News & Stories

2017-2018 Winter Offerings – Ski, Sled, Fat Tire Bike, Snowshoe, and More

New location for rentals, changes to ski trails passes and service offerings

Great things are happening with winter recreation in the Minneapolis Park & Recreation System this year. Construction of The Trailhead facility at Theodore Wirth Park is happening now – with completion expected by May 2018!

With the construction of The Trailhead, Theodore Wirth Winter Recreation Headquarters will be located at the Chalet – 1301 Theodore Wirth Parkway. Loppet staff will manage rentals of snowshoes, as well as cross-country skis, boots, and poles from the Chalet, and also handle sales of daily and season passes for all groomed ski trails in the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) system. This includes groomed trails at Columbia and Hiawatha Golf Courses, and the Chain of Lakes.

In order to accommodate both the casual skier and the die-hard, beginning this season there will be two pass options: a less expensive natural-snow-only trail pass, and a Snowmaking Pass that covers all trails in the MPRB system (including those using machine-made snow). The idea is to give those skiers who are not interested in skiing on machine-made snow an opportunity to purchase a less expensive pass.

In natural snow areas – Hiawatha, Columbia, the Chain of Lakes, South Wirth, Wirth Lake and the Skyline Trail in Wirth Park, all skiers 12 and over are required to display a pass. To ski in the snowmaking trail areas all skiers, regardless of age, must display a snowmaking trail pass, (trail passes for skiers 11 and under are half-price). The snowmaking areas include the Hap and Judy Trails and the Twin Lake Trail at Theodore Wirth Park.

Trail passes are available for purchase online and at Kenwood Recreation Center now. Starting December 1, passes may be purchased in-person at the Theodore Wirth Chalet, the Hiawatha warming house, or at Audubon Recreation Center (hours and locations can be found at The Wirth Winter Recreation Headquarters at the Chalet is expected to open for the season beginning December 1 and will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Construction of The Trailhead also means that the snow-tubing and snowboarding hills will be unable to open this season. To ensure winter recreation lovers have a sledding destination this winter, Loppet staff will make snow on the free sledding hill, located on the 10th fairway of the golf course, next to the Chalet parking lot. This enhanced sledding experience at Wirth Park is happening this year in order to provide opportunities despite the construction.

Accompanied by The Trailhead construction are some new mountain bike trails, just behind the Chalet, which will be open and maintained by the Loppet Foundation trails staff to accommodate both fat tire cyclists and snowshoers.

The MPRB and Loppet Foundation are looking forward to expanding winter recreation services beginning with the 2018-2019 season, and appreciate the patience of local park users during this time.