anchorage. The city of approximately 250,000 is surrounded by some of the most pristine wilderness left on the planet. They also have lighted trails in the middle of the city, where you'll even see moose cross your path on a regular basis.

Vail, on the other hand, hosts world-class bike races, as well as weekly races for the locals. Though the downhill is far superior to the nordic skiing, you can still choose between Strawberry Park at Beaver Creek or the flatter Vail Nordic Center, the wintertime occupation of The Vail Golf Club. Depending on your sense of community, Vail may be a little too transient for your taste, and housing is becoming a serious problem. But, on the other hand, it's smack in the middle of the Rockies. What more could you ask?

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