Calling all skate and classic cross-country skiers — stride some of the top trails not just in Michigan or the Midwest, but in the entire country! Ironwood’s ABR Ski Trails in the western Upper Peninsula was voted the No. 3 Best Cross-Country Ski Resort in the United States by USA Today’s 10Best. It’s a well-deserved claim to fame in Michigan’s Snow Country.
AN EXCEPTIONAL CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING EXPERIENCE
The winter scenery in the 1,100 acres of the Montreal River Valley is incredible. Its varied terrain on the 46.5-mile (75 km) Nordic trails will entice you to keep going on and on to see its wow-worthy beauty. Choose your outdoor adventures on 37.3 miles (60 km) of groomed skate/classic combination and singletrack classic-only trails, 8 miles (13 km) of snowshoeing trails plus multi-use/dog-pulled skijoring trails, too.
This ski touring center has a heated warming cabin with light concessions and a full-service ski shop, changing rooms, indoor restrooms, wax benches, and tables and chairs to accommodate teams and groups. Lodgings are available trailside and in nearby Ironwood so you can spend days doing what you love best in the winter.
WHEN IS SKI SEASON
ABR Ski Trails typically are open from mid-November to late March. Temperatures in these months are comfortably cold during the day, ranging from average highs of mid-20 to mid-30 degrees Fahrenheit. Nights are chillier with average lows of 8 to 18 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the ABR weekly snow conditions report for updates.
SKIING IS A WAY OF LIFE HERE
These award-winning trails began over 40 years ago on the Anderson homestead where skiing and snowshoeing are more than recreational activities but a winter way of life. The early trails were carved from the wilderness with a bow saw and an ax. Dave Anderson, a skiing enthusiast since 1943 and his son Eric, born into the skiing culture in 1969, transformed their passion into a thriving business that Eric and his wife Angela now run.
In 1995, the Andersons officially opened the privately owned ABR Ski Trails (ABR stands for Active Backwoods Retreats). Initially, they groomed the trails with a Ski-doo Alpine and a four-foot Tidd Tech. The skiing fee was a mere $4 and was based on an honor system at a three-sided sign-in booth. Now they offer daily and season passes and use state-of-the-art grooming equipment to ensure one of the 10 most amazing cross-country skiing experiences in the U.S.
The recent accolade by USA Today’s readers is not just a recognition of the exceptional facilities and services but is a celebration of the Anderson family’s passion, commitment and desire to share the fantastic outdoor fun of the Upper Peninsula.
HOME OF THE ANNUAL SISU SKI FEST
Some of the most exciting cross-country skiing races occur in early January on the ABR Ski Trails during the annual SISU Ski Fest. The festival has something for every ski level. Receive racer gifts when you complete the 5K Hauska Hiihto Fun Race or turn up your adrenaline in the 15K Heikki Lunta Ski Race. But to prove your grit, compete with some of the best Nordic skiers to be the first to cross the “Finnish” line in the 30K SISU Marathon Race.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
Cross-country skiing on the ABR Ski Trails is a premier winter memory-maker for the whole family. It’s one of two other recent USA Today 10Best Readers Choice winners — The Best Destination for Snow in the U.S. and Mount Bohemia, The Best Ski Resort in North America.
Before you visit the ABR Ski Trails, review these winter trip planning tips. Then see what other nearby cross-country skiing trails you can add to your custom itinerary. The U.P. has hundreds of miles of trails waiting for you to click your boots into your skis and explore what the BEST in the U.S. offers!