Your guide to winter sports in Middleton

Nobody wants to be stuck inside all winter — thankfully, there are some great places to play in the snow (or on the ice) in…

Nobody wants to be stuck inside all winter — thankfully, there are some great places to play in the snow (or on the ice) in Middleton. Here’s a quick guide to some of the area’s outdoor recreation options.

A great place to get out and take in the scenery for cross-country skiing is at CXC Outdoor Recreation and Sports Center (CXC Center) near Pleasant View Golf Course. Trails are groomed for both skating and diagonal striding and with an artificial snow maker, trails are open throughout winter. Facilities are open Dec. 1, 2022 through March 13, 2023, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Use of the cross-country ski trail system requires the purchase of a trail pass (December-March only). City of Middleton residents receive a 50 percent discount by purchasing tickets at City Hall or via online. Only cross-country skiing is allowed on the cross-country ski trail system.

Check in for updates on trail conditions here and download a printable cross-country ski map here.

Blackhawk Ski Area is a private club with classic and skate trails, ski jumps, downhill runs, and snowmaking. West of Madison, 10118 and 10222 Blackhawk Road, Middleton.

Mountain biking can also be done on the trails at CXC Center and is free.

Snowshoeing is welcome on park and Pheasant Branch Conservancy trails and there will also be a designated snowshoe trail at the CXC Outdoor Recreation & Sports Center (which broke ground fall 2021), located near Pleasant View Golf Course. In order to protect the revitalized prairie landscape in the conservancy, snowshoeing is not allowed off trails and cross-country; it is also not allowed on the golf course.

The city of Middleton also has groomed trails at Lakeview Park, open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For the latest conditions, visit the Madison Nordic Ski Club website (click on “Trail Conditions” under Trails in the top menu).

A short drive from Middleton, visitors will find Governor Nelson State Park, a scenic spot on the north shore of Lake Mendota. In the winter, more than 5 miles of the park’s hiking trails are tracked for diagonal skiers and groomed for skate skiers. Most of the trails are easy to moderate in difficulty, and some have hills with challenging turns. The multiuse trail is also open to snowshoers and leashed pets (including skijoring). A daily park pass is $8 for Wisconsin residents and $11 for out-of-staters.

Another great spot for a winter hike or snowshoe is the 549-acre Pheasant Branch Conservancy on the north side of Middleton. Trek up to the top of Frederick’s Hill for a panoramic view of your surroundings, including Lake Mendota to the south and east and Madison and the state Capitol across the water.

Several of Middleton’s parks have ice skating facilities, including Parkside Heights Park (3300 Northbrook Drive); Meadows Park (6415 South Avenue); Stricker Pond (7605 Voss Parkway); Tiedeman Pond (1500 N Gammon Road); Middleton Hills Pond (6867 Frank Lloyd Wright Avenue); and Esser Pond (corner of John Q Hammons Drive and Deming Way). The parks are flooded and maintained as weather allows, check the City of Middleton’s site for updates.

Additionally, there are open skate times at Capitol Ice Arena.