Madison Nordic Ski Club, CXC host early season race and citizen’s ski at Elver Park on Dec. 16

MADISON, Wis. – Youth and adult racers and citizen skiers are invited to participate in a low-key early season race and citizen’s ski event hosted by Madison Nordic Ski Club, Central Cross Country Ski Association, Madison Winter Festival and City of Madison Parks on Saturday Dec. 16 at Elver Park on Madison’s southwest side.

A loop of manmade snow measuring roughly 1 kilometer has been created at Elver Park through cooperative efforts by CXC, Winterfest, MadNorSki and City of Madison Parks. The loop includes a variety of terrain with two hill options. The loop will receive a final grooming Friday evening in time to set up overnight for youth races starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday followed by adult races at noon and an open ski opportunity for the public starting at 2 p.m.

“We’re thrilled to see the manmade snow loop nearing completion and we expect good early season conditions at Elver Park on Saturday,” said Jennifer Sereno, co-president of Madison Nordic Ski Club. “Here in southern Wisconsin, sometimes Mother Nature needs a helping hand. Thanks to the hard work of many dedicated volunteers from our club and Central Cross Country Ski Association in collaboration with City of Madison Parks, we hope many skiers of all abilities will join us for a great winter day outdoors.”

Charlie Romines, Madison Parks assistant superintendent, said the joint snowmaking and grooming efforts represent one way the city is working to provide year-round recreational opportunities.

“We have a very strong community of cross-country skiers in the Madison area and through these types of public-private partnership with organizations such as MadNorSki and CXC, we are able to better meet the interests of these enthusiasts in the most cost-effective way. Our city benefits when people of all ages pursue healthy, active lifestyles and cross-country skiing is a great activity that promotes those ideas. We are fortunate to have this relationship that allows better cross-country skiing opportunities for people of all ages and skills to enjoy,” Romines said.

Yuriy Gusev, executive director of Central Cross Country Ski Association, said this year’s snowmaking efforts were aided by two new “stick” snow guns that allow for greater precision when blowing snow in the woods.

“The snow we’ve created now will help our local youth team members gain the fitness they need to compete at the national level and it will also generate opportunities for the broader community, including Madison Winter Festival participants later in the season,” Gusev said. “In the meantime, we’re hoping skiers of all abilities come out and enjoy a fun day on the manmade loop.”

The Elver Park Shelter will be open to host the events on Saturday starting at 8:30 a.m. All skiers must have a day or season pass to participate on the trail. Junior race fees for those under 16 will total $8; 16 and older will total $15 ($7 day pass plus $8 race fee); adults will be $20 ($7 day trail pass plus $13 race fee) with all fees adjusted for those who already have passes. The city also has a self-serve kiosk for pass purchases.

Although city rental equipment will not yet be available, beginning skiers with their own equipment may be able to pick up a few tips from more experienced skiers on the scene. In the weeks to come, MadNorSki will again offer free community ski lessons with the first lesson scheduled for Jan. 9. Sign-up is now open with full information available at  

To learn more about programs for youth, middle school and high school, visit www.MadNorSki.orgMadison Nordic Ski Club will host a waxing clinic at its next monthly membership meeting on Jan. 8 starting at 6:30 p.m. at Lussier Family Heritage Center, 3101 Lake Farm Road, Madison, WI 53711.