Ice Fishing, Cross Country Skiing, Snowmobiling and More in Wisconsin

It’s been mighty cold in Wisconsin this winter, with temperatures dipping to 20 degrees below zero during the last week of December.

But that hasn’t stopped people from camping at Annie’s Campground in Gresham, Wis., where they can enjoy a variety of winter recreation activities, including snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, ice fishing and ice skating.

“I have had people camping every single weekend,” said park owner Annie Retzlaff, adding that her 155-acre campground includes wide open spaces that are perfect for families that are learning how use their snowmobiles. The campground also has two frozen ponds that are each nearly an acre in size, which are ideal for ice fishing and ice skating.

Retzlaff said many of her winter guests are seasonal campers who leave their RVs at the campground and use them as weekend getaway cottages.

Annie’s Campground also has a dozen log cabins and two camping trailers available for rent.

Schatzi’s 4 Seasons Resort in Wascott has two rental cabins that are available during the winter months. The secluded North Woods campground is also home to The Chipmunk Bar & Grill, which offers hearty meals Thursday through Sunday, including barbecued pork ribs, half pound hamburgers and Friday night fish fries.

Schatzi’s 4 Seasons Resort co-owner Michele Johnson said winter activities in Wisconsin’s North Woods include frequent ice fishing tournaments as well as “poker runs,” which are organized events in which snowmobile or ATV enthusiasts visit five to seven establishments. Contestants receive a playing card at each stop. The object of the game is to have the best poker hand at the end of the run. Prizes and food are given to the winner at the last stop.

Other major North Woods events include the American Birkebeiner (www.birkie.com). The Feb. 20-23 event is one of the longest cross-country ski races in North America.

Other Wisconsin campgrounds that are open during the winter months include:

Wisconsin campgrounds that are open during the winter months primarily cater to ice fishing, snowmobiling, snow shoeing and cross-country or downhill ski enthusiasts.

“We have a lot of lakes around us for ice fishing,” said Leland Nelson, who owns Keyes Lake Campground in Florence, Wis. “We’re also close to a lot of the ski hills. There is even a ski hill next door to me. It’s run by the county and is very reasonable.”

Many of Nelson’s winter guests are seasonal campers who leave their RVs at the campground. But he also plows campsites for people just visiting the area.

“We have hot showers and flush toilets in the main lodge. RVers can also get water from the main lodge,” Nelson said, adding that he also has two cabins, two apartments and a trailer for rent.

Nelson said Florence County has numerous winter activities, including ice fishing derbies, ski races as well as the annual Florence County Keyes Peak Snowmobile Hill Climb, a sanctioned race that is scheduled for March 15-16 at Keyes Peak Ski Hill in Florence. More information about winter activities in Florence County is available at www.exploreflorencecountry.org.