Local box and sporting goods stores have a large selection of sleds and toboggans, even “kids” beginner level snowboards. What has been missing since the Sportsman at 5th and Main closed is a steady source of X-country ski equipment.
If you don't already have your own skis, renting equipment before buying is a good idea. Lake County Parks have 3 sites which have X-country ski rentals (link). The 2 closest sites, Leroy and Crown Point, are about 1.5 hours’ drive time from SR26 & I65. Call ahead to make sure they are open as rental concessions depend on the weather. Remember Lake County is on Chicago time. Indiana state parks and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore have ceased their former ski rental programs.
Before you go, check out the video “Cross Country Skiing, the ultimate fitness sport” from the West Lafayette Library. This 90 minute video has some excellent tips. (Note, the video is in storage so you will have to call ahead)
Dress in layers as you may work up a sweat and need to take some layers off. You should have snow goggles. These can be purchased locally or online, $20 and up. Dick's, Gander Mountain and Hodson's Bay have good selections of cold weather gear.
Once you decide that X-country is something you want to invest in, Lake County is again your closest option for purchase. Merrillville, US 30, stores in and near Southlake Mall are good options (link). If you are in the area, Michigan City and South Bend also have sporting goods stores which carry X-country equipment. Obviously, Michigan stores are another option, if you’re in the area.
Continued on part 2.