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Ski Area Profile: French Regional Park

While we are all enjoying magnificent snow this year, those years of little or no snow are still vividly fresh in my mind. I think back a few years to one of those low snow years and vividly remember skiing countless loops on several occasions at French Regional Park. Unlike the previously reviewed Elm Creek Park Reserve, French does not have man made snow. It does however have topography on it's side!

You see, nearly the entire 5k or so lighted loop is positioned in the shade, so it holds its snow better than just about any ski trail in the Twin Cities Metro area. I remember telling people that there was good skiing at French when there was literally no snow anywhere and they didn't believe me. Well it is true! While we all hope for winters with abundant snow, if there is another low snow winter (god forbid), go give French a try and you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Cyclova XC member Owen Theole takes a break near the top of the Skyline Trail at French

Now, of course any time is a great time to get out and ski at French. In a good snow year, such as this season, the conditions are magnificent. The Three Rivers Parks Board does a truly world class job at maintaining nearly all of their XC Ski Trails, for which they should be applauded (so go buy a trail pass!)! French does a great job of grooming daily using a variety of Tidd Tech equipment and a wide track snowmobile.

The terrain is ideal for XC Skiing, ducking and diving from hill top, to beautiful swampy valleys, to ridge tops, and down to Medicine Lake. Reigning Birkie Champion Matt Leibsch is known to train on a regular basis out there and enjoys the challenging terrain. One hill in particular, appropriately called "Challenge Hill" is likely the steepest groomed section of XC Ski Trail I've ever seen, anywhere!

A beautiful section of trail through urban marshland on the "Meadow Loop" at French

On the practical side of things, French Park is located in Plymouth, not far from many metro area locations. Once there, there's a nice chalet/parks building with restrooms, concessions, and plenty to space to hang out. If you're a parent, there is also a great sliding hill for the kids.

Check it out and enjoy!

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