Minnesota Nordic Ski Opener

Saturday, December 10, 2022

9 AM–4 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 ski rental equipment and free mini lessons. Participate in the Ski Tour with routes for the whole family, and check out the Nordic Market with representatives from 50 Nordic ski suppliers, resorts, retails and clubs. 

This is a FREE event. The first 1,500 visitors to the Nordic Ski Market receive a free buff!

An instructor teaches a small group of people how to cross-country ski.

Activities

All activities are held outside, both on and off the snow, so dress for the weather!

  • Free Nordic skiing on Elm Creek Park Reserve’s manufactured snow loop
  • Free Nordic ski rentals, including sit-skis for adapted skiers
  • Free Cross-country Classic Technique mini-lessons by Three Rivers Park instructors (drop in 9 AM–4 PM)
  • Free Cross-country Skate Technique mini-lessons by The Loppet Foundation instructors (10 AM–2 PM)
  • Free hot chocolate (while supplies last)
  • Ski with the University of Minnesota's Goldy Gopher (11:30 AM–12:30 PM)
  • Minnesota Youth Ski League Kids Area (10 AM–2 PM)
  • Participate in Skaði’s Chase — 8K, 4K or 2K
  • Visit the Nordic Ski Market 
  • Visit Sauna Village
  • Sign up for 2022–23 ski passes

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 areas to take advantage of free rentals!

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. Participants needing assistance with transfers will need a household member to assist.

11:30 AM: Ski with Goldy

Join Goldy Gopher, the University of Minnesota's mascot, from 11:30 AM–12:30 PM.

Goldy Gopher, University of Minnesota's mascot, skis.

Nordic Ski Market — 9 AM–3 PM

Enjoy Minnesota’s largest Nordic ski expo! Outfit yourself for the season, sign up for races, find out about Minnesota resorts and clubs and learn about ski waxing. The first 1,500 visitors to the Nordic Ski Market receive a free buff! Pick up a Nordic Market Passport in the Nordic Ski Market; once you've collected all of your stamps while exploring the Nordic Ski Market, turn your completed passport in at the Community Events booth on the chalet patio to enter the door-prize drawing. Winners will be drawn at 2 PM inside the chalet.

Kids Area — 10 AM–2 PM

Visit the Minnesota Youth Ski League ‘Kids Area’ from 10am to 2pm,  Kids ages 4-12 can test their skills on an obstacle course built by our great partner MYSL!

Sauna Village — 9 AM–3 PM

A fun day of skiing is never complete without a Nordic sauna and ice bath. Learn about the growing mobile sauna community in Minnesota.

Twenty-minute private saunas will be available for groups of 4-8 people. Stop by the Sauna Village when you arrive to sign up for your time slot. Signup is on a first-come, first-served basis. Sauna participants will need to bring a bathing suit, towel and sandals.

Parking

Parking at Elm Creek Park Reserve

Shuttle service from Elm Creek to the chalet will run from 7 AM until 5 PM. Park District employees will direct you where to park and catch the shuttle.

Additional parking will be available at the Maple Grove Parkway Transit Station (9870 Maple Grove Pkwy, Maple Grove, MN 55369). Buses and shuttles will between the transit station and Elm Creek.

Dog Policy

The safety of event guests and dogs is the highest priority. To ensure everyone’s safety we ask guests to follow the event’s dog guidelines.

  • Dogs are not allowed on snow, on shuttles or in buildings.
  • Dogs must be kept on a 6’ leash.
  • Owners must pick up after their dogs and dispose of waste properly.
  • Dogs must always be always kept under control.
  • Guests with aggressive dogs may be asked to leave the event.

Skaði’s Chase — 8 AM

A woman competes in a cross-country ski race. Other racers can be seen in the distance behind her.

About the Race

Welcome winter with Skaði (Skaw-Dee), Norse goddess of skiers, in Skaði’s Chase Nordic ski race. Choose from 8K, 4K or 2K distances. All racers will be entered into the award ceremony door prize drawing. (Must be present to win.)

8K Race – 8 AM

The 8K freestyle race starts at 8 AM with two classes: Adult men and adult women (ages 18+). The first 100 racers to register will receive a commemorative cloth bib. All racers will receive a Minnesota Nordic Ski Opener buff and entry into the Skaði’s Chase prize drawing.

4K Race – 8:40 AM

The 4K freestyle race starts at 8:40 AM with two classes: high school boys and high school girls (ages 16–18). All racers will receive a Minnesota Nordic Ski Opener buff and entry into the Skaði’s Chase prize drawing.

2K Race – 8:50 AM

The 2K freestyle race starts at 8:50 AM with three classes: middle school boys and middle school girls (ages 12–15) and a beginner class (open to all). All racers will receive a Minnesota Nordic Ski Opener buff and entry into the Skaði’s Chase prize drawing. (The 2K beginner race does not have awards for top finishers)

Registration and Fees

Skaði’s Chase registration is now open! All racers have the option to preorder a Minnesota Nordic Ski Opener hat.

8K Race

Save by registering online by Dec. 8. Race-day registration is also available beginning at 7 AM. 

  • $25 pre-registration (online registration closes at 11:59 PM on Wednesday, December 7)
  • $35 race-day registration

4K and 2K Races

Save by registering online by December 8. Race-day registration is also available beginning at 7 AM. 

  • $5 pre-registration (online registration closes at 11:59 PM on Wednesday, December 7)
  • $5 race-day registration

Awards – 10 AM

The prestigious Minnesota Nordic Ski Opener Loon Award will be presented to the top finisher in each category:

  • 8K — men’s and women’s (ages 18+)
  • 4K — high school boys and high school girls (ages 16–18)
  • 2K — middle school boys and middle school girls (ages 12–15)

Random door prize drawings for both races will be also be awarded. 

Race Results

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

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