A snowy winter, a bump in ski pass prices, and an upward trend in early ski pass sales have resulted in a rebound in the state’s dedicated cross-country ski grooming account fund balance.
This is welcome news for cross-country ski enthusiasts and the volunteers and sponsors who maintain much of the state’s ski trail system. Ski clubs and sponsors that have submitted reimbursement requests will soon begin receiving full payments for grooming activities up to their approved amount.
At mid-winter, cross-country ski pass sales reached 11,190 passes sold – an increase of 35 percent compared to the same time 5-year average, but sales are still lagging behind the trend of the 2014 season high when 17,774 passes were sold.
“When you purchase a ski pass, most of those dollars go directly to supporting the maintenance of grant-in-aid ski trails by local volunteers,” said John Waters, DNR trails program consultant. “These volunteer clubs are the heart of the ski trail system and they rely on these dollars to maintain the trails. If you ski the trails, buy the pass.”
A ski pass is $10 daily, $25 a year, or $70 for three years. It is required for users 16 and older to ski on groomed trails in Minnesota state parks, state forests, or on state or grant-in-aid trails. Ski passes can be purchased at any of 1,750 locations around the state that sell DNR permits and licenses, by phone at 888-665-4236, or online at mndnr.gov/licenses.
More information about cross-country skiing in Minnesota, links to ski trails and grooming reports can be found on the DNR’s website at mndnr.gov/skipass.