Best time to go to Minnesota

Sandstone Ice Festival 2021

Welcome to Minnesota's ice climbing mecca for the celebration of all things winter

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Last updated: by Olha Savych
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Disclaimer: Due to COVID-19 concerns, many events might be canceled, postponed, or changed into limited versions, sometimes at very short notice. Please check with event organizers directly for the latest updates (view the "External Resources" section below).

The Sandstone Ice Festival occurs annually in early January at Robinson Park. The fans of winter sports arrive from all around Midwest and Canada to go for ice climbing, skinny skiing, snowshoeing, and winter camping. Even if you've never tried these fun activities before, with instructional clinics, gear rentals, and an excellent quarry of natural and man-made ice routes, this is a perfect place to dip your toe into new sports. The lights installed around the park allow the festive-goers to have fun till late at night. And the best way to wind down after the action is to warm up with local brews next to the bonfire.

Sandstone Ice Festival, 2011 2020
Sandstone Ice Festival, 2011
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Ice climbing has put the small town of Sandstone on the map. Every following year sees increasing turnout. However, Minnesota's winters get warmer consistently, which results in fewer ice walls being formed naturally, and most being farmed. The walls must be cold enough to hold the ice, so the Sandstone Ice Festival that originally used to take place in December soon moved to the colder month of January.

Thanks to ice farming facilities, ice climbing is available at Sandstone's famed "Ice Park" throughout winter. What's more, Robinson Park is open to climbers all year with no fee. You don't have to buy expensive equipment, as local outfitters offer climbing gear for rent, and experienced guides will help you to acquire new skills.

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