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Whitetail Ridge crews prepare to open facility Dec. 18, weather permitting

      Preparations are nearing completion to open Fort McCoy's Whitetail Ridge Recreation Area by the target date of Dec. 18.  The opening will depend upon weather conditions, said Martin Trainor.

Clay King, an Outdoor Recreation staff member, adjusts a snowmaking machine at Whitetail Ridge Recreation Area at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Clay King, an Outdoor Recreation staff member, adjusts a snowmaking machine at Whitetail Ridge Recreation Area at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

      Trainor, McCoy Outdoor Recreation director, said the season will run through March 2004, weather permitting.

      Whitetail Ridge will offer skiing (downhill and cross-country), snowboarding, snow-tubing and equipment rental, Trainor said.

      The fees for using the facility are the same as they have been for the past two years, Trainor said. "We're keeping rates down so people can come out and enjoy winter fun."

      Skiers and snowboarders can tackle four skiing slopes ranging from a beginners slope to a slope more than 1,300 feet long. 

      The slopes feature T-bar ski lifts and a handle tow (snow-tubing) and are lighted for nighttime activities.

      Whitetail Ridge will be open Thursdays through Sundays for the upcoming season.  Hours will be 4:30-10 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays.

Holiday hours, Snowfest dates set

      Whitetail Ridge Recreation Area will have special hours during the upcoming holiday season.  The facility also will host Snowfest 2004, which will be held over two days Jan. 23-24, 2004.

      The holiday schedule is: Dec. 24, closed; Dec. 25-26, and Dec. 28-Jan. 2, noon-8 p.m.; Dec. 27 and Jan. 3, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Jan. 4 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

      Regular hours will resume Jan. 8.

      Customers also can take advantage of the special events and rates for Snowfest 2004, which, for the first time, will be held over two days Friday, Jan. 23 and Saturday, Jan. 24.

      New Friday events will run from 4:30 p.m.-8 p.m. and include a fun run, blind volleyball and steak fry. 

      Saturday events will run from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.  New events will include cross-country races, tug of war,  dodge ball competition, stretcher races, NTN Trivia and Table Games.  Returning events are cardboard classic, tubing races,  and other skiing and snowboarding events.

      Martin Trainor, Fort McCoy Outdoor Recreation director, said Whitetail Ridge also can accommodate groups.  For more information, call Whitetail Ridge in advance.

      For more information about Whitetail Ridge, call (608) 388-4498 or visit the Web site http://www.mccoymwr.com.

      Two-hour snow-tubing sessions will begin 30 minutes after the facility opens each day and end 30 minutes before closing time.

      The facility is operated as part of the installation's Outdoor Recreation Program, which is aligned under the Directorate of Community Activities. 

      New for the 2003-2004 season at Whitetail Ridge operations are a 30-foot rainbow and a 30-foot tabletop rail for snowboarders, Trainor said. 

      New snowboarding and skiing equipment also will be available for rent.

      Other improvements include replacing the steel cable on the T-bar for the ski lift area and adding water sticks to maximize snowmaking efforts.

      Lessons will be available weekends for snowboarders and skiers.  Whitetail staff will provide lessons, and the Fort McCoy Ski Patrol will provide safety support during all regular operations.

      Other special activities include a Ski Chalet and dining opportunities.  The Ski Chalet features indoor viewing and warming areas.  Trainor said the Whitetail Ridge Ski Chalet addition includes a full-service bar.

      The Primo's Express at Whitetail Ridge  will be open at the times Whitetail Ridge is open.  Customers can call (608) 388-2065 for more information.

      If there is sufficient natural snow, snowmobilers also can connect to snowmobile trails from Whitetail Ridge, he said.

      Trainor said Whitetail Ridge again will offer its popular skiing (tubing)/lodging packages. 

      Lodging is available at the nearby Pine View Recreation Area.  Customers can call (608) 388-3517 for reservations. 

      Anyone wishing to visit Whitetail Ridge must use Gate 19 and follow the signs, Trainor said.

      Detailed information about prices and Whitetail activities is available online at the Morale, Recreation and Welfare (MWR) Web site at http://www.mccoymwr.com.

      Information about current snow conditions at Whitetail Ridge is available by calling (608) 388-4498. 

      In addition to the Web site, information about the facilities and activities also is available by calling the MWR events line at (877) 864-4969.

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