Snow

Employees with the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation for the Whitetail Ridge Ski Area prepare a snow-making machine for use at the ski area at Whitetail Ridge.

Fort McCoy’s Whitetail Ridge Ski Area is open for the season.

The Whitetail Ridge season is mid-December to mid-March, as long as weather conditions hold.

Whitetail Ridge, part of Fort McCoy’s Pine View Recreation Area, offers a variety of activities for the whole family, said recreation specialist Matt Winchell with the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. The ski hill offers both downhill skiing and snowboarding, and the longest run is 1,300 feet. A self-loading T-bar carries skiers to the top.

“We also have a nice terrain park with a lot of features for skiers and snowboarders to utilize,” Winchell said.

In addition, the area offers more than five miles of groomed cross-country skiing trails. Ski or snowshoe along the trails to see some of the local wildlife.

Winchell said one of the most popular activities at Whitetail Ridge is snow tubing. The 800-foot slope has five runs for tubers to slide down. A Magic Carpet transportation system was installed this fall to make it easier to get tubes and riders back to the top of the hill.

“It’s essentially a conveyer belt,” Winchell said. “People can stand on the conveyer belt holding their tubes and be ferried up the hill.”

Another new thing this year is the Grade “A” Snow Day program. Students in elementary through high school can get a free one-day snow-tubing pass if they bring in a current report card with at least one A on it. Home-schooled or younger students can bring in a report showing an equivalent grade to get a pass.

“We had really good, positive feedback about it on the local school districts’ Facebook pages, so I think people are really interested in it,” Winchell said.

The program is available any day that Whitetail Ridge is open.

Outdoor recreation manager Robin Paoletti with DFMWR said Whitetail Ridge is also offering weekend and group passes on snow tubing and the ski hill this year.

“We also have (skiing and snowboarding) instructors,” Paoletti said. “People who are interested can come out for an hour and learn about the sports.”

In addition to offering ski, snowboard, snow tubing, and snowshoe equipment rentals, Paoletti said staff members can service customers’ equipment.

While Fort McCoy does not maintain any snowmobile trails, Snowmobile Trails of Monroe County maintains some that cross Fort McCoy, including one at Burma Road directly across the road from Whitetail Ridge.

For current conditions at Whitetail Ridge, visit its Facebook page at facebook.com/WhitetailRidge.

The facility will offer several special events throughout the season. Winter Extravaganza, scheduled for Jan. 19, is the biggest event, Winchell said. It features a variety of family-friendly winter activities, both inside the chalet and out. The area will also host a snowshoe 5k Jan. 5, the Cardboard Classic Sled Race Jan. 26, the Moonlit Snow Shoe Tour Feb. 16, the Chili Cook-Off Feb. 23, and the Season Finale March 23.

All events are subject to weather conditions.

During holiday hours through Dec. 30, Whitetail Ridge is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. It will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 31 and closed Dec. 24-25 and Jan. 1, 2019. Its regular winter hours will be 4:30-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Tactics Paintball and Laser Tag is also located at Whitetail Ridge. The facility is open by appointment only; reservations are required two days in advance.

Pine View Recreation Area facilities are open to the general public. Discounts are generally offered to military members or Department of Defense civilian employees. A visitor’s pass, military ID, or Department of Defense ID is not required to access the recreation area.

For more information about costs and special events at Whitetail Ridge, call 608-388-4498/3517 or 800-531-4703. Information is also available online at https://mccoy.armymwr.com.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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