Winter Festival Brings Outdoor Fun to Madison's West Side
by Laura Kocum
on Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 at 10:18pm.
There's a possibility that we'll see snow this weekend, and no one could be happier about it than the organizers of Madison's Winter Festival. The Festival is an annual tradition in its 14th year. It features many ways to enjoy winter weather, with room for both beginners and experienced participants. The festival moved from downtown Madison to Elver Park last year, where the cross country ski trails, ice skating rink and large hill make a perfect venue. In the absence of snow, Elver Park also has the advantage of snow-making machines, to ensure a successful event.
Last year- the festival landed on an unseasonably warm weekend. This year, it's cooler, and the forecast looks more promising. In any event, there will absolutely be snow. The Winter Festival organizers have partnered with Madison Parks, MadNorSki and CXC to make and stockpile snow. "We're excited about colder temps and possibly some snow for the weekend! Cross country ski trails are expected to be in excellent shape," says Irina Komarova, one of the festival's organizers.
Saturday kicks off at 8 a.m. with the Ice Age Challenge. This cross country ski event is non-competitive, but encourages skiers to experiment with a variety of trail conditions, including smooth tracks, rolling hills, and a steeper course. Participants can familiarize themselves with the track, and then enter the Ice Age Challenge competition at 9:30. Other events in the morning include a dog jog/walk, 1K kids fun run, 5K adult race and more. The afternoon includes High School State Championship Ski Races and ski/snowshoe events. While all of the events are happening, there are ice sculptures to enjoy, crafts and snow building for kids, sledding, ice skating and hockey.
Sunday continues the fun with a Skijoring clinic (skiing with a dog), snow shoe and fat bike races, and cross country ski lessons. Sleds, skates and skis can all be rented at Elver Park throughout the weekend.
Admission to the Winter Festival is free. Participation in the events requires registration and a small fee, ranging from $10-$30, depending on the event. Check the website for more information.
Whether you come as a participant or a spectator, the Madison Winter Festival offers outdoor fun for all!