Fort McCoy News December 13, 2013

Whitetail Ridge to open Dec. 20, weather permitting

BY GENEVE N. MANKEL
Public Affairs Staff

Fort McCoy's Whitetail Ridge Ski Area will kick off the 2013-14 season Friday, Dec. 20, weather permitting.

The ski area, located off of Highway 21, is open to the public and offers a variety of winter activities.

Photo for Whitetail Ridge article
Members of the Fort McCoy Fire Department flood an area for ice skating at
Whitetail Ridge Ski Area. Rink use is free to the Fort McCoy community,
but participants must provide their own ice skates.
Contributed photo

This year the ski area will feature an ice-skating rink, said Pam Budda, Outdoor Recreation manager.

"It's been many years since there has been an ice skating rink at Whitetail Ridge, and there was a customer demand for one," she said. "It's also an activity youth who aren't big enough to go snow tubing can do."

Users can skate for free on the lighted rink. They must provide their own skates as skate rentals are not available, she said.

Those sticking to the slopes will find Whitetail Ridge offers downhill skiing and snowboarding options for patrons of all ages and abilities.

The longest run is more than 1,300 feet long with a vertical drop of more than 185 feet, Budda said. A self-loading T-bar serves the slopes.

A bunny hill also is being added to the area this year. It will have a starter tow and be ideal for ski lessons and beginners, she said.

Snowboarders also have access to the terrain park, which will have 10 to 15 features available.

Snow tubing is the most popular activity at Whitetail, Budda said. "It's a great Family activity that almost everyone can do."

Certified members of the National Ski Patrol are on site to monitor activity and promote safety. The ski hill cannot be opened without the ski patrol present, she said.

One-hour private lessons are also available at the ski area, Budda said.

Additionally, the area has more than 5 miles of scenic cross-country skiing/snowshoeing trails, Budda said. The trails are open when enough natural snow covers the trails.

Whitetail Ridge will be open Fridays from 4:30 to 9 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays noon to 6 p.m.
Special holiday hours will be Thursday, Dec. 26 through Saturday, Jan. 4 from noon to 8 p.m. and Jan. 5 from noon to 6 p.m.

Special school-closure hours will be Friday, Jan. 24 from 1 to 9 p.m.; Wednesday, Jan. 29 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 21 1 to 9 p.m.; and Friday, March 7 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Special events at Whitetail Ridge for 2013-2014 are:

Dec. 14 -15 - Snow tubing runs open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dec. 20 – Opening Weekend Celebration (tentative)
Jan. 4 – Military Appreciation
Jan. 11 – Rail Jam
Jan. 25 – Winter Extravaganza
Feb. 15 – Valentine's Day Wine Tasting
Feb. 22 – Chili Cook Off
March 1 – Customer Appreciation

For details about these events call 608-388-3517.

Patrons can rent equipment at the ski area to include skis, snowboards, cross country skis, helmets, and boots.

Budda said Early Bird Season passes will be available until Dec. 22. Specials include season passes for individual/Family facility use, and cross-country and downhill ski-equipment rental. Passes can be purchased at the Pine View Campground Office, building 8053.

Daily lift passes are $30 and $25 for youth 12 years old and younger. Military ID card holders receive a $5 discount. Special rates for groups of 50 or more are available.

The ski area also offers a Birthday Party Package for $15 per person (eight-person minimum) and includes unlimited tubing, a hot dog or pizza slice, chips, cookie and canned soda.

Specials for the season include Friday Family Night — four tubing passes, one pizza, a two-liter bottle of soda and four cookies for $50; and Super Saver Sunday — lift ticket with equipment rental for $45/adults and $35/junior. Tubing group rates are available all week at two hours for $8 per person or three hours for $13 per person.

Other amenities at the ski area include an outdoor fire pit and a chalet, which offers food and beverages for purchase.

"Anyone who isn't into outdoor winter activities can sit in the chalet where there are areas to read a book, enjoy the views and be in a peaceful environment," Budda said.

Whitetail Ridge also is home to the Tactics Paintball and Laser Tag course, which is open year round by reservation only. Call 608-388-3517 for more information.

For more information about Whitetail Ridge Ski Area, call 608-388-4498/3517 or 800-531-4703, visit the website www.mccoymwr.com/home/whitetail-ridge-ski.html or like Whitetail Ridge on Facebook at www.facebook.com/whitetailridge.