Winter Trails Day, now in its 14th year, is Saturday, Jan. 10, at a number of locations across the upper Midwest.  The event takes place at over 100 locations across the northern tier of the U.S. and southern Canada and offers children and adults new to snow sports a chance to try snowshoeing and cross-country skiing for free on that day. Thousands of people have been introduced to the liberating feeling of getting out on a pair of skis of snowshoes during winter thanks to the annual event.

Five locations in the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan will be hosting Winter Trails Day, as well as four in Minnesota and one in Wisconsin.  Frankly, given the breadth of cross-country locations scattered across the Badger State and history with the American Birkie, it surprises me that only one place is hosting the event in Wisconsin.  It seems to work in attracting new enthusiasts to snow sports.

Michigan events are being held at Cross Country Ski Headquarters, near Roscommon, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with clinics, tours, and hot dogs, hot cocoa and a bonfire at Trapper's Cabin; Crystal Mountain, advance registration required by calling (231) 378-20000 extension 4000; Hartwick Pines State Park, near Grayling, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. will host a snowshoe event only with demonstrations, guided hikes, clinics, and children's activities; The Homestead, near Glen Arbor, will be hosting snowshoe and cross-country tours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Shanty Creek Resort will be hosting events from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Events being hosted in Minnesota include a couple along the Gunflint Trail, one in the north central portion and one near the Twin Cities.  The Bearskin Lodge, located along the Gunflint will be hosting events from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. with beginner lessons scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Nearby Golden Eagle Lodge will be hosting events from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Reservations are required, which can be made by calling (800) 346-2203.  Shingobee Hills Recreation Area, located near Walker, will be hosting events from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  This is the site of the Gopher State's first downhill ski area, which was cleared by the CCC.  The historic chalet is still the day lodge.  Fort Snelling State Park, located near the Twin Cities, will be hosting demos, classes, and activities from 1-4 p.m.

The lone Wisconsin event will be at Devils Head Resort from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Pre-registration is required by calling (800) 472-6670 extension 4.

Remember cabin fever is a preventable disease, but you have to make the effort to get outside.  You won't be sorry.