The Midwest offers an array of different winter sports within a drivable distance of the Chicago area—if you know where to look. Try something new this winter at one of these locations.
The death-defying ski jump is a thrilling spectator sport, and at the Norge Ski Club (Fox River Grove, IL) on the banks of the Fox River, you can either watch world-class jumpers take off on a 70-meter hill, or start learning the basics yourself on shorter hills.
This exciting Olympic sport is a cousin to the bobsled. The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex (Muskegon, MI) provides an 850-foot track, allowing individual riders to achieve speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. All equipment is provided for this beginners’ course, and sessions are booked for groups in 2.5-hour blocks.
Multiple venues in the Midwest allow you to take classes in speed-skating, which combines the grace and power of figure-skating with the fierceness of competitive
racing. Classes and open ice are available at the Evanston Speed Skating Club (Evanston, IL), Glen Ellyn Speedskating Club (Glen Ellyn, IL) and Pettit National Ice Center (Milwaukee, WI), which is considered the epicenter of the national sport.
The biathlon is an unusual combination of events—cross-country skiing and rifle shooting—that makes for both an aerobic workout and skills challenge. The McMiller Sports Center (Eagle, WI) offers clinics and events, as well as hosting the Wisconsin Biathlon Cup.