Outdoor Winter Activities Guide 2015

Activities to help you fall back in love with winter.
Cross country skiing is an excellent cardiovascular workout.

Snowshoeing: Slower in pace, this pastime invites us to take a look around; it’s perfect for those clear, bright winter days.

  • Where: Richardson Nature Center at Hyland Park has designated trails, rentals ($5) and instructional classes.
  • Tip: Wear proper footwear. Your feet are going to sink in the snow and you’re going to want boots.
  • Trail: There are three short trails—the Prairie Trail, Oak Trail and Aspen Trail—near Richardson Nature Center, which can be connected for a nice two-mile snowshoe.

Cross-country Skiing: This activity is for those looking to get their heart pumping.

  • Where: Hyland Park visitor centers offers equipment rentals ($11 for adults; $7 for kids), group lessons and private lessons. Passes are required for skiers age 12 and up and are available at the visitor centers or online.
  • Tip: Don’t over-dress. Start with lighter clothes, because it’s a great workout and you’ll sweat.
  • Trail: Try the Osprey Trail right outside the Richardson Nature Center.

Downhill Skiing: From bunny hills to black diamonds, there’s something for everyone.

  • Where: Hyland Park has equipment rental packages ($22) and many options for day and season passes.
  • Tip: Check out “First Tracks” on Tuesday through Thursday mornings from 9:30 a.m. to noon; “Weekend Nights Under the Lights,” on Fridays from 7 p.m. to close and Saturday/Sunday from 6 p.m. to close ($15).
  • Hill: The Big Foot run is tucked away in the trees and will make you feel as if you’re up in North Country.

Skating; You don’t have to look beyond Edina for great rinks.

  • Where: Edina has 12 skating rinks, including Arden, Creek Valley, Highlands, Normandale, Strachauer and Walnut Ridge.
  • Tip: Thanks to Sarah Miller, an Edina resident who spearheaded a skate-donation program, Cornelia, Countryside, Lewis, Pamela and Weber warming houses offer free skate rentals.
  • Our Pick: Centennial Lakes is a cozy spot to skate, featuring indoor and outdoor fireplaces.

Sledding: When you’re speeding down the hill, the rush of cold air happiness is all that matters.

  • Where: Arneson Acres, Hyland Park Reserve, Lake Cornelia Park
  • Tip: Follow previous sled tracks a few times over; the packed snow will carry you down faster.
  • Suggested Hill: Edina resident Ellen Rohman says her favorite childhood sledding memories are from Cornelia School Park, “Haystack Hill is easily the best hill in Edina.”

Skijoring: Think dogsledding meets cross country skiing.

  • Where: Cleary Lake Park. Cross-country ski pass required ($5/day, $50/season).
  • Tip: Though skijoring hasn’t picked up enough yet for rentals, all equipment needed is available at REI.
  • Trail: Cleary Lake’s 2.5k golf course loop is a perfectly sized route.

Fat Biking: One of the fastest-growing winter activities gets its name from the extra-thick tires used.

  • Where: Two popular Twin Cities parks for fat-bikers are Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove and Murphy-Hanrehan Park in Savage. Brookview Golf Course in St. Louis Park opened new trails this winter and offers on-site fat bike rentals.
  • Tip: Angry Catfish Bicycle Shop and Coffee Bar in Minneapolis offers fat bike rentals, as does Tonka Cycle & Ski in Hopkins.
  • Trail: Elm Creek has groomed trails making for an easier ride.


Three Rivers Park District parks: threeriversparks.org

Hyland Park Reserve Visitor Center: 763.694.7687

Richardson Nature Center: 763.694.7676

Hyland Ski & Snowboard Area: 763.694.7800

Skating: edinamn.gov