Above: Skate skiing at Minocqua Winter Park Photo: John Noltner
Difficulty Meter Tough to master and physically intense

Minocqua, Wisconsin

  • Drive Time 5 hours

Endurance athletes seeking a lung-busting, ass-kicking workout will find it in skate skiing, a tougher version of the classic “striding” form of cross-country skiing. When done right, it combines the speed of trail running and the look of ice skating, but with bigger side-to-side movements. “It’s like flying,” says Tim Collins, executive director of Minocqua Winter Park, one of the most scenic places to learn the burgeoning sport. Set in a 6,500-acre hilly forest, the Nordic ski resort boasts more than 42 miles of trails primed with the kind of wide, groomed lanes skate skiing requires. The sport has a “relatively steep learning curve,” Collins warns. Translation: Cross-country skiing experience will give you a leg up. Minocqua’s skate skiing school (beginner packages with gear rental, trail pass, and one-hour group lesson from $43, minocquawinterpark.org) will teach you how to generate power, keep your balance, and glide on the snow. Feeling cocky? Try the 6.2-mile River Run, which winds through the Squirrel River Pines State Natural Area.


The Particulars

Body Burn Your glutes, thighs, triceps, and shoulders will feel it.

Stay Hibernate in the deep woods in a cabin along Lower Kaubashine Lake at Black’s Cliff Resort (from $125, blackscliff.com).

While There Hunt for everything from vintage jewelry to vinyl records at Gaslight Antiques, an 18,000-square-foot maze of dealers in Minocqua’s Gaslight Square Shoppes mall (gaslightsquareshoppes.com).