cross country skiing and snowshoeing in WEStern and Central Minnesota

A Minnesota Ski Pass is required to ski on state property and in many other locations. It costs $5 for a daily pass, $15 for a season pass or $40 for a 3-season pass. There are 1,750 locations to acquire the pass in person or it can be done electronically, by phone or by mail. More info on the Web at www.dnr.state.mn.us/licenses/skipass/index or call 888-646-6367.

Maplelag Resort in Callaway, MN (800-654-7711, www.maplelag.com) is located in the north west region of MN and is within an hour of Fargo, ND. For a full page of info about Maplelag Resort click here. Maplelag has 53 km groomed for skiing and snowshoeing. There is a reason that Maplelag was voted as the "best overall xc ski resort in the 2003 Best XC Ski Resort Poll and best in the central US in the 2002 Cross Country Skier magazine Best XC Resort Poll and it is the family magic that can be had at the resort. Whether skiing or not, people rave about their time spent at Maplelag. Take "The Plunge" into the lake after the "no suit" sauna and you will earn the right to purchase the commemorative t-shirt after you've jumped through the hole in the ice. On Saturday night the party lasts all night with contests, and a Variety/Talent Show, which is a big hit for families whose performances feature everything from jugglers and family skits, to jokes, musical instruments and German beer drinking songs. The show is followed by the Saturday Night Dance, which offers an eclectic collection of music for dancers of all ages. The Richards family is the host that will guarantee you a memorable time. The lodge, food and skiing are great, too. Lessons and xc ski and snowshoe equipment rentals are available. Massage, ice fishing, sledding and much more. CCSAA member

Grand View Lodge Family Golf & Spa Resort in Nisswa, MN is on the shore of Gull Lake in the heart of the Brainerd Lakes region. It features golf course terrain and an Aveda Spa. There are 18 km of trails on the Pines Golf Course that connect to hundreds of miles of groomed trails in the region. There are cross country ski equipment rentals and snowshoes or fish houses, too. The facility has the Glacial Waters Spa with complete services such as massage, facials, and other treatments, an indoor pool with a giant slide and a fitness room. Accommodations at the Grand View Lodge include 65 cabins ranging from one to eight bedrooms, a main lodge with 12 rooms and the Glacial Waters Spa, villas and townhomes. CCSAA member.

Rainbow Resort is in Waubun, MN located in north western MN near the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge and Itasca State Park. There are 20 km of trails groomed for classic and skating. Deluxe lakeside cabins, homes and lodge with food service and recreation center. Xc ski and snowshoe equipment rentals are available. Rainbow Resort is 80 miles east of Fargo, ND. CCSAA member

Giants Ridge Golf & Ski Resort is in Biwabik, MN located in the north eastern part of MN and has 60 km of groomed trails for classic and skating. There are 3 km of lighted trails and abundant wildlife. Giants Ridge also has alpine ski slopes and it is located in the Mesabi Range of mountains. Lessons and xc ski, snowshoe and telemark equipment rentals are available. There is lodging on site with a spa, pool and sauna. CCSAA member.