Several first-time and experienced skiers participated in the Candlelight Ski at Ney Nature Center on the evening of Feb. 12 despite the cold temperatures. Luminaries made from repurposed milk gallons lit up the prairie trail, creating a cozy atmosphere despite a temperature of 1°F. Visitors, particularly first-timers, took advantage of the center’s free skis to ski around the loop.

A young man who was trying cross-country skiing for the first time remarked that it was “very fun once you’re moving.” Another visitor exclaimed that the “weather was perfect once you got going.” Additionally, one group went around the loop three times because they were enjoying it so much.

When skiers had their fill outside, they migrated to warmer temperatures inside the Education Building where they enjoyed sipping on hot chocolate, conversing with each other, listening to live music courtesy of Laura Russell, and working on puzzles.

The Ney Nature Center is open for exploration sun up to sun down, but rental of free skis is available during open hours from 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. To improve experiences, the Ney Nature Center posts regular updates on its Facebook page when ski trails have been groomed. Snowshoes are also available to rent at $3 a pair for members and $5 a pair for non-members. Open hours continue through March.

Customer Service Representative and Editorial Assistant for the Le Center Leader, Le Sueur News-Herald, St. Peter Herald and the Waseca County News.

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