Point those cross-country skis to Petoskey Brewing Co. for a well-earned pint. Hat hair allowed. 

Cross-country skiing is an energizing way to enjoy the snowdrifts and arctic climes of a Michigan January. A favorite spot for a day trip is Petoskey State Park, just off M119, northeast of Petoskey. Look forward to wide, groomed trails that stretch the entirety of the property with outlets to pristine views of Little Traverse Bay. If the snow cover is ample, skiers also have the option to link up on the Little Traverse Wheelway at the southern tier of the park and then work back northward for a refreshing detour: a bite and a pint. Glide into Petoskey Brewing Co. for your pick from a dozen-plus seasonal offerings on tap and fantastic burgers.


There are two methods of cross-country skiing—skate and classic. Skate utilizes a lateral push movement, similar to ice-skating, and requires more effort and coordination. Classic is generally a better introduction to the sport as the participant takes advantage of plodding in set grooves (if on a groomed trail).

The method for classic style is a “kick, stride, glide” motion, also known as the “diagonal stride” with the arms and legs moving in tandem as you propel along. The first step is the shuffle, moving forward with skis parallel to one another and establishing a rhythm. Next is to integrate a “kick,” which is the push off that generates the momentum. Finally, progressively transfer more weight to the ski that is sliding to experience the “glide” of the process. Keep knees slightly bent, lean forward and work on creating a rhythm that also synchronizes with the poles moving opposite to one another, similar to jogging. It will take some practice to establish coordination—so keep at it.


Petoskey’s Bahnhof Sport and Traverse City’s Brick Wheels offer daily ski rentals. For attire: layering is key with a synthetic base layer, possible mid-layer and a wind-blocking shell.

Andrew VanDrie writes from Traverse City. [email protected]

Photo(s) by Andrew VanDrie