Monthly Archives: January 2011

January 31, 2011

Cross-country Skiing Basics

How to get started in Wisconsin’s most relaxing winter sport

How do you learn to love winter? Become a cross-country skier. Wisconsin is home to hundreds of outstanding cross-country ski trails, ranging from one-mile loops to 40-mile trail systems. The smooth, easy feeling of gliding through quiet forests and over snow-covered fields is an experience that is hard to describe to the uninitiated. Here’s some basic information about how to get started in the quietest of Wisconsin’s winter sports.

Skiing the northwoods!Classic Versus Skate
When you read about a particular trail or hear cross-country skiers talking, you’ll soon come across two important terms: skate and classic. These refer to the two main styles of cross-country skiing practiced in Wisconsin. Classic-style skiing involves skiing in two grooves carved in the snow by a special trail-grooming machine. Skate-style skiing is done on a smooth-groomed trail using a technique that looks a lot like ice skating.

Which Style to Choose?
While the techniques and equipment used in classic- and skate-style skiing are quite different, many trails in Wisconsin are groomed for both styles of skiing. Most newbie skiers tend toward the older classic-style skiing, which is, not surprisingly, also called traditional-style skiing. If you are someone who has done a great deal of rollerblading or ice skating, you might want to consider skate-style skiing. Both styles of skis and equipment are easy to find. Whichever style you choose, you’ll find hundreds of skiing opportunities in Wisconsin.

Now What Do I Do?
You have your skis. What happens next? You need to learn to use the things. Many cross-country skiers have learned the sport by simply putting on a pair of skis and going out and doing it. You will not become an expert by the end of your first outing, that’s for sure. But if you pay attention to what you’re doing, it won’t take long to see improvement. In the classic-skiing style, most people will quickly pick up the feel of how to shift their body weight and glide along the parallel tracks. And someone with experience in ice skating or rollerblading will have no trouble transferring these movements to their skate skiing. You’ll also find beginner ski classes, which can help to speed up the learning process. But you won’t learn to ski from reading an article like this – you have to go out and do it.

SkisWhere Do I Go?
Finding a trail is easy in Wisconsin. Many trails are groomed for both classic- and skate-style skiing, while some will be groomed for just one of the two styles. And nearly every trail you encounter will have information available about the ability level to which the trail is suited. The most common labels are beginner, intermediate and advanced. These terms are pretty much what they sound like. Beginner trails are relatively flat and should be the first place you should try out your new pair of skis. There are an abundance of beginner trails, and many of them are the most beautiful in Wisconsin. Intermediate trails are a step up, and generally involve some hills and inclines. Advanced trails are challenging, with many hills, twists and turns. Don’t attempt these trails unless you are an expert skier or a masochist.

Addiction Warning
Cross-country skiing is addicting. Once you master the skiing techniques, your outings will become more focused on scenic beauty, wildlife encounters and the joy of moving through a snow-covered landscape. You’ll come to appreciate the many moods of winter. The amount of snowfall, the texture of snow and the length of the winter season will all become vitally important to you. All winter long, you will dream of skiing. And during the summer, you might even long for winter. It’s all part of the addiction. So, before you put on your first ski boot, remember – you might just get hooked.

This entry was posted in Article, Enews on Monday, January 31, 2011.

January 27, 2011

Wisconsin Travel Best Bets Apple iPad Giveaway Contest Rules

Wisconsin Travel Best Bets Apple iPad™ Giveaway Rules

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older as of date of entry. Void wherever prohibited by law. Employees of Wisconsin Travel Best Bets and Midwest Living Magazine, their respective affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and giveaway agencies, and the immediate family members and/or those living in the same household of each are not eligible. By participating, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules and the decisions of Wisconsin Travel Best Bets.

This Giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Midwest Living. You are providing your information solely to Wisconsin Travel Best Bets and not to Facebook or Midwest Living. The information you provide will only be used to select winners for this Giveaway and in the delivery of future promotional and travel-related e-mail from Wisconsin Travel Best Bets. You may opt-out of those e-mails at any time. By entering the Giveaway through the return of the Midwest Living insert, contestants agree to receive free visitors guides from three Wisconsin Travel Best Bets destinations.

