Skiers embrace the snow at Theodore Wirth Park

Updated: December 14, 2019 07:33 PM

Theodore Wirth Park was packed on Saturday as cross-country skiers took advantage of the snow.

Thanks to steady snow accumulation, nearly every natural ski trail is open at Minneapolis's largest park, which will host the FIS Cross-Country World Cup in March.


“The conditions are great, it’s very fun to be outside today,” Minneapolis resident Diane Rafats said.

She’s been skiing for years and joins the Loppet Ski Club on Saturday mornings.

“This year the snow has been good,” said Rafats. “Sometimes we can't get out here at all on the front nine golf course because there's not enough snow and we have to stick with the manmade.”

"I hope it stays in the 20s all winter, with lots of snow," she said.

Ski rentals at the Trailhead have increased as snow piles up outside. Trailhead facilities manager Ben Bauch told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the wintry weather has helped ticket sales as well.

“It’s been fantastic,” he said. “We're heading towards record ski pass sales for Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.”

The rush started early in the fall.

“In October we had a couple of snowflakes coming down and we already had that day people coming in to buy their ski passes. We kind of had to pump the breaks on them a little bit,” Bauch said. “Once we got our first dump of snow, we were out there trying to roll it and capture it on the ground so it was skiable as soon as possible.”

The conditions have been so good it’s enticing first-time skiers out onto the trails.

“It’s beautiful,” said Joe Lochner from Waupaca, Wisconsin. “It's perfect, cold and lots of snow.”

Lochner and his friend Seth Ristow went out for a couple of hours.

“It’s great,” Ristow said. “It’s not very fun shoveling, but it’s good skiing.”

They’re encouraging others to get outdoors.

“I think people should get out and embrace it,” Lochner said. “There's lots of activities in the cities, go out and find them.”

Ristow added, “Get out and ski.”

Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board said it will also have 47 recreation centers open this winter with indoor activities. 


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Callan Gray

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