Carleton College Arboretum

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Registration: Coming Soon
Meets: Sunday
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Starts: Jan. 7, 2024
Dates: Jan 7, Jan 8, Jan 9, Jan 10, Jan 11, Jan 12, Jan 13, Jan 14, Jan 15, Jan 16, Jan 17, Jan 18, Jan 19, Jan 20, Jan 21, Jan 22, Jan 23, Jan 24, Jan 25, Jan 26, Jan 27, Jan 28, Jan 29, Jan 30, Jan 31, Feb 1, Feb 2, Feb 3, Feb 4, Feb 5, Feb 6, Feb 7, Feb 8, Feb 9, Feb 10, Feb 11, Feb 12, Feb 13, Feb 14, Feb 15, Feb 16, Feb 17, Feb 18, Feb 19, Feb 20, Feb 21, Feb 22, Feb 23, Feb 24, Feb 25, Feb 26, Feb 27, Feb 28, Feb 29, Mar 1, Mar 2, Mar 3, Mar 4, Mar 5, Mar 6, Mar 7, Mar 8, Mar 9, Mar 10
Classic Rentals: Club Rentals Classic - online - $55.00
Skate Rentals: Club Rentals Skate - online - $100.00
Membership: $50.00
Ski Pass Required:
Leader: Pamela R Fickenscher
Skill Levels Offered: Level 1-6 Classic and Skate
Land Acknowledgement: We are grateful to able to ski in the Carleton Arboretum, which is located on Dakota land. For more information about this land's importance as a travel route, see the interpretive sign in the lower Arb.
Backup Plan: When natural snow is not available in Northfield, we have a back-up time slot at Hyland Nordic ski area in Bloomington.

Welcome to Northfield SkiSparks

Northfield kids and volunteers will gather starting January 7, 2024 for the ninth season of  Northfield SkiSparks. This learn-to-ski program is run by local volunteers and supported by MyXC's fabulous curriculum and structure. Your kids will be learning under the same organization that taught Jessie Diggins to cross-country ski!  Kids ages 4-12 learn the basics through group games, exploring the trails of the Carleton Arboretum, and focusing on skill building. We can offer rental equipment to youth on a a first-come, first-serve basis. It's a great way to be outside together as a family on a Sunday afternoon.

Schedule and location

Levels will have a staggered start with the upper levels starting at 3 p.m. and younger skiers starting at 3:15. We gather behind the Carleton Rec Center, near the water tower.

Weather and cancellation policy

We will not ski if the air temperature is below -2˚ F or the wind chill is below -10˚ F, or at the leader’s discretion. Cancellations will be posted on this web page and by email if we have your address. Think about the wind when you dress. In low-snow conditions occasionally we have relocated or offered club time at the snow-making venue at Hyland regional park in Bloomington.

We will be outside every lesson! Children should be dressed in layers, paying special attention to warm and dry hands and feet. Wool socks! A moisture wicking under layer, an insulating layer, and a wind-proof layer are typically appropriate. Please use your discretion noting your child’s activity level and the outside temperature/wind chill. For more practiced skiers, a winter jacket and  a snowsuit are too warm once the child gets moving. 


We offer rentals in limited quantities on a first-come, first serve basis. All rental packages are boots-skis-poles in order to ensure a fit. Rentals are kept by the family for the whole season and returned in March. Register early for the best chance at getting the rental sizes you need. 

MYSL strongly recommends that youth begin skiing in the classic style. Note that our rental equipment is mostly for skiers ages 4-14. Large kids in the 13-14 year old range may need to seek used or rental equipment through other means. The MYSL Ski Swap in November is an excellent source for gently used equipment. All our rental gear is in the NNN binding style for boots and skis. Contact us directly well in advance of January if you have questions about gear. 

If your child is ready to learn skate skiing -- that is, they are comfortable on classic skis and 9 or older -- great! However our rental equipment is classic style only. Contact about ideas for equipping a new skate skier.

Levels and age guidelines are as follows:

For children who are new to MyXC, assign the child to the lowest skill level that spans their age as of January 1.  If a child has skied at least 10 times, consider advancing them one skill level.   Coaches will assess children at the first meeting, but it is important for parents to accurately assign levels by age during the registration process.

Classic ski lessons: Level I: Ages 3-7 (parents ski along with the child), Level 2: 6-8 (parents check in occasionally), Level 3: 7-10, Level 4: 8-12

Skate ski lessons: Level 5: 9-13, Level 6: 11-14

If your skier is an older beginner (age 10 and up) sign up for level 3*.


We will be communicating with MyXC families via email.  We need valid emails for all.  When you register please include a contact e-mail address for the parent who will be transporting your kids.  You would be contacted for the following reasons:

  1. To let you know if we have to cancel a meeting because of weather or snow conditions.
  2. To clear up any questions we may have about your registration.
  3. To be given periodic updates with news and information about the ski club.

Need to contact us? Email us at


This is a volunteer-run club. Parents and high school age skiers form our coaching staff. The success and affordability of this program comes directly from your contributions of time, energy, and talent. The more parents we have available, especially in the opening weeks as kids get accustomed to their equipment, the better experience everyone will have. YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE A GREAT SKIER TO HELP. 

Following are some suggested areas of volunteer service:


We really need your help!  This is our biggest need and is one of the most rewarding ways in which you can help the club.  Kids get more out of the program when the coach-to-kid ratio is low, and coaches need not be experienced skiers to volunteer.   

MyXC offers on-line and on-snow coaches' training.

Junior Coaches:

High-school aged skiers, we need you! We rely heavily on high school volunteers, who are fun, friendly and in far better shape than most of us. Let us know if you need this coaching time documented for community service hours (such as for the National Honor Society).

Assistant and Sub Coaches:

As an assistant coach, you can support a coach by accompanying the group on the trails and helping skiers.  If you feel like your skiing level is at the same level as the level your kids are signed up for, you would be a fantastic assistant coach!  You are not in charge of the instruction, rather you are there to make sure the kids are safe,  and can assist with activities.

Other great volunteer roles:


Sweepers are parents who commit to "bringing up the rear" and helping keep the group together. They make it easier for us to keep kids of different abilities together and having fun.

Snack provider 

Each week we close with snacks at the Arboretum office. Volunteers put on the hot cocoa and provide simple snacks like granola bars or clementines.

Snow maker

Just kidding. But obviously, we all need to think snow for a successful year!

Contact info

Email Pam Fickenscher at with questions.