Nature's Kennel (906) 748-0513;www.natureskennel.com) owned by Ed and Tasha Stielstra, is located near McMillan in the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan where they run sled dog adventures and educational programs. The Stielstras operate a touring business to teach others the joy of running sled dogs and they speak to thousands of adults and children across the Midwest about the dedication and teamwork it takes to fulfill a dream. For a full page of info click Nature's Kennel.
Crystal Mountain - (800/968-7686 x4000, www.crystalmountain.com) in Thompsonville, MI with 40 km groomed trails. Lessons, and rental equipment for xc, snowshoe and telemark. Children skis and narrow tracks are available. Voted number one in state by Michigan Living readers. Crystal Mountain is a Fischer Key Nordic Center. Day care and a comprehensive list of accommodations and services such as ice skating, hot tub, sauna and swimming pool are available in association with the alpine ski area. Michigan Legacy Art Park at Crystal Mountain is a 30-acre land preservation outdoor art exhibit that celebrates Michigan's history that can be cross country skied or snowshoed on snow covered trails in the winter. The social and historical geographical exhibit features a stockade labyrinth and maze with artifacts from colonial times. CCSAA member
Active Backwoods Retreat (ABR) (906/932-3502, www.skiabr.com) in Ironwood, MI is in the Lake Superior snowbelt. Ironwood is in the northern part of Michigan that is connected to Wisconsin. There are 40 km of groomed trails and 5 km of snowshoe trails. Lessons, xc ski and snowshoe rental equipment are available. CCSAA member
Sunset Cabins ( 906-494-2693, http://sunset.grandmaraismichigan.com) in Grand Marais, MI on the shore of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula offers five different private accommodations. The cabins are on the old Sucker River overlooking the lake and there are 10 miles of trails on the surrounding terrain.
Shanty Creek (800/678-4111, 231/533-8621, www.shantycreek.com) is in Bellaire, MI with 30 km of groomed trails. Lessons, xc ski and snowshoe rental equipment available. Ski through evergreen forests and picnic beside a swift flowing creek. The White Pine Stampede race trail is known for its stretching and bending terrain and is ideal for short strides and long glides. Shanty Creek offers 3 options for accommodations at Summit Village, Schuss Village or Cedar River Village. Received #1 rating for dining in the MidWest by SKI Magazine 2002. Snow Sports Academy program and ski lesson packages are available. Located on M-88 accessed from Routes I-75, US 131 and US 27.
Timber Ridge Nordic Center (800/909-2327, 231/947-2770, www.timberridgecampground.com) in Traverse City, MI with 27 km groomed trails. Lighted trails, too. Lessons and xc ski and snowshoe rental equipment available. Borders 60,000 acres of state land and the Vasa Trail. Timber Ridge has a large lodge with a fireplace, snack service and hot showers.
CedarHurst Lodge (800/250-7501, www.cedarhurstlodge.com) in the central Upper Peninsula is the Northwoods Retreat with 12 km of trails and 200 inches of annual snowfall. The resort is on the Michigamme River and has two lakes on the property. Accommodations include a lodge, two housekeeping cabins and a river cabin.
Birchwood Country Club, 600 Birchwood Dr., Harbor Springs. 14K, three loops. The 3.2-mile loop is mostly flat; the other loops have a few hills for intermediate skiers. Groomed for striding. No fee. (231) 526-2166.
Boyne Highlands Resort, 600 Highlands Dr., Harbor Springs. 35K, 12 loops. Scenic views. Terrain is hilly to flat and offers a variety of options for all levels of skiers. Groomed for skating and striding. Charge for usage. Chairlift access. (231) 526-3000.
Elmer Johnston Preserve: 1.5 miles of ungroomed trails in the Good Hart area which feature some steep slopes. At the hilltop is a view of Lake Michigan. Located off Church Road, one mile east of Good Hart. (231) 347-0991.
Goodhart Farms Preserve: 5.2 miles of groomed trails over flat and hilly terrain in the Good Hart area. Parking off Robinson Road, about 2 miles east of Good Hart. (231) 347-0991.
The Headlands: 4.5 miles of trails in the Mackinaw City area features flat stretches and average hills. 7725 E. Wilderness Park Drive, Mackinaw City. (231) 436-4051.
