Fort McCoy's Whitetail Ridge Ski Area opens for season
December 17, 2008
By Rob Schuette
Thanks to cold weather and some assistance from Mother Nature, Whitetail Ridge Ski Area at Fort McCoy, Wis. opened for the season Dec. 13.
The winter season is expected to run from the anticipated December opening through about mid-March, weather permitting.
Snow-making began shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, said Karl Coughlin of the Outdoor Recreation staff. Snow at the beginning of December provided a good complement to the installation crewAca,!a,,cs support.
Whitetail Ridge again will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for the 2008-2009 winter season.
Temporary hours will be noon-5:30 p.m. Saturday Dec. 20 and Sunday Dec. 21.
Extended holiday hours will be available from noon-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 26-Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009.
Regular Skiing and Chalet hours will begin Sunday, Jan. 4 and will be 4:30-9 p.m. Fridays, noon-9 p.m. Saturdays and noon-6 p.m. Sundays. Tubing hours will be 5-8:30 p.m. Fridays, 12:30-8:30 p.m. Saturdays and 12:30-5:30 p.m. Sundays.
Everything is available to help patrons, including the public, enjoy winter activities, Coughlin said.
Skiing and snowboarding equipment are available for rent. A rope tow is available for the tubing slope, and a T-bar lift is available for the skiing slopes.
"The tubing slope is 800-feet long and offers riders many thrills," Coughlin said. "We have several skiing slopes, with the longest being 1,300 feet and a vertical drop of more than 185 feet."
Safety is paramount on the slopes and is supported by National Ski Patrol members being on duty during operating hours, he said.
Personnel who wish to learn how to ski or snowboard also are welcome to come to Whitetail.
"We will have skiing instruction (from 1-2 p.m.) and snowboarding instruction (from 2-3 p.m.) for a fee Saturdays and Sundays during the season," Coughlin said. "ItAca,!a,,cs an excellent opportunity to learn the fundamentals."
Whitetail Ridge patrons also are welcome to enjoy the amenities during down time or to observe their friends and family members. A snack bar will be open in the Chalet during facility hours.
The Chalet also has warming and viewing areas. An outdoor warming area is located adjacent to the Chalet and the slopes, he said.The Tactics Paintball Course also is located at Whitetail Ridge Ski Area.
More information, including prices, is available by going to the Fort McCoy Morale, Welfare and Recreation Web site at http://www.mccoymwr.com.
Whitetail Ridge conditions are available by calling the hill at (608) 388-4498 or Pine View Recreation Area at (608) 388-3517.
Pine View also offers lodging year-round, which can be combined with equipment to be used at Whitetail Ridge in winter packages.
Whitetail Ridge offers snowmobiling and cross-country skiing opportunities on nearby trails. These activities depend if there is enough natural snow on the trails.
Winter Extravaganza Jan. 24, special events set for Saturdays
A number of special events and hours are planned for the Whitetail Ridge Ski Area, including the Winter Extravaganza and Frostbite 5-Kilometer Saturday, Jan. 24. Special events and hours are contingent on the weather conditions.
Karl Coughlin of the Fort McCoy Outdoor Recreation staff said special events will be held Saturdays from December through February and throughout the season. The first will be tubing races scheduled for Dec. 27.
January events will include Big Air Competition (Jan. 3), Customer Appreciation Day and Full Moon Ski (Jan. 10), the Ski Snowboard Obstacle Course (Jan. 17), the beginning of the "Walk to Iraq and Back" (Jan. 24) and the Snow Adventure Race (Jan. 31). The Cross-Country Geo-caching event will begin Thursday, Jan. 1.
"Walk to Iraq and Back" is a new 12-month wellness program in which an individual or teams of people work out to cover the distance in miles between Fort McCoy and wherever their loved ones may be overseas," he said. "Running, swimming and biking are just of few of the ways (participants may accumulate) miles."
The Snow Adventure Race is a new race that will require participants to engage in different forms of winter recreation, such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snow tubing. The race will take place on the cross-country trails of the ski hill, he said.
Special February events will be: Snowboard Trick Competition (Feb. 7), Tubing Races (Feb. 14), Slalom Races (Feb. 21), and Tube Bowling (Feb. 28).
A new Customer Appreciation Day and Slush Pit is scheduled for Sunday, March 8, and a Fools Run 5-K is set for Saturday, April 4.
Group, party and birthday packages/rates are available at Whitetail Ridge. Information and up-to-date slope conditions also are available by calling (608) 388-4498 or (608) 388-3517.