When the first snow of winter falls from the sky, winter sports enthusiasts race outside for the first ski of the year. Always wanted to try cross-country skiing but not interested in buying your own equipment? Then come to the Urban Ecology Center and try ours for free! Cross Country Skis, boots and poles are available at all three of our branches in a variety of sizes for kids and adults.
Frequently Asked Questions about Cross Country Skis
I’ve never been skiing before…where should I go?
Washington Park is a great place to ski with over 100 acres of possible exploration. You can also frequently find skiers along bike paths- skiing in another person's tracks is much easier than clean snow when you're starting off. You can also check the Milwaukee County website for locations nearby with groomed cross-country ski trails. If you’re new to the sport, we encourage you to sign up for one of our beginner ski classes.
Find ski trail conditions here: http://www.skinnyski.com/trails/ski/listings.asp?region=se-wi
Can I reserve skis in advance?
Sorry, but no. The variety of sizes makes it nearly impossible for us to reserve a single size of boots, skis or poles. We lend skis out on a first come, first served basis. If it’s the first weekend with snow for the year, you would be wise to come early!
How can I tell if there is enough snow to go skiing?
Our cross-country experts at the Urban Ecology Center regularly evaluate winter conditions to see if they are suitable for skiing and snowshoeing. Skis can be damaged by running over exposed rocks and tree roots if there is not enough snow. Please call us to find out if snow conditions are good enough for us to lend our skis.
My family is traveling to Colorado for two weeks over winter break. Can we take a set of skis with us?
Unfortunately, no. Our skis are very popular, especially over winter break, so we need to enforce the 3-day maximum on equipment loans.
I have some old skis that I never use; will you accept them as a donation?
Thank you for thinking of us! All of our skis and boots use a NNN binding system, so if your skis use this system we would love to have them. Otherwise it will depend largely on the size and our current need because it's expensive to change the bindings. Contact Mike Larson at with inquiries.