Erich and Joyce Ziegler look at Afterglow Lake and Resort while skiing the trails. (Ziegler photo)
By Bill Ziegler for the Iron County Reporter
PHELPS, Wis.— Local Northern winters are much too long to stay inside, and one way to enjoy the winter is to get out and explore this area’s cross country ski trails.
Cross country skiing is great family oriented activity for sightseeing, keeping in shape, training for a ski race like the Birkebeiner or Noquemanon, or just avoiding cabin fever. Unfortunately, finding a well groomed cross country ski trail for the Iron County cross country skier has become more challenging this winter. Due to our late snowfall and cutbacks, several of the trails are closed or not being groomed this season.
A few years ago my family discovered the Afterglow Resort just outside of Iron County, near Phelps, Wis. The trail system is well known to skiers who travel as far as the Minneapolis, Madison and Milwaukee areas for impeccable grooming. The Afterglow Resort is also extremely fortunate that they often get significant lake affect snow just like much of Gogebic County (only a few miles north).
They have 10.8 miles (17.3 km) of varied difficulty cross country ski trails. The trail loops are well set up for both classic and skate skiing and wind through maple and hemlock forests over hills and around lakes. The trail system is a series of loops off a core loop, so you can ski it differently each time you go. You can either avoid more difficult hills or you can pick a series of more challenging trails depending on your ability.
The Afterglow is a favorite of both advanced “Birkebeiner training skiers” and beginners. In addition to outstanding trails they also feature a warm lodge overlooking Afterglow Lake. There is an $8 per day charge for skiing or $50 per year annual pass. If you have questions or you want to check the latest in trail conditions, you can contact the Afterglow Resort at www.afterglowresort.com.