Winter Play: Embracing the cold across Minnesota

A man wearing a climbing helmet looks up
Minnesota Public Radio News reporter Dan Kraker looks up at a cliff face he just finished climbing at Silver Creek Cliffs on Jan. 19 north of Two Harbors, Minn.
Derek Montgomery for MPR News

Setting foot outside your home in the middle of a Minnesota winter might make you want to run back indoors and hibernate until it warms up.

But there’s a group of people who don’t hide from the wind — instead, they look for it. They wait for a fresh blanket of snow or hard freeze to thicken the ice on a lake so they can safely venture on to it.

Three bikers stopped on a snowy trail
MPR News reporter Kirsti Marohn pauses for a break while fatbiking at the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails near Ironton, Minn. on Saturday, Jan. 14.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

There are people who enjoy winter, and Minnesota has a lot to offer them. MPR News guest host Dan Kraker talks about why you might want to plan an outdoor excursion during the coldest months of the year.  

We’ll learn about the outdoor activities that have a short window of opportunity, limited to just six weeks out the year for winter conditions to be just right.

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A person wearing headphones looks up
Amy Felegy, associate digital producer and reporter for MPR News, looks skyward in search of songbirds, woodpeckers and other birds Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, during the Winter Birding Festival at Forest River Park. The park sits along the Red River and is designated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society and Birdlife International.
Ann Arbor Miller for MPR News

MPR News reporters share their stories from Winter Play — a series exploring how Minnesotans play outside during winter


  • Randy Carlson is a snow kiting co-coordinator at the University of Minnesota Duluth recreational sports outdoor program. 

  • Claire Wilson is the executive director for The Loppet Foundation in Minneapolis.

  • Kirsti Marohn is a correspondent in MPR News' Collegeville bureau.

  • Regina Medina is an MPR News correspondent for the race, class and communities team.

  • Amy Felegy is an associate digital producer and reporter in MPR News’ Moorhead bureau.

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