Yes, it's wintertime in Chicago, and, yes, it blows most of the time. If your flight to Vail for your annual ski trip has been nixed (either because of the iffy economy or the awful weather), pack up your poles and put on your parka and head out to west suburban Wheaton where you can cross-country ski (and take advantage of a Midwestern winter) at Arrowhead Golf Club.
You'll be traversing through the property's bucolic 221-acre, 27-hole golf course, which is surrounded by trees and waterways. It might not be the Colorado countryside, but it's certainly scenic, and it's about 30 minutes outside of downtown Chicago. After an afternoon of shushing through the snow, you can warm up at the Clubhouse, which features the Arrowhead Restaurant & Bar, a golf pro shop, an indoor golf learning center and spacious locker rooms.
Now through March 31, Arrowhead is sweetening the deal with a free hot chocolate with the purchase of a ski rental package (two hours are $10 for adults and $7 for kids 12 and under). You can even get your gear here: Arrowhead offers rentals of skis ($7), boots ($5) and poles ($3). Now all you need is gas money.