Information for Cross-country Skiers.
Dane County Parks provides groomed ski trails from the first of December through March. Grooming begins when there is at least four inches of snow and consistent freezing temperature, which is not always the first snowfall of the year. This allows for a good trail base to form and allows trails to remain frozen after grooming. When conditions are favorable (4" or more of snow), trails will be groomed once a week. The most popular trails will be groomed near the end of the week to provide the best skiing conditions on the weekend.
Dane County Parks uses two machines to provide ideal skiing conditions throughout the season. An ASV Scout, SC50, tracked utility vehicle pulling a modified Tidd-Tech groomer with track setter is the main piece of trail grooming equipment. The secondary machine is a RTV 1100C tracked Kubota pulling a modified Tidd-Tech groomer with track setter.
Dane County and the City of Madison Parks have a joint Ski Trail Permit that allows patrons to ski on all City or County groomed ski trails. Ski trail permits are required for all skiers 16 years and older.
Permits are available online or at the trail head.
Cross-country skiing on ungroomed trails is allowed (no permit required) at all Dane County Parks and Properties. However, these activities are weather dependent and some parking areas may have limited to no access during snow conditions.
Skiers can get up-to-date trail information on our Trail Conditions webpage.
Additional trail condition information, in and around Madison, can be found at the following links:
- Dane County Winter Trail Conditions
- Madison Nordic Ski Club - Trail Conditions
- City of Madison - Cross-country Ski Trails