McCune Preserve: Three miles of ungroomed trails through fairly flat terrain in the Petoskey area. Parking 3/4 mile south on Maxwell Road off Mitchell Road. (231) 347-0991.
North Central Michigan College, 1515 Howard St., Petoskey. 4 miles of ungroomed but packed trails over three loops. Bordering the Bear River, the trails are relatively flat and suitable for beginners. Free. (888) 298-6605.
Nub’s Nob, 500 Nub’s Nob Road, Harbor Springs. 20.8K, two loops. Beginners through advanced skiers can enjoy picturesque trails. Groomed, power-tilled and trackset for skating and striding. 2K loop lit for night skiing. Charge for usage. (231) 526-2131.
Offield Preserve: 3.7 miles of ungroomed trails in the Harbor Springs area. Parking off Quick and Hedrick roads. (231) 347-0991.
Petoskey State Park, 2475 M-119, Petoskey. Three miles of ungroomed trails over two loops. Most of the trails are flat, although there are a few small hills. Suitable for intermediate skiers. Recreation Passport required. (231) 347-2311.
Round Lake Nature Preserve: Less than one mile of trail over two loops, boardwalk and deck on Round Lake. Parking in the Little Traverse Conservancy lot off Powell Road between Harbor Springs and Petoskey. (231) 347-0991.
Trout Creek, 4749 Pleasantview Road, Harbor Springs. 14K, four loops. Skiers of all levels will find a suitable route at Trout Creek. There is a flat beginner loop, an intermediate loop and two loops for the more experienced. No fee. (231) 526-2148.
Wilderness State Park, Wilderness Park Dr., Carp Lake. 7.1 miles of designated trails, with another 18 miles of multi-use trails. There are plans to set tracks this year. The terrain varies, making it a good choice for novice or intermediate skiers. Recreation Passport required. (231) 436-5381.
Wildwood Hills Pathway, Wildwood Road, Petoskey. 15K, three loops. The rolling hills on these trails make it interesting for beginners or intermediate skiers. It’s designed to allow beginners to bypass the most difficult hills. Loops 1 and 2 are double tracked; loop 3 is groomed for skate skiing. No fee; however, donations are accepted. (989) 732-3541.
Avalanche Mountain Preserve trail, corner of Lake and Ann streets, Boyne City. 9K (5.6 miles) of ungroomed trails over four loops. The difficulty ranges from flat terrain good for beginners to steep inclines designed for experienced skiers. Free. (231) 582-6597.
Boyne Mountain Resort, One Boyne Mountain Road, Boyne Falls. 35K, 12 loops. Gliders, skaters and telemark skiers, from beginners to advanced, will find trails that fit their style and skiing ability. Groomed for striding and skating. Charge for usage. Chairlift access. (231) 549-6000.
Charlevoix X-Country Ski Trail, Mount McSauba Road, Charlevoix. 8K, three loops. Panoramic views of Lake Michigan. Suitable for novice to advanced skiers with conditions that can vary from flat ground to steep hills. Groomed for striding and skating. No fee. (231) 547-3253.
Nathan “Barry” Driggers Preserve: 1.5 miles of groomed trails between Horton Bay and Charlevoix. Parking off Boyne City-Charlevoix Road. (231) 347-0991.
Charles A. Ransom Preserve: 1.5 miles of ungroomed trail between Horton Bay and Charlevoix with steep slopes. Views of Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan. Parking off Maple Grove Road. (231) 347-0991.
Springbrook Pathway, Chandler Road, Walloon Lake. 10K, three loops. DNR-maintained trail suitable for novice to intermediate skiers. The most difficult portions of the loop are farthest from the trailhead. Ungroomed. No fee. Take U.S. 131 south from Petoskey to Boyne Falls. Go east on County Road 626 to the turn from the Thunder Mountain downhill resort. Proceed to the end of the road, turn left and the trail will be about one mile on the left. (989) 732-3541
Young State Park, 02280 Boyne City Road, Boyne City. 4.5 miles over three loops trackset when snow permits. One small hill on mostly flat terrain means the area is very accessible for beginners. Recreation Passport required. (231) 582-7523.