Nordic Pine

Flagstaff Lake Hut, Carrabassett Valley, Maine

Flagstaff Lake Hut     Photo: Courtesy of Flagstaff Lake Hut

Winter Lodge Smackdown

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Hut is a misnomer when it comes to this cozy, wood-paneled outpost. Opening this month as the second in a series of 12 lodges connecting 180 miles of ski and hiking trails in western Maine, Flagstaff better resembles a swanky retreat than a backwoods shack. Picture a main lodge with an atrium ceiling, a woodstove, and a library off to the side. The whole compound—including guest bunk­houses and a 90-foot wind turbine—is perched on a peninsula jutting into 31-square-mile Flagstaff Lake. Around the shores lie miles of looped trails, where you can almost get lost before returning for dinner, which includes Italian sausage and hot-brownie sundaes. Stay for a few days—it's as affordable as a Motel 6, after all—and glide over the frozen lake or ski 11 miles southwest to the Flagstaff's sister lodge, the Poplar Stream Falls Hut. From $65 for nonmembers, including breakfast and dinner; mainehuts.org

The Half-Baked Plan: Walleye World
Your ice-fishing instructions: Head to Sportsman's Lodge, on Minnesota's Lake of the Woods, "the walleye capital of the world" (sportsmanslodgelow.com). Accept guided ride to your ice shack. Do not enter foreign huts. Place bait in predrilled hole after dropping two cans of Miller High Life in hole for good luck. Wait. Whiskey. Wait. Walleye (average: 15 inches). Whiskey.

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