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Willow River State park offers cross country ski lessons

Cross country skiing lessons for adults will be offered by the Willow River Nordic skiers at Willow River State Park on three Saturdays: Dec. 17, Jan. 7 and Jan. 21.

Lessons will begin at 9 a.m. at the Nature Center and run until noon. Both diagonal stride (classic,) and skate style skiing will be taught. Students should provide their own gear.

The lesson will begin with a general overview of skiing and waxing; then the class moves outside and splits into classic or skate groups.

Call the park office to sign up or for further information 715-386-5931. Lessons are $10. Lessons are free if the student is a member of the Willow River OWLs, the park's Friends group. Annual or daily vehicle admission is also required.

Instructor Wally Milbrath has skied more than 20 American Birkebeiner races either as a classic or as a skate skier. Milbrath will be assisted by other long term skiers from the Willow River Nordic group.

The Willow River Nordic Ski Association is a branch of the OWLs. Primarily, WRN does the winter trail maintenance on the ski trails and on the shared use trails. The group or individual members may be found doing trail brushing work in autumn up until ski trail grooming actually begins. One of the major accomplishments of the group was helping with the layout of two new snowshoe trails which originate at the 200 campground and at the Group Camp lot.

WRN members assisted with the routing of the trails under construction on the north side of Little Falls Lake (completion sometime in mid-2012.) There will be a north side connection between the bridge at Willow Falls and the one on the Trout Brook Trail. WRN is also active at Kinnickinnic State Park with winter trail work. Willow River Nordic is on the web at

Ski lessons at the park for young people are conducted by the Minnesota Youth Ski League. See their website at for more information.