HOW TO ENTER: Beginning January 28, 2011 @ 12:00PM (CT) START DATE through May 1, 2011 @ 12:00PM (CT), there are three ways to enter the Giveaway. First, you may enter the giveaway by returning a completed Apple iPad™ Giveaway insert card from the Wisconsin Travel Best Bets insert in the March-April issue of Midwest Living Magazine. Second, you may enter the giveaway by visiting Follow the on-screen instructions by providing all of the required information. Thirdly, visit Wisconsin Travel Best Bets Facebook Page and click on the “Win an iPad™” tab and follow the on-screen instructions by providing all of the required information. Becoming a fan of Wisconsin Travel Best Bets on Facebook is NOT a requirement to enter the Giveaway. You may only enter the Giveaway once: entering the Giveaway through more than one method (on both Facebook and returning an insert, for example) will not increase your chances of winning.

Limit one entry per person/per household. No mechanically reproduced entries of any kind permitted. Incomplete entries are void. Wisconsin Travel Best Bets is not responsible for lost, late, misdirected entries or entries not received. In the event of a dispute over who submitted an online entry, the entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the authorized account holder of the e-mail account identified on the online entry form. The authorized account holder is deemed to be the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, service provider, or online organization responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address.

RANDOM DRAWING: A single grand prize winner will be selected by random drawings on May 15, 2010 from all eligible entries received. Decisions of Wisconsin Travel Best Bets are final on all matters. The winner will be notified by e-mail only and has five business days to respond. If there is no response, an alternate potential grand prize winner will be selected and notified. Odds of winning will depend upon the number of eligible entries received.

PRIZES: One Grand Prize – The grand prize winner will receive a 16GB Apple® iPad™ with Wi-Fi. (ARV: $500). 3G plan, Apple® Care Protection Plan and any additional services, accessories or features are NOT included. Prize will be fulfilled with manufacturer seal packaging. Winner is responsible for care, use and follow up with the manufacturer should any mechanical or software problems arise with the prize. Prize consists of only those items specifically listed as part of the prize. No substitution or transfer/assignment of prize by winner permitted. Fulfillment of the prize may take up to 30 business days after the winners are notified.

Facebook, Midwest Living Magazine and Wisconsin Travel Best Bets, their parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries or agencies are not liable for any losses, injuries, or damages of any kind resulting from acceptance of and/or participation in giveaway. Acceptance of any prize constitutes permission to the Wisconsin Travel Best Bets to use winners’ name, voice, statements, image and likeness for purposes of advertising and trade, in any medium, without further compensation, unless prohibited by law.

TERMS: Wisconsin Travel Best Bets is not responsible for any typographical or other errors in the offering or the announcement of any prize or in the administration of the giveaway, whether caused by computer, technical or human error. Winner assumes all liability and agrees to release and hold Wisconsin Travel Best Bets harmless for any injury or damage caused, or claimed to be caused, by participation in this giveaway or use or redemption of any prize. Wisconsin Travel Best Bets is not responsible for late, lost, damaged, incomplete, illegible, faulty, or incorrect transmissions, incorrect announcements of any kind, technical hardware or software failures of any kind, any damage to any person’s computer related to or resulting from participating in the online portion of the giveaway, lost or unavailable network connections, or failed, incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmission that may limit a user’s ability to participate in the giveaway whether caused by computer, technical or human error. All terms of giveaway shall be construed according to, and any disputes shall be subject to, the laws of the State of Wisconsin. Wisconsin Travel Best Bets reserves the right to cancel or modify the giveaway for any reason, including but not limited to, if fraud, misconduct or technical failures destroy the integrity of the giveaway; or if a computer virus, bug, wireless failure, or other technical problem corrupts the administration, security, or proper administration of the giveaway as determined by Wisconsin Travel Best Bets, in its sole discretion. Wisconsin Travel Best Bets reserves the right to disqualify, freeze or prohibit the participation of an individual if fraud or tampering is suspected, or if the individual fails to comply with any requirement of participation or with any provision in these Official Rules.

SPONSOR: Wisconsin Travel Best Bets: 222 State St., Ste. 400, WI 53703.

© Wisconsin Travel Best Bets. All Rights Reserved.

Apple® and iPad™ are trademarks of Apple Inc. Apple Inc. is not a sponsor of or affiliated with this giveaway.

This giveaway is powered by Pilch & Barnet, Inc. Read the full terms & conditions of use before participating in this giveaway.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized on Thursday, January 27, 2011.

