Winter may have gotten off to an especially cold start in 2018, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy what’s left of it. For an introduction to snow sports, stop by the annual Winter Trails Day extravaganza at Fort Snelling State Park on Saturday, Jan. 20, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Adults and kids can try cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, fat biking, ice fishing, quinzee (snow shelter) building and archery. Other activities will include ice harvesting, storytelling and an ice globe demonstration. Guided nature hikes will also take place every half hour, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Between activities, visitors can enjoy hot cocoa around a crackling bonfire. Activities will be set up near the beach area.
“Winter Trails Day is about helping people warm up to winter,” said Kelli Bruns, park manager at Fort Snelling State Park. “The cold weather months are more fun when you find an activity you can enjoy alone or with others.”
This year, for the first time, sign-language interpreters will be on hand to help make the day’s activities more accessible to those with hearing disabilities. Stop by the registration tent for more information.
Winter Trails Day is made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the National Park Service, retail co-op REI, the U.S. Forest Service and Mississippi Park Connection.
Use of skis, snowshoes, fat bikes and other equipment will be free, but a vehicle permit is required to enter Minnesota state parks and recreation areas ($7 for a one-day permit or $35 for a year-round permit).
Save time, get your vehicle permit in advance
Although permits are available at the park, people attending Winter Trails Day can avoid waiting in line by getting their permit in advance. Visit www.mndnr.gov/reservations, log in (or create an account), click on “entry permit,” select a duration of “one-day” ($7) or “year-round” ($35), and continue as directed. You’ll receive an email with a permit that can be printed and displayed in your vehicle during your visit.
For more information, call the park at 612-725-2724 or visit the Fort Snelling State Park webpage at www.mndnr.gov.