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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

December 2001

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Head for the hills

Wisconsin rules when it comes to skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping and sledding.

Natasha Kassulke


Wisconsin is king of the hill in many ways. With 36 downhill ski areas and moguls like those found at Tyrol Basin in Mt. Horeb and Cascade Mountain in Portage, the state boasts some of the Midwest's best half-pipes for snowboarders, challenging runs for skiers of all levels, and even snowtubing chutes.

What makes Wisconsin's ski areas special? Some, such as Whitecap Mountain on the shore of Lake Superior, receive more than 200 inches of annual snowfall. Others host unusual events like Devil's Head's "South of the Border Wild West Weekend" (Jan. 19) featuring country bands, western cookout and tube race rodeo. (800) 472-6670.

For a real downhill thrill, the town of Westby and the Snowflake Ski Club host the 80th annual international ski jumping tournament the last weekend in January. More than 150 top skiers will soar 300 feet on the Timber Coulee, a 114-meter hill. (608) 634-3211.

The Silvermine Invitational Ski Jumping Tournament in Eau Claire celebrates its 111th year Jan. 26-27 with more than 60 top jumpers testing their skills on a 90-meter hill (715) 832-2128.

Wausau's Granite Peak (formerly the Rib Mountain Ski Area) boasts the state's greatest vertical drop at 624 feet. It's surrounded by Rib Mountain State Park. (715) 845-2846.

Potawatomi State Park offers a 75-foot observation tower with a view of the snow-covered canopy and a downhill ski area that's opened occasionally. (920) 746-2890.

Winter also transforms Peninsula State Park's golf course into a sledder's dream. One of the best sled hills in the park is found at hole No. 17.

A good overview of Wisconsin ski and snowboard areas may be found at For a list of ski clubs that can steer you toward ski jumping and cross-country