They're in the basement now, but my cross-country skis will see the light of day soon, when we get more than a dusting of snow. The wait offers at least one advantage: a chance to ponder where I'll glide (and stumble) along the trails this year.
Fortunately, plenty of online sites can help with planning -- and daydreaming.
Right about now, the Women's Wellness Weekend, Feb. 2-5, at the cross-country ski paradise known as Maplelag in Callaway, Minn., sounds pretty appealing (info at www.maplelag.com). I learned about it at www.skinnyski.com, a handy site with a hodgepodge of information on trail conditions, training opportunities, gear swaps and races throughout the Upper Midwest.
At the Explore Minnesota site (www.ex ploreminnesota.com), click on the "snow sports" link under the "things to do" tab to search for trails, outfitters and events by city.
The best source for skinny-ski trails in state parks and forests is the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website. Its section devoted to the winter sport (www.dnr.state.mn.us/skiing) links to a map and a list of all the ski trails, as well as other resources such as the Duluth and North Star ski clubs and the two sites noted above. You'll also find information on the Minnesota Ski Pass (required for skiers age 16 or older on state trails). Click on "snow conditions" for details on trails throughout the state; late last week I read this report out of Tettegouche State Park, in the northeast: "Not enough snow yet to do anything. Some great photo opportunities though."
Perhaps by now, that's changed. If so, my daydreams will soon give way to day trips.
Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Twitter @kerriwestenberg.