As I snowshoe on the Ringle Trail in the Nine Mile County Forest, I can hear a soft crunch of footsteps; I have a sudden urge to scoop the fresh snow and create a good old snowball. It had snowed copiously the day before, and the powder is soft, thick and like a down blanket. A complete stillness permeates the forest, and all I can hear at the intersection of the cross country trail is the whisper-like swoosh of the cross-country skiers who whizz past. It feels like a scene from It's a Wonderful Life.
Wausau, Wisconsin is not exactly the region you may think of for a winter vacation, especially if you're a skiing or snowboarding junkie. But, Marathon County is filled with so much fresh powder, lodging and dining options that it is an ideal weekend vacation for both the rookie and advanced skier, and there are not too many places in the country that offer such excellent terrain for both levels.
I was glad to finally find a ski town where non-skiers can feel right at home. If you're into culture, one step into the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum will make you want to spend the rest of the day there. One of the largest collections of indoor avian art in the world, the Woodson Art Museum, is worth a plane ticket to Wausau alone, with the nearby Northwoods and popular craft breweries as icing on the cake.
This Central Wisconsin county touts itself as an ideal three-day weekend destination, and it is filled with plenty to do, especially for families who are partial to fresh powder and night-time outdoor activities. For those who covet more chalet time, lodge at the Northwoods Themed Water Park hotel Grand Lodge and indulge in some good, old-fashioned water slides.