Winter Series Three: Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

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There aren’t many winter sports as old as cross country skiing and snowshoeing – and we’re talking OLD. Both tried and true traditions started thousands of years ago and what was once a basic mode of transportation has now become recreational activities enjoyed by many. Here in Wisconsin, we are lucky to have the weather and the terrain to accommodate!

Skiing

Cross-country skiing is not the same as downhill skiing (otherwise known as Alpine Skiing). Cross-country skiing involves longer and thinner skis (compared to its faster, downhill sibling), two poles, and the overall technique is much different than downhill skiing.

Snowshoe

Snowshoeing consists of walking with feet strapped into two oval-shaped bases that help folks walk on top of snow vs sinking into deep snow. Often, snowshoeing can help you explore parts of a trail in winter that you may not otherwise have the opportunity, unless, of course, you don’t mind trudging through several inches or feet of snow.

Know before you go!

  • All mentions below are located in Green Bay unless specifically noted.
  • COVID has brought many changes and it’s recommended to check if the park is open for snowshoeing and skiing. There is also a current lack of snow so many trails are not open for either activity.
  • This article is including trail opportunities located outside of the Green Bay community; this is for future reference in non-COVID years. We recommend following CDC guidelines for traveling.
  • Whether you’re winter hiking, snowshoeing, or skiing, it is imperative to ensure you’re following proper trail etiquette. Please do not hike or snowshoe on marked ski trails and vice versa. The state spends a lot of time and money on grooming trails for activities and when individuals walk or snowshoe on cross country ski trails, it ruins the groomed tracks which risks injury to the skier as well as permanently damages the track for the remainder of the season. Please be mindful of the signs on the trails to ensure you’re doing the proper activity for the designated trail.

Free ski and snowshoe:
Baird’s Creek* (skiing, hiking, fat tire bike trails only)
Colburn Park (skiing trails only)
Fritsch Park (skiing trails only)
He-Nis-Ra Park* (skiing, hiking, fat tire bike trails only)
Ken Euers (skiing only)
McAuliffe Park (skiing only)
Perkins Park (skiing only)
Preble Park (skiing only)
Wildlife Sanctuary (skiing only)
*OK to snowshoe on hiking trails. Do not snowshoe on the bike or ski trails. Make it a forest adventure!

Pay to ski or snowshoe:
Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve** (Suamico) (snowshoe rentals available) (ski and snowshoe trails available)
Hilly Haven Golf Course (ski and snowshoe trails; limited number of snowshoe rentals)
Neshota Park** (Denmark) (ski and snowshoe trails)
Reforestation Camp** (Suamico) (ski and snowshoe trails)
**Please note a trail pass is needed for all three trail systems listed above; however, a season pass will get you access to all three. Also, all three systems have a warming shelter. Please review their website for hours.

Local shops to rent equipment:
Pete’s Garage (ski rentals)
Run Away Shoes (snowshoe rentals)
University of WI Green Bay (ski and snowshoe rentals)
Zeller’s Ski and Sports (snowshoe rentals)

Interested in learning how to cross country ski? Take tips from our very own UWGB Nordic Ski Team! This talented group of athletes can teach youth ages 3-12 and other age groups and/or ski abilities.

Feel like exploring the state? Check out some of these opportunities:
Blue Mound State Park*** (Blue Mounds) – this trail system has cross country skiing AND snowshoeing. This park also has a tubing hill.
Nine Mile Forest (Wausau) – this trail system is for both cross country skiing AND snowshoeing. Please review the linked website for ticket and rental information.
Whitefish Dunes State Park*** (Sturgeon Bay) – this trail system has both cross country skiing and snowshoeing options.
***A state trail pass is necessary to ski the trails AND a vehicle sticker is necessary to visit the park.

Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are great family activities so strap on your skis or snowshoes and enjoy our Wisconsin winters!

Skiing and snowshoeing not your thing? Check out our ice skating and tubing posts! There are many winter activity opportunities in our area!

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Amanda Grovogel
Amanda was born and raised in Green Bay and returned to the area after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where she obtained her degree in psychology and business. Shortly after moving back to Green Bay, Amanda attended Silver Lake College where she completed the master's program in management and organizational behavior. Amanda works full time and when she is not caring for her family or being a focused employee, she enjoys running, biking, skiing and hiking. Amanda lives in Green Bay with her husband and two children. She and her husband look forward to teaching their daughters how to ski and bike and hope their children enjoy being active outdoors. Amanda loves that the Green Bay area has a lot to offer in terms of trail systems (great for biking, running, hiking and skiing!) and Green Bay is conveniently located to some great ski hills all within a few hours drive.

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