Nine Mile Forest Cross Country Skiing

Wisconsin Skis: Nine Mile Forest

Nine Mile Forest is a gem of a ski trail tucked away in the rolling hills near Wausau, Wisconsin. The trail boasts of nearly 30km of great grooming, a huge lodge with dual fireplaces and lights for those night skiers. 

Two weeks before the Birkie, and I needed to get one more good ski in. The forecast was calling for 40 degree weather in Madison, so I headed north hoping that Wausau’s snow could hold out a bit longer.

Luckily, I arrived at Nine Mile Forest in Wausau to find plenty of fantastically groomed snow. This was my first time skiing at Nine Mile. I had worked at the park years ago for Special Olympics Wisconsin State Winter Games and knew of the trail’s great reputation. 

The lodge at the trailhead is huge and full of amenities. The staff was cheerful and I was happy to pay the $15 daily trail fee while I glanced at the freshly laid corduroy pattern in the snow. 

The trail is both well marked and confusing. There is a marked 20K trail, but sections of it criss cross itself and I found myself taking a wrong turn and doing the end of the trail first. I returned to the lodge, removed a layer of clothing (having dressed way too warm for a 35 degree ski) and headed back out. 

The longer stretch of the 20K loop was marvelous. There were tons of rolling hills decorated with mixes of white birch, oak and evergreen trees. All of the hills on this loop were very wide and manageable so I always felt in control.

There were a few sections of the trail that forked with no marking of which way to take. The second time I ran into this, it was clear that these were just hill bypasses. Just a “choose your own adventure” style of skiing or skipping some of the hills. 

Although there were a ton of skiers at Nine Mile and a snowmobile trail connecting near the lodge, the woods far out in the 20k loop were peaceful and picturesque.