Winter Activities in Winona

Written and photographed by Charlie Egberg

With the winter storm that dumped approximately six inches this past weekend, many people stay indoors, especially with the frigid drop in temperature.

Middle schools, high schools, and universities closed due to the weather.

Now, when it gets to be 30 below, it is not the smartest to be outside as skin can get frostbite in a matter of minutes.

While some cover themselves with blankets when winter hits, others thrive in these winter storms and colder temperatures.

With the surrounding bluffs and trails, there are all sorts of things to do.

There are public skiing and snowshoeing trails behind St. Mary’s University and ice climbing up the bluffs, near sugar loaf rock

According to Tia Fields, president of the rock climbing club at Winona State University, even the climbers get outdoors.

“It’s actually a really fun time climbing outside,” Fields said. “Everyone expects you to have to really break up the ice with the ice axe. You’re really holding your body up on like half an inch of the blade.”

There are safety concerns when using ice climbing equipment.

“The ice axes also have to get sharpened and they become really freaky to just be holding your body up on such a sharp, basically, weapon,” Fields said.

If climbing up a wall of ice might be a little out of comfort range, ice skating, cross country skiing or even snow shoeing might be a better option.

The city of Winona has built a public ice rink in Levee Park in downtown Winona. It is a low maintenance rink, so it has been covered in snow.

There are a few ice rinks made out front of the Lake Lodge Recreation Center.

The Lake Lodge, which is open from 4-7 pm on weekdays and on weekends from 1-7 pm, is host for many winter activity needs.

For winter activities, the lodge rents ice skates, hockey sticks and snow shoes.

According to Paul Merten, a front desk worker at the lodge, this year has been “pretty consistent” with people renting out equipment.

Matthew Lenett, another desk worker at the lodge, said as long as the weather is pretty consistent, people show up. Lenett said the lodge tends to be most popular on the weekends.

Visitors can rent snow shoes for 24 hours, Lenett said, “A lot of people go to holzinger (Holzinger Lodge)” and use the trails that are behind the lodge.

Even if there is a storm every so often

There is always something to do in Winona.

Lake Park sign near lake lodge
Hockey nets on lake lodge ice rinks

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