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Nordic skiing lessons offered

The Willow River Nordic Skiing Association has announced its schedule of adult ski lessons at Willow River State Park.

Cross country ski lessons will be given on four Saturdays: Dec. 15, Jan. 5, Jan. 19, and Feb. 16. Lessons run from 9 a.m. to noon. Both skiing styles will be offered; the traditional diagonal stride (classic) and skating. A limited selection of equipment may be available for those without. Register in advance for these lessons. Youth may also participate in the lessons.

The instructor is Wally Milbrath of Hudson. Milbrath is a competitor at several of the regional ski races and a regular attendee at weekly dry land training sessions at the park.

Fees for lessons are as follows:

• Free to members of the Willow River OWLs, the park's Friends group.

• $5 per lesson for others, or join the OWLs ($15 individual or $25 family.)

• Call the park office to register 386-5931.

There is a group in the park that specializes in lessons for kids up to teens, the Minnesota Youth Ski League, or call Beth Johnson 386-2068.

There is an alternate plan in place for the Dec. 16 date if skiing is not possible. The instructors will give a ski waxing clinic and then take the group out for dry land training. Bring ski poles and appropriate footwear. "Waxless" skis need glide wax in order to work well, so the clinic has something for all skiers. Dry land training consists of pole walking and hill bounding. Both of these tone the muscles used for skiing. Stretching, balance and strength training drills will be demonstrated.

Regular dry land training sessions are held on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 5:30 p.m. Meet at the Nature Center. Dress for skiing and bring a headlamp.

As one participant explains, "Dry land training is not boot camp for racers only, nor is it a leisurely stroll in the park. On the flats, we can hold a conversation. The up hills get your heart rate into the aerobic zone."

The sessions can run up to 90 minutes in length. The Wednesday sessions are likely to move to Trollhaugen in Dresser when the Troll Hollow trail is ready for skiing. Call the park to check the status of the Wednesday sessions.

Park stickers

Do you have that hard-to-buy-for person on your holiday gift list? How about giving them over 575,000 acres of pristine waters, tranquil forests and scenic beauty?

Annual admission stickers to Wisconsin State Parks and Forests make great holiday gifts that give outdoor enthusiasts access to a full year of fun and adventure. The 2008 Annual State Park and Forest Stickers were available beginning Dec. 1 at Willow River and Kinnickinnic State Parks.

Prices are $25 for vehicles with Wisconsin license plates and $10 for Wisconsin seniors (65 years or older, WI plates). Non-resident cost is $35. Second vehicle annual stickers at the same address are half price.

The Willow River State Park office is staffed seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Kinnickinnic office is staffed on weekends. Use the self-registration envelopes at other times and we will mail you the sticker.

For more information, call the park at 386-5931.