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Cross-Country Skiing

Winter Activity Updates

Icon of ice skate
01/17-18/22: All trails are open in fair condition. See date for last grooming. No classic tracks due to snow condition & amount. **ELVER ski, skate, snowshoe & sled RENTALS: Wed-Fri 4-8p; Sat 12-8p; Sun 12-6p; restrooms only Mon/Tue. ** Friday, Jan. 21: Groove & Glide @ Rennebohm; Saturday, Jan. 22: Snowshoe Hike @ Warner
Cross-Country Skiing

Grooming the Trails: How & When  

The type of grooming performed depends on a few things to make the most of both long and short-term skiing opportunities. The amount, the type, and the ground condition at the time of the snow event all play a part in the grooming equation. Did you know Parks staff is responsible for priority snow removal areas? These priority areas are roads, more than 400 bus stops, bike trails, sidewalks, and parking lots. We always appreciate your patience and understanding as safety will always come before fun. To learn more about the grooming process, please see Winter Recreation: Cross-Country Skiing

Elver Park 2021-22 Update: Through a mutual decision, there will be no machine-made snow loop at Elver Park this winter season. The MadNorSki, CXC and Parks team are focusing efforts on improvements to the natural ski trails and grooming, as conditions allow. READ MORE ABOUT THIS DECISION


Winter Recreation: Cross-Country Skiing 
Seven designated and groomed cross-country skiing trails throughout the park system. 
  • FREE-TO-USE: Four groomed trails are free-to-use (Cherokee Marsh South, Door Creek, Owen and Turville Point).
  • PERMIT REQUIRED: Elver, Odana Hills, and Yahara Hills are groomed more regularly as conditions allow and require a daily or annual Cross-Country Ski Permit for anyone aged 16 years or older. (scroll to green Purchase Permit button).
  • RESTROOMS: Available at Elver, Owen, Odana (portable) and Yahara (portable). 
  • SKI RENTALS: Classic ski rentals, sleds, snowshoes and ice skates are available. See Elver Park for hours and rates. 
  • Learn more about cross-country skiing in Madison Parks:

PURCHASE PERMIT

2022 Permit Fees 

Daily $7
Annual $30
Senior (65+) & Disabled $15
Replacement $12
  • A 2021 Permit is valid from the time of purchase through December 31, 2021. 
  • A 2022 Permit will be available for purchase on November 15 and is valid through December 31. 2022. 
  • The permit is valid for Dane County Parks trails also. 

TRAIL STATUS DEFINITIONS

  • OPEN = trail is snow-covered, skiable with most recent grooming date listed. 
  • CLOSED = skiing is not advised or permitted
TRAIL CONDITIONS & GROOMING
  • Ski trails typically open after the first snowfall over 4" depending on the type of snow and trail conditions.
  • Fee-based trails (Elver, Odana Hills and Yahara Hills) are groomed more frequently, as conditions allow and for both skate and classic skiing.
  • Free ski trails are tracked or roll groomed for classic cross-country skiing. 
  • We may not be able to groom or we may need to close a trail to preserve the trail condition. This website is updated as soon as information from the field is available.
  • Permit fees are non-refundable

TRAIL TIPS & RESPONSIBILITIES
  • Follow directional arrows. Some trails are marked for one-way use
  • Trails are rated for difficulty at the trailhead
  • Skiers stay on groomed trails only
  • No dogs, horses, snowboards, motor vehicles, hiking or snowshoeing on groomed trails
  • Slower skiers please stay to the right