MAPLE GROVE, Minn. (WCCO) — It’s something the Twin Cities hasn’t seen in a while: skiable snow in early December.

About 3,000 skiers headed to Maple Grove’s Elm Creek Park Reserve for the Minnesota Nordic Ski Opener to enjoy the snow.

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For cross country high school skiers and coaches, this much snow on the ground is huge.

Kari McKay is a senior at Irondale High School.

“It’s so great. Last year we didn’t have snow until January, so it’s fun being able to ski,” McKay said. “We have trails right behind our school so it’s fun not having to car pool over to other places, we can just ski at our school.”

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St. Paul Central High School has a slightly different situation than Irondale.

They still have to drive a bit to find trails with snow on the ground, but those trails are closer to the school and less expensive than if they had to go to one of the three cross country trails in the metro that make snow.

“It’s nice to have snow. The athletes can get on the snow pretty easy now instead of having to drive 45 minutes to get over to man-made snow,” Central head coach Robb Lageson said. “We can go to something closer that’s 15 to 20 minutes.”

Most cross country skiers are going to be hoping for more snow, at least through the season, which wraps up in February.

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“The ski season is only a couple months so we like all the snow that we can get,” McKay said.

Katie Steiner