Volunteers line up luminaries for Candlelight Ski


A luminary glows on a snowy path at the 2013 Candlelight Ski. PHOTO BY THOMAS PEROWITZ


A luminary glows on a snowy path at the 2013 Candlelight Ski. PHOTO BY THOMAS PEROWITZ

A luminary glows on a snowy path at the 2013 Candlelight Ski. PHOTO BY THOMAS PEROWITZ

By Karl Zabinski
InkSpot staff writer

Organizers of this year’s Candlelight Ski couldn’t have asked for a better winter. The cold, snowy weather has created ideal conditions for the annual event, which draws more than 200 people to Cambridge campus for a night of skiing, local music and fellowship.

This year’s event is Saturday, Feb. 1, from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Cambridge Campus of the Anoka-Ramsey Community College.

“It’s free and open to everyone,” said biology instructor Mary Januschka, who coordinates the event, now in its 12th year.

The highlight of the Candlelight Ski consists of skiing the park trails in the Spirit River Nature Area. The trail, which is maintained for skiing during the winter by volunteers, is lined by nearly 500 luminaries, giving the Candlelight Ski its name. “[The trail] is just gorgeous, especially as it gets darker,” said Januschka.

In addition to the skiing, many activities will be going on indoors throughout the evening. Snacks, live music, and door prizes are just some of the attractions found in the Food Court of the campus.

Local musicians Ken Krona and Rick Stener will be providing entertainment throughout the evening. “[They] do an awesome job,” Januschka said. “The music is fantastic.”

Door prizes are another indoor activity. Because of Januschka, many local businesses have donated items for the door prizes. In addition, prizes in the campus bookstore are included, courtesy of the Anoka-Ramsey faculty. Local artists have also donated door prizes themselves. “We’ve got a print by a local artist, pottery by a local artist, jewelry made by a couple of local artists,” said Januschka. “Some really unique, nice stuff.”

The Candlelight Ski does not happen on its own. When asked if volunteers were needed to help with the event, Januschka said, “We can always use a lot of help,” Tasks include setting up and lighting the luminaries Saturday afternoon, and collecting the spent luminaries after the event closed. Januschka said, “We have between 450 and 500 luminaries that we set out.”

The best part, Januschka said is that the ski trails go through the woods, “you don’t have to worry about the wind.”

The Candlelight Ski has become an important event for the Cambridge community. The event is an opportunity for participants to socialize, enjoy the outdoors, experience the local music culture and bask in a Minnesota February evening.