January 21, 2011

Orchids and Antiques

Discover some of Wisconsin’s most interesting retailers

This winter, take a shopping getaway and discover some of Wisconsin’s most eccentric shops and galleries. Nearly every city, town and hamlet has some sort of fascinating store selling something you’d never expect. If you’re a shopper with a sense of adventure, here are two retailers you need to see to believe.

OrchidMid-winter Blooms
You don’t have to trek deep into a sweltering jungle to find orchids. You don’t even have to leave the state. Middleton is home to the Orchids Garden Center & Nursery. This orchid growing greenhouse specializes in nurturing and selling these exquisite plants.

A mid-winter visit to the Orchids Garden Centre, located at 4823 Highway Q just outside Middleton, is a great way to warm up your senses. You’ll see a number of varieties of orchids; yellow, red, white and violet blooms greet you. The warmth of the greenhouse makes you forget it’s still winter outside.

While choosing which of the breathtaking plants to take home might be a challenge, you can rest assured that you’ll leave with some basic knowledge to help you care for your botanical beauty. The staff at Orchids Garden Center pride themselves on helping customers understand the basics of caring for their purchase. You’ll leave a true convert to the exciting world of orchids.

Learn about more interesting Middleton retailers at

General-StoreTime Warp
Head to Black River Country for a journey back to the early 20th century. The Merchant General Store, located at 216 Main Street in downtown Black River Falls, is probably the closest you can get to the old-fashioned general store of yesteryear.

Equal parts antiques dealer and candy shop, visitors to the Merchant General Store will have trouble figuring out what to look at first. Antiques and handmade items fill the space, built in 1912. There are classic toys and puzzles, Amish-made furniture, jewelry, soaps and lotions, home décor and more.

The store is also the perfect place to savor the flavors of the past. Ice cream, specialty sodas and an array of candy tempt the sweet tooth. It’s impossible to leave this charming little store without a smile.

Find more unique Black River Country shops and antiques dealers at


January 21, 2011

Four Must-Ski Trails

In a state blessed with great cross-country ski trails, these are the very best

Cross-country skiing is an obsession for many across the Badger State. There are thousands of miles of cross-country ski trails and trail systems in Wisconsin.

Whether you’re a diehard cross-country skier or just someone who likes go on an outing or two each year, these four trails are not going to disappoint.

Cross Country Skier - WisconsinSisters’ Farm Trail – Rusk County
Located along a wide bend in the Flambeau River, this trail is among Wisconsin’s finest. Sisters’ Farm Trail provides 12 kilometers of groomed trails and wonderful scenery along one of Wisconsin’s most famous riverways. The trails here are maintained for both classical and skate skiing. The trail ratings range from beginner level to expert.

Find more Rusk County trail information at

Black River State Forest Ski Trails – Black River Country
The Black River State Forest cross-country ski trails are among the Midwest’s finest. Seven loops and trail links total 24 miles of incredible cross-country skiing. The ski trails are groomed for both diagonal and skate skiing. For expert skiers, the Ridge, Norway Pine and Wildcat trails offer steep climbs, but the reward for your effort is incredible views.

Get complete trip planning information for Black River Country at

Cross Country Skiing - WisconsinMadeline Trail – Oneida County
This 16.5-mile Oneida County trail is a gem. The trail loops traverse some of northern Wisconsin’s most beautiful forests. Best of all, the terrain is gentle, with just a few rolling hills, making it accessible to skiers of all ability levels. This trail is located in a region that gets outstanding snowfall during the winter, making it a dependable ski destination. This groomed trail requires a trail pass, which can be purchased at the trailhead.

Find more Oneida County cross-country skiing options at

Blue Hills Trail System – Rice Lake
Just a few miles north of Rice Lake, you’ll find the famous Birkebeiner race course, famous among cross-country skiers the world over. Less famous, however, is the Blue Hills area east of Rice Lake. But when it comes to cross-country skiing, the Blue Hills are second to none. This rolling landscape of forests offers 35 kilometers of the best cross-country ski trails in Wisconsin. Both skating and classical style skiing are accommodated, with trails available for every ability level.

For more information on ski trails in the Rice Lake area, visit


January 17, 2011

Thank You!

Thank you for signing up for the Wisconsin Travel Best Bets e-newsletter and entering the iPad Giveaway Contest.

Start planning your perfect trip now. Go to for current Wisconsin travel information, from upcoming events to the season’s best travel opportunities.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized on Monday, January 17, 2011.