Rochester Local

Rochester MN Guide to Outdoor Winter Sports


winter sportsPosted updated January 2024

If you’re looking for creative ways to truly experience a Rochester, MN winter, look no further. We have a guide packed with places to snowshoe, cross-country ski, sled, ski or play outdoor hockey. Luckily, the Rochester, MN area allows for quite a few months for area residents and visitors to truly explore and spend time playing in the frozen wonderland!



New to snowshoeing? Rochester MN and Olmsted County have multiple trails available for you to complete on your bucket list. Snowshoeing is typically more strenuous than hiking, and is a great aerobic workout! The Rochester Parks & Recreation Department maintains groomed ski trails. Snowshoe equipment rental is available at Quarry Hill Nature Center and by calling Quarry Hill Nature Center at 507-328-3950 for ski rental hours and rates. If you’re looking to get outside of town a few miles, yet stay in Olmsted County, make sure to check out Oxbow Park, Chester Woods Park, and Root River Park.


Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing is a form of skiing where skiers rely on their own locomotion to move across snow-covered terrain. The Rochester Parks & Recreation Department maintains groomed trails. Ski equipment rental is available at Quarry Hill Nature Center.  Call the Nature Center at 507-328-3950 for ski rental hours and rates. If you’re looking to get outside of town a few miles, yet stay in Olmsted County, make sure to check out Oxbow Park’s cross-country ski trail.

Please check the winter sports map to plan your route.




Current Trail Conditions: Trail conditions are updated regularly here.  Check often for up-to-date information. Please check the winter sports map to plan your route.
Ski Rental Costs:
  • 4-hour Ski Rental: Adult $7.50, Child $5
  • Full-Day Ski Rental: Adult $15, Child $10
  • Weekend Ski Rental: Adult $25, Child $20

Snowshoe Rental Costs:

  • 4-hour Snow Shoe Rental: Adult $5, Child $3
  • Full-Day Snow Shoe Rental: Adult $10, Child $6
  • Weekend Rental: Adult $15, Child $9

Sledding and Tubing

There are two fabulous sledding hills in Rochester MN. It’s a blast to get outside to enjoy the fresh air while burning off energy with your kids. Check out our Rochester MN Guide to Sledding and Tubing Hills for all the details!

Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is a traditional Minnesota pastime…no really! And it can be so much fun. For many, ice fishing is about the memories made, or the fun had, the good food eaten (lots of snacks!), not to mention the sense of accomplishment you get when you catch a fish. Ice fishing does take a bit of pre-planning.  For all the information details be sure to check out our Rochester MN Quickstart Guide to Ice Fishing.

Skiing & Snowboarding

If you’re looking for adventure in bright white snow, then skiing or snowboarding may give you a thrill with your friends or family. Can’t decide between downhill skiing or snowboarding? No problem, both are available within a short driving distance from Rochester MN


Outdoor Hockey

In the “State of Hockey,” we in Rochester, MN are lucky to have 8 outdoor hockey rinks scattered throughout the city. Many of which have warming houses and lights, to boot (closed for 20-21 due to Covid)! So gather up your friends, neighbors or family to have a friendly hockey competition on the outdoor rinks. It’s sure to be a grand time and provide loads of memories. Don’t forget to check out our Guide to Ice Skating in Rochester, MN for complete information!


Outdoor Ice Rinks – No Hockey

For those of you who are looking for a little less competition, yet still, time on the ice, make sure to stop by the one outdoor rink that does not allow hockey. Family and friends can gather here to enjoy the fresh winter air on the smooth ice!



Rochester Curling Club

Founded in 2017, the is a volunteer organization devoted to bringing back the sport of curling to the city! The club has created numerous classes, leagues, bonspiels, and social gatherings to add hype to the popular pastime. This all-inclusive sport comes with a culture all its own. Come experience competition brewed with kindness, sportsmanship, and equality in one of the various curling opportunities in our great city!

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