Minnesota Nordic Ski Opener

Saturday, December 7, 2019, 9:00 AM–4:00 PM

Elm Creek Park Reserve
12400 James Deane Parkway
Maple Grove, MN 55369

Embrace winter by celebrating cross-country skiing at the Minnesota Nordic Ski Opener! Skiers of all abilities and ages are invited to kick off winter with free skiing, free rental equipment and free mini lessons. Participate in the Ski Tour with routes for the whole family and check out the Nordic Ski Expo with reps from 50 Nordic ski suppliers, resorts, retailers and clubs. Activities are on and off the snow, so dress for the weather!


This is a FREE event. The first 1,000 visitors receive a free buff, so come early!

Watch a video of last year's event

Watch KSTP's coverage of last year's Nordic Ski Opener.

two boys and a man holding ski equipment and smiling.


The Nordic Ski Expo will host:

  • Free Nordic skiing
  • Free Nordic ski rentals, including sit-skis for adapted skiers
  • Free Nordic ski mini lessons (Drop in all day)
  • Ski tours with routes for the whole family and all abilities
  • Morning test track for experts and high school students
  • Demos of the latest equipment by manufacturers and retailers
  • Reps from ski events, resorts, ski clubs and nonprofits 
  • Kids Area (10:00 AM–1:30 PM)
  • Sign-ups for 2019-20 ski lessons and ski passes
  • $7 lunch special at concessions starting at 11 AM

Skaði’s Chase – 8 AM

Race Results

2019 Skaði’s Chase race results.

About the Race

Welcome winter with Skaði (Skaw-Dee), Norse goddess of skiers, in the inaugural Skaði’s Chase 8K Nordic ski race. The race starts at 8 AM with four classes: adult men's and women's (ages 18+) and high school boys and girls (ages 12-18).

See the race map.

The first 200 racers to register will receive a commemorative cloth bib. All racers will receive a Minnesota Nordic Ski Opener buff.

Awards begin at 9:30 AM and will be given to the top three of each class. Random door prize drawings will be also be awarded.

Registration and Fees

Save by registering online by Dec. 1. Race-day registration is also available beginning at 6:30 AM. 

  • $25 pre-registration ($15 for high school racers)
  • $35 day-of registration ($25 for high school racers)

Ski Tour – All Day

a dad helping his daughter ski.

Join Minnesota’s first official ski of the year! Time yourself or take a leisurely ski on Elm Creek's 2.5K of manufactured snow. If you need skis, stop by the rental building to take advantage of free rentals! Come at a specific time or ski all day.

10 AM Group Ski for Adapted Skiers

At 10 AM, join us for a leisurely group ski for adapted skiers led by a Three Rivers staff member. Adapted skiers are welcome all day; sit-skis will be available.

Nordic Ski Expo – 9:00 AM–3:00 PM

Sponsor tents set up on a snowy path with skiers walking around.
Photo credit: Gustavo Rosso for Patagonia Visual Solutions

Come enjoy Minnesota’s largest Nordic ski specific expo. Try out demo skis, sign up for races, find out about Minnesota resorts and clubs, and learn about ski waxing. Door prize drawings will be held at 11:30 AM, 12:30 PM, 1:30 PM and 2:30 PM.

New This Year: The Skijoring Area

Learn more about skijoring with Skijor USA, Adopt a Husky Minnesota and others. Dogs on 6-foot, non-retractable leashes are welcome on paved surfaces. They cannot go on the snow, in the shuttle or in the chalet. Dogs must be picked up after and kept under your control. 

Kids Area – 10:00 AM–1:30 PM

two girls skiing through an obstacle course that has small orange cones and blue tunnels.

Join the Minnesota Youth Ski League in the Kids Area for a fun ski obstacle course. Kids can test out their agility and have fun while improving their Nordic ski abilities. Adapted skiers welcome!

Ski with Goldy and Friends – 11:30 AM

goldy gopher and other mascots lined up to race.

Ski with Goldy and high school mascots from across the state following the proclamation reading inside the Elm Creek Chalet.

Become a Partner

The goal of the Minnesota Nordic Ski Opener is to bring together the entire Minnesota Nordic ski community to celebrate Nordic skiing in Minnesota. If you are interested in being a Minnesota Nordic Ski Opener partner, please email us at SponsorshipOpportunities@threeriversparks.org.


Volunteer as a greeter, help out in the rental building, be a "ski buddy" and help people as they try skiing for the first time, or help out with something else. To learn more or sign up, call 763.559.6706 or email us