A record-setting crowd of nearly 800 participated in the fifth annual Winter Extravaganza, held Jan. 29 at Fort McCoy's Whitetail Ridge Ski Area.

The participants took advantage of many discounted events. A majority of the attendees - 502 people - found their way to the snowtubing slopes during the event's 11-hour schedule.

Winter Extravaganza supports both the Army Family and Community Covenants, said Jobi Spolum, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Marketing director. The event helps to bring Families together and strengthen their ties in support of the Army Family Covenant, she said.

Whitetail Ridge is open to the public, and events such as Winter Extravaganza help strengthen the relationship between Fort McCoy and the surrounding communities in support of the Army Community Covenant, Spolum said. Commercial sponsors helped support and defray the cost of the event, she added.

No one attending the event had to go hungry. A pancake breakfast started out the day's food offerings, said Pam Budda, Outdoor Recreation manager. The Ski Patrol's annual fundraiser selling hot dogs, bratwurst, etc., followed.

"They use the money from the sales to support their training and equipment needs," Budda said. "The Ski Patrol personnel provide safety support when Whitetail Ridge is open."

The Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) organization had brisk sales of popcorn and hot chocolate, said BOSS Vice President Sgt. 1st Class Ann Mais.

Visitors also found time to try out the skiing slopes and participate in competitions or special events, Budda said.

The slalom ski race attracted 40 participants, and the obstacle course had 29. The obstacle course was a combination of skiing/snowboarding that required participants to maneuver past obstacles to put a bean bag into a bucket.

Twenty-seven people participated in the snow adventure race, which combined several activities, including cross-country skiing and tubing and running. The rail jam and snow-pile dig had 20 participants each, and the tug-o-war had four teams.

Not all of the action was on the slopes or in the food areas, Budda said.

Games of Cribbage, cards, Scrabble and Yahtzee were available all day in the Ski Chalet's Rec Room, Budda said.

The Whitetail Ridge's overflow parking lot received heavy use.

"We didn't turn anyone away," Budda said. "We used a tractor and wagon to transport guests from that lot up to the skiing area."

The Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation program also offered van transportation from the cantonment area to Whitetail Ridge this year. Budda said about 30 Soldiers took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the winter activities.

"It was great weather, " Budda said.

The ski and snow-tubing season continues, with Whitetail Ridge forecast to remain open until mid-March, weather permitting.

For more Whitetail Ridge events information, call 608-388-7400 or 1-877-864-4969 or visit the Family and MWR website at http://www.mccoymwr.com.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16