Ever wonder what it'd be like to swish through deep snow on skis, or clomp across the top of the white stuff in snowshoes?

Both techniques are, without a doubt, much easier than wallowing through a snowbank in snowboots.

Saturday offers a chance to try out both these wintertime activities thanks to Winter Trails Day at .

The day is a nation-wide initiative that promotes participation in outdoor winter sports by offering free rentals of snowshoes and cross country skis.

andquot;Cross country skiing and snowshoeing offer individuals and entire families a way to get outdoors in the winter, have fun and get some exercise,andquot; said Dick Knowles, Nordic director. andquot;The best way to learn these activities is through a program like Winter Trails. We're ready to make the first experience with these activities an enjoyable and memorable one.andquot;

The event lasts from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Anthony Lakes. To participate, visit the Nordic Center, located just before the ski area. Equipment and instruction will be available on a limited basis, so advanced reservations are required by calling 856-3277, Ext. 31.

Promoters of Winter Trails Day hope to generate interest from hikers and walkers, women, families, children, and those who have no winter sport.

A major focus of the day is to showcase the health benefits of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing as low-impact aerobic activities that incorporate strength and endurance training.

Snowshoeing burns about 544 calories per hour, and cross country skiing at a moderate pace (4 mph) burns the same, according to the Web site

There's not much of a learning curve with snowshoeing, other than strapping on the shoes. Modern snowshoes are narrow and plastic, and bear no resemblance to those big contraptions made of wooden frames and rawhide. There's no need to widen your normal stride when walking on snowshoes.

Cross country skiing might take a bit more practice, and short lessons will be offered Saturday to get people started.

To read a first-person account of hitting the nordic trails, log on to and scroll down to Becky Brown, the resort's marketing director, decided to visit the Nordic Center for a change of pace from snowboarding.

Her advice? Don't wear a down coat both cross country skiing and snowshoeing generate a lot of body heat, so it's best to dress in layers that can be easily shed as you get warm.