[ Triad Online Home ]                                                                                           Dec. 10, 2004
Leisure

Whitetail Ridge aiming for late      December opening  

By Rob Schuette, Triad Staff

        Cold weather in late November and early December has helped the Fort McCoy Whitetail Ridge Recreation Area staff prepare for the upcoming winter skiing season.

A snow-making machine spreads the white stuff around the ski slopes at the Whitetail Ridge Recreation Area. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
A snow-making machine spreads the white stuff around the ski slopes at the Whitetail Ridge Recreation Area. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

      Weather permitting, the season will run from the end December through March 2005, said Martin Trainor, Fort McCoy Outdoor Recreation director. The facility is open to the public.

      "The cold weather we had, with a low of 9 degrees (Fahrenheit) November 29-30, allowed us to capitalize on the weather conditions and begin making snow," Trainor said. "We are looking forward to the season."

      Winter enthusiasts again can enjoy the staples, including skiing (downhill and cross-country), snowboarding, snow tubing and equipment rental, weather permitting. If sufficient natural snow is available, snowmobilers can access snowmobile trails from Whitetail Ridge.

Whitetail Ridge Recreation Area at Fort McCoy will have holiday hours over the Christmas week to serve its customers.

      The holiday hours are closed Dec. 24 and 25 and open from noon to 8 p.m. from Sunday, Dec. 26 to Friday, Dec. 31. The facility will resume its regular hours and schedule Saturday, Jan. 1.

      The facility also will host the annual Snowfest from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29, 2005.

      Customers can take advantage of special discounts for skiing and snowboarding during Snowfest. Snowfest will include a new event, a Paintball Tournament at the nearby Tactics Paintball Field.

      Other events include the Cardboard Class Races, Big Air (snowboard jumping) Competitions, Tug-o-War event, the Tube Pull, and Stretcher Races.

      The event is open to the public. Anyone entering Whitetail Ridge is required to do so by using Gate 19 off of State Highway 21 and following the signs.

      For more information, call (608) 388-4498 or the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Events Line at (877) 864-4969 or visit the MWR Web site at http://www.mccoymwr.com.

      Two projects should help increase the enjoyment of Whitetail Ridge activities, Trainor said.

      The first was a project to install additional concrete and a sidewalk area by the Ski Chalet. This replaced wooden decks and grassy areas.

      The other project involved installing additional lighting for the main skiing slopes, he said.

      "The concrete projects should provide better footing in the area and will be easier to keep clean to help customers enjoy activities," Trainor said. "The lighting will make night skiing more attractive to patrons."

      Skiers and snowboarders can tackle four slopes, ranging from a beginners slope to a slope more than 1,300-feet long. Trainor said the ski slopes feature T-bar ski lifts, a handle tow for snow tubing and lighting for nighttime activities.

      Lessons will be available for skiers and snowboarders by calling (608) 388-4498 for information. Whitetail Ridge staff will provide the lessons.

      The Fort McCoy Ski Patrol will provide safety support during all Whitetail Ridge regular operations.

      Whitetail Ridge hours are Thursdays and Fridays 4:30 to 10 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Two-hour snow-tubing sessions will begin 30 minutes after the facility opens and end 30 minutes before it closes.

      The recently opened Tactics Paintball Field, which is near the ski slopes, will be open for winter activity, including Arctic Paintball. Call (608) 388-3517 for hours and other details.

      Other activities include a Ski Chalet and dining opportunities. The Primo's Express is open when the hill is open. For more information, call (608) 388-2065.

      Whitetail Ridge also can accommodate group visits, Trainor said.

      The nearby Pine View Recreation Area provides year-round lodging accommodations and is available for guests who would like to stay in the area for more than a day. Skiing and lodging packages are available. For information, call 388-3517.

      Trainor said the pricing structure at Whitetail Ridge has been changed slightly. Daily and/or seasonal rates and rental equipment to use at the facilities are available and can be viewed at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Web site at http://www.mccoymwr.com.

      For more information about ski conditions, call (608) 388-4498.

      Information about Whitetail Ridge or other MWR events also is available at the MWR Web site or by calling the MWR Events Line at (877) 864-4969.

      Anyone entering Whitetail Ridge must use Gate 19, which can be accessed from State Highway 21, and follow the signs.  

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