Snow excites Central Minnesota nordic skiers
For some, the novelty of a snow-filled winter wears thin after the holidays, but for Nordic skiers, all the snow has been a blessing.
Some of the region's premiere trails include Graystone in St. Cloud, Warner Lake Park near St. Augusta, Quarry Park & Nature Preserve in Waite Park and Mississippi River County Park near Sartell. All have recently been groomed.
There are also plenty of events statewide for skiers. One will be the Sons of Norway Barnelopet event Sunday at Riverside Park in St. Cloud.
Tolly Vollen is co-chair of the event, which is a way for young skiers to get together and enjoy local trails.
"(In other countries) skiers are practically born on skis." Vollen said. "We just figured, why not here?"
The Barnelopet, which starts at 1 p.m., is free and open to children ages 3-13.
"We're making it kind of a festival atmosphere," Vollen said. "We haven't always have the greatest weather, but it seems like the cold weather bothers adults more than children."
Early snow this year isn't just a plus for area skiers; it's also helped the businesses that sell skiers their equipment.
"It's been one of our better winters since we've opened," said co-owner of Revolution Cycle and Ski, Ben Doom said. "It's been really nice."
Doom said sales in his store are up almost 30 percent compared with this time last year. The ski sales season usually runs from November through February, so having a head start on snow helps.
"It's hard if you don't know if you're going to do well or not ... but the last few years have been really good years because we have skiable, usable snow before the holidays." he said.
Vollen wasn't surprised that so many people are hitting the trails in the area.
He noted that there are three high schools and two colleges that have Nordic skiing teams, and it's an activity that older adults can handle. Basically it's tailor-made to appeal to a wide variety of people."Skiing is very popular in St. Cloud," Vollen said. "It's a fun thing, it's good exercise and it's relatively inexpensive."