BEST PLACE TO CROSS-COUNTRY SKI Minneapolis 2001 - Lebanon Hills
We don't have the knees to be graceful downhill-ski bunnies. But we can handle ourselves fairly well on cross-country trails. And a favorite spot for testing our elements is Lebanon Hills Regional Park, where miles of beginning, intermediate, and downright difficult trails can be accessed from trailheads at Jensen, Holland, and Shulze lakes. The latter spot is the busiest during the winter. We figure that's because it offers a warming house on weekends; there, clumsy folks can fumble around on the same starter loop that their more fit friends use to "warm up." Having spent that quality time together, those who are worn out can head for the heated restrooms before flopping down in the warming house for cocoa. Meanwhile the ambitious can zoom off down 11 miles of winding trail, where--sliding effortlessly among the sleeping elms and cottonwoods--they will hear only the chirping of birds. Maps are available at all three trailheads and parking is free. The park is open from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily, but call ahead to get an update on trail conditions. And don't forget the sunscreen.