Winter Recreation 101

Thursday, December 20, 2007 - 9:32am

Skiing, Sledding Ice Skating Update

December 20, 2007

Cross County Skiing - The Parks Division of the City of Madison has groomed all of the city ski trails. Crews hope to work on the trails at Elver Park and Odana Golf Course over the weekend. Staff will monitor conditions throughout the next storm to determine how much work will be able to be done on the trails.

The warming shelters at both Odana Golf Course and Elver Park will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Skis will be available for rent at both locations. Prices are: Adults $10.00 for the first hour and $5.00 for each additional hour. Children age 15 and under are $5.00 per hour. These prices include the cost of a daily ski permit.

The Elver shelter will also be open on December 24 and 25 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. December 26 through December 28 Elver will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. or when the last patrons leave.

Sledding - There are sledding hills at Hiestand, Olbrich and Warner Parks on the Eastside and at Arbor Hills, Elver and Huegel Jamestown Parks on the Westside. Please remember that the hills may be getting slippery with the warmer weather and watch out for sledders coming down the hills.

Staff will monitor conditions throughout this next storm and determine whether we should continue with that schedule.

While nature has provided us with lots of snow for excellent cross-country skiing and sledding, it has not been so good to us in terms of ice-skating.

Outdoor Ice Rinks: The Parks Division maintains two types of outdoor ice rinks. We have ice rinks on lagoons/ponds and we have land rinks. Unfortunately neither type of rink is operational at the present time. We face different challenges with each. On the land rinks, crews are shoveling off the snow where the skating rinks will be formed. We have been unable to flood those rinks because there is no frost in the ground. When crews attempted to put water down to set a base for those rinks, the water simply soaked right into the ground. Just as the snow insulated the pond rinks and prevented ice from forming, it has also kept the ground from freezing. We are hopeful that with the ground now bare we will get enough COLD FREEZING weather so that the ground freezes to a depth that will allow us to spray water to create the ice rink.

On the ice rinks that are maintained on lagoons and ponds, crews are not able to get their normal equipment on the ice to clear it of snow. They have been trying to use small snow blowers to remove the snow but are encountering lots of slush and water which hinder the snow removal and can cause more ruts in the ice that will need to be planed in order to provide a good ice skating surface.

The public may call 266-4711 for more information or log on to our website at Please listen to your local radio and/or TV station for the latest conditions.


  • LaVonne LaFave, Clerical & Program Support Manager267-4916
  • Russ Hefty, Conservation Resources Supervisor267-4918