“The cross-country ski industry is expecting a significant increase in skiers this season, based on the increased interest in outdoor activities,” says Reese Brown, executive director of the Cross Country Ski Areas Association. But don’t worry: there’s plenty of room for everyone to spread out. If you’ve never considered cross-country skiing before, this might be the winter you do. It’s a good way to get outside and explore local areas, and it’s naturally a crowd-free activity. While you can ski through the woods on your own, a designated cross-country ski area comes with grooming, trail maps, gear rental, and instruction. Either way, picture empty trails through a wide-open forest and, unlike downhill ski resorts, little in the ways of lines, lodges, and costly tickets. Here are seven of our favorite places to enjoy this sport.