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Cross-country Skiing

It's hard to beat cross-country skiing as a great way to get an invigorating cardiovascular workout. But this healthy activity offers much more than good exercise.

"The home equipment tries to emulate (the workout),'' says Lorraine Garratt, acting executive director of Cross Country Saskatchewan. "But with cross-country skiing, you get to enjoy the scenery and wildlife, too.''

Saskatchewan has some wonderful cross-country ski trails, with some of the most scenic ones located within the boundaries of provincial and national parks. Duck Mountain Provincial Park, near the Manitoba boundary, has groomed trails right on the golf course. The trails and variety of accommodations at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, in the southwest corner of the province, are making the area a favorite among skiers looking for a winter getaway.

To the north, Prince Albert National Park has an extensive system of trails intended for winter use, and back-country camping areas are available to the adventuresome. Lac La Ronge Provincial Park, about two hours north of Prince Albert, is home to more than 60 kms (40 miles) of groomed, cross-country ski trails. The popular Nut Point Trail is lit for evening skiing.

Many Saskatchewan resorts have their own trails, or are located close to trail systems. Whitetail Resort, about 20 minutes northeast of North Battleford, specializes in cross-country skiing and features 40 kms (25 miles) of groomed trails ranging from 'easy' to 'difficult'.

Garratt says a total of eight loppets are held around the province each year. A loppet is a fun, timed event that gives cross-country skiers an opportunity to see how they stack up against others of similar age and ability. The best way to keep in touch with events in any particular area of the province is to join one of the approximately three-dozen cross-country ski clubs and organizations in the province.

Saskatchewan adventure operators offering cross-country skiing accommodations and/or packages include:

Barrier Chaparral Vacation Ranch, Tisdale region. Phone: (306) 873-4595; Fax: (306) 873-4765.

CanoeSki Discovery Company, based in Saskatoon. Phone or fax: (306) 653-5693.

Explore the West Tours, Saskatchewan wide. Phone: (toll free) 1-800-289-9194; Fax: (306) 634-3885.

Historic Reesor Ranch/Western Adventure, Cypress Hills region. Phone or fax: (306) 662-3498.

Horizons Unlimited, La Ronge/Churchill River region. Phone or fax: (306) 635-4420.

Jacobsen Bay Outfitters Ltd., Anglin Lake (adjacent to Prince Albert National Park). Phone: (306) 982-4478; Fax: (306) 982-4489.

Long's Four Season's Resort Ltd., Lac La Ronge Provincial Park. Phone or fax: (306) 425-3332.

Overland CrossCountry Lodge, Denare Beach region of northeast Saskatchewan. Phone or fax: (306) 362-2053.

Paull River Wilderness Camp, north of Lac La Ronge (access by snowmobile). Phone: (306) 747-2862; Fax: (306) 747-3264.

Rainbow Ridge Outfitters, Ile a la Crosse area of northwestern Saskatchewan. Phone: (306) 833-2590; Fax: (306) 833-2668.

Rocky View Lodge Inc., Amisk Lake area of northeastern Saskatchewan. Phone (toll free): 1-888-997-6259; Fax: (306) 362-2443.

Shearwater Properties Ltd., Saskatchewan wide. Phone (toll free): 1-888-747-7572; Fax: (306) 934-7643.

Ship's Lantern Resort Hotel, Candle Lake. Phone (toll free): 1-888-737-6786; Fax: (306) 929-3044.

Snow Castle Lodge, Candle Lake. Phone: (306) 929-2174; Fax: (306)929-2191.

Turtle Lake Lodge, Livelong area. Phone or fax: (306) 845-2555.

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