Catch some fresh air with ski and snowshoe rentals at the Nature Center

Published 8:14 am Saturday, December 15, 2018

Spend a relaxing evening listening to the Association Jazz Combo Concert at 7 p.m. on Dec. 19 at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center Interpretive Center. 

The Combo features former Nature Center intern Jacob Burkhart.  They will be performing some holiday and nature-themed jazz. This is a free event.

Looking to catch some fresh air? 

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You can rent cross country skis and snowshoes at the Nature Center. Daily fees per-person for three hours are: $6 for skis and $5 for snowshoes for adults, kids 18 and under are $1 thanks to a donation from Belita Schindler in memory of Dr. Richard Schindler. 

You should always check the SkinnySki page to check on trail conditions before you ski.  The hours for rentals during good trail conditions are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday.

The Nature Center will again be offering free cross-country ski and snowshoe rental for adults and children from 3-6 p.m. on Thursday afternoons and will continue into March if snow conditions allow.

The Jay C. Hormel Nature Center does not require the Minnesota Ski Pass on our trails.

Looking for a spot for a family gathering?  Check out the Izaak Walton Cabin in Todd Park at or the venues at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center on their site at

Camps and leagues

Did you know that you can go play pickleball? 

Matches will be held Dec. 19  from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Ellis Middle School in the auxiliary gym. Watch for more dates starting in January.

The deadline to register your Adult Flag Football team is 5 p.m. on Dec. 21 in our office. 

This league will play in the Wescott Dome beginning Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, running for eight weeks. The team fee is $477. Players must be 18 years of age by July 1 of 2018 with a minimum of seven players needed and a roster limit of 20 players. 

Games times will be 6:15 p.m. or 7:15 p.m. start.

Those youth 9 to 18 years of age interested in archery league — sign up online by Dec. 29.  League will be offered again on Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6-7:30 p.m. beginning Jan. 2-3, in the 4-H building at the fairgrounds. 

Cost is $60 for 11 weeks; sign up early as it tends to fill up fast.

For the young baseball enthusiasts, Dome Baseball will begin on Monday, Jan. 7, for those 7 to 9 years old and Tuesday, Jan. 8, for those 10 to 12 years old. 

This pitching machine league is designed for skill development and live game experience.  Deadline to register online is Dec. 31. Go to or follow the link on the City of Austin’s website at, City Dept, Park & Rec — online registration.

Packer Arena

Packer Arena public skate dates: 8-10 p.m. Dec. 21 and 22; 1-3 p.m. Dec. 23; 3:45-5:45 p.m. Dec. 24; 1:15-2:30 p.m. Dec. 26; 2-4 p.m. Dec. 27; 3:30-5 p.m. Dec. 28; 3-5 p.m. Dec. 29; 6:30-8 p.m. Dec. 31; 2-4 p.m. Jan. 1. 

These are also posted on our Facebook page.  Having a birthday party or getting your friends and family together? Rent the arena. Call our office for times at 507-433-1881.

Stick time dates:  Noon-1:45 p.m. on Dec. 26, 31 and Jan. 1.

Riverside Arena

Riverside Arena game schedule: The Austin Bruins are away until Saturday, Dec. 29. Plan ahead, get your people together and take in a game.

They host the MN Wilderness. Puck drops at 7:05 p.m.

Austin Packers host Simley today with JV at 11 a.m. and varsity at 1 p.m. They will then host Rochester Century on Thursday with JV playing at 5:30 p.m. and varsity at 7:15 p.m.

The Packer girls host Rochester Mayo at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday.

Support our teams and check out a game!