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Winter Sports & Activities

Experience the Northwoods all dressed up in a gown of white!  If you have wondered about where to go in Winter to find fun, adventure, peace, solitude, and snow… well, wonder no more!  Rice Lake, Wisconsin and the surrounding area has it all.  

winter landscape at sunset

Whether you prefer downhill skiing, cross country, snow tubing or maybe even snowshoeing, the Rice Lake area has something for you — and generally only a short drive from Rice Lake. The numerous outdoor areas will provide plenty of great scenery, as well as several levels of challenges.  Check out the following Wintertime Activities:

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On the Ski Slopes

Aside from the other numerous winter treats available, some of the best downhill skiing in the Midwest can be found in northwest Wisconsin — very close by to Rice Lake.

downhill skier

Christie Mountain (Bruce, WI)

About a half-hour east of Rice Lake, you can ski and/or Snowboard on a wide variety of terrain, from easier trails to double black diamonds providing two cliff jumps to test your courage. Longest run: 4000'; 350' vertical drop.

On the Cross Country Trails

Located in northwest Wisconsin, Rice Lake in Barron County is a modern city of about 9,000 residents. Although it most certainly is a perfect and very convenient destination-hub for snowmobiling and plenty of other winter recreation, the cross-country trails in the area are some of the best you will find.

Barron Area Nordic Trail Association

The trail is located on the south side of the City of Barron, Wisconsin, just south of the High School football field. 3.3K of lighted trail.

Blue Hills Ski Trails

The Rice Lake area really kicks into high gear during the winter. Just east of town, you can challenge yourself on the rolling terrain of the beautiful Blue Hills ski trail system. Here you will encounter some of the best cross-country ski trails in the Midwest.

little girl behind sister in snowy winter landscape of giant mountains on cross-country-ski

Timberland Hills

Located about 35 minutes from Rice Lake, in Barronette, WI, and situated on 2400 wooded acres of Burnett County forest land, Timberland Hills boasts of 30 km of trails, offering a year-round trail system for a variety of non-motorized activities.


A Word About the Birkie

Debuting in 1973, The American Birkebeiner ("The Birkie"), is by far the largest cross-country skiing event in North America, and also one of the longest. The race consists of two premier events: the 50 km skate, and the 55 km classic race. Both run from from from Cable to Hayward, Wisconsin. The race now attracts roughly 13,000 participants.

Snowmobile Through the Woods

The Rice Lake area offers more than 250 miles of groomed snowmobile trails that meander through Barron County. These trails include the surrounding forests of the Blue Hills to the east of Rice Lake, and also an incredible network of trails in the nearby Rusk County forests that continue north into Sawyer County. So much snow, so little time!

snowmobile and pine trees

Tuscobia State Trail​

The Tuscobia State Trail is a 76-mile route heading east from Rice Lake, all the way to Park Falls, WI.

Wild Rivers Trail

There is the Wild Rivers Trail that heads north from Rice Lake’s city limits, taking snowmobilers almost 100 miles, all the way to Superior, WI.

snowmobilers at sunset

Blue Hills Area

And there is much, much more in-between, including the surrounding forests of the Blue Hills to the east of Rice Lake!

And… There is also an incredible network of trails in the nearby Rusk County forests that continue north into Sawyer County.​

On the Ice

A 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife study found that nearly 2 million people go out ice fishing every year, and spend a cumulative 38 million days and $178 million on ice fishing equipment annually!

ice fishing on bucket

By Yourself

Winter is a great time of the year to enjoy the serenity of a frozen lake. Just you, the frozen water, and the quiet of the morning...

In a Portable Ice Shanty

Sometimes the warmth of a small shanty is just what you need to protect you from the elements!

ice shanty and cars on rice lake

In a Permanent Shed

A larger and more permanent structure can be left in place over a hot spot. Just drive up, step inside and get ready for some action!

Small group of cars, pick-up trucks and ice shanties on the ice

It May Take a (Small) Village

Maybe word has gotten out about a strong bite... Bring on the brats & beers and celebrate the coming catch -- there's plenty for everyone!

Time to Chill out and Relax!

After a day on the snow-packed hills, the fresh powder trails, the ice, or maybe indoors at the skating rink, trying some curling, or several other possible activities, it’s time to kick back and relax! Or, just maybe there is still time and there are a few things you’d still like to do to round out your daylight-shortened day!​

At the end of the day, Rice Lake has everything a snowmobiler, skier, snowboarder or ice fisherman could want, including several excellent hotels where you can lay your head, and many area restaurants where you can end your perfect day with a great meal!.​

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Visit Rice Lake Design Team

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We became full-time residents of the City of Rice Lake in 2021. It has been our goal and desire to contribute and give back to the City in a manner that will be as helpful as possible. It is also our goal to dedicate our efforts – and a steadily progressing and growing website – to the people and businesses of Rice Lake, Wisconsin.

Yvonne & Richard