NEWSBRIEF: 15th annual WinterFest set for Jan. 20 at Lake Elmo Park Reserve

Minnesota Municipal Power Agency recently installed a solar array at North High School as part of the Hometown Solar Grant program. submitted photo

Cross-country ski lessons, fat tire bike demonstrations, snowshoeing demonstrations and the Soup Coupe food truck will all be part the 15th annual WinterFest 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve. Everyone is welcome to this free event.

Skiers and fat tire bikers must pre-register with the Ride and Glide XC Ski Club. All equipment will be provided. All levels of skiers and bikers are welcome to register, but they must be at least 14 years old. XC ski lessons and fat tire bike demonstrations will be available at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Register for a time in advance at; select the Lake Elmo clinic. Free classic and skate ski equipment will be provided by Joe’s Ski Shop and the Ride and Glide Ski Club. Fat tire biking equipment and demonstrations will be led and provided by Now Bikes and Fitness.

Before or after the lessons, relax in the Nordic Center and catch the latest professional ski races on the 80-inch TV.

WinterFest will also offer free snowshoeing for the family. All ages are welcome to try this activity. Snowshoe the rolling hills, woods and prairies of Eagle Point Lake. Register in advance with DIRO Outdoors to reserve your snowshoes for a specific time, or take your chances — walk-ins are welcome, too. Check-in with an ID at the DIRO tent near the Eagle Point Trailhead across from the Nordic Center Trailhead; arriving 10 minutes before the top of every hour is recommended.

Winter Bowling will also be available at Eagle Point, and the Soup Coupe will be at the event selling hot soup and wraps for lunch.

All event participants should plan to arrive 15 to 20 minutes early to sign in for a desired time and get fit for equipment. Come dressed for outdoor activity. All skiers 16 years and older will need a MN Ski Pass, which costs $6/day or $20/year. All park guests will need to possess a valid Washington County Parks vehicle permit, which costs $7/day or $30/year. The ski pass and vehicle permit are both available for purchase at the Lake Elmo Park contact station at the park entrance.

The park is open for skiing from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. All ski guests may access 10 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails and 5.5 miles of LED lighted trails from dusk to 9:30 p.m. from the Nordic Center Trailhead.

Snowshoers, hikers and dog walkers will be directed to the Big Bluestem multi-use trail from the Eagle Point Trailhead. The Nordic Center and Eagle Point Trailheads have ample parking. The Nordic Center features indoor tables and seating, WiFi, restrooms, lockers, changing stalls, a water refill station, indoor fireplace, outdoor bonfire pit, ski racks and ski waxing stations. The Eagle Point Trailhead will host a portable tent with wood-burning stove and nearby portable toilets. Hiking and snowshoeing are not permitted on groomed ski trails.

Lake Elmo Park Reserve is at the intersection of County Road 19 and County Road 10, one mile north of Interstate 94 in Lake Elmo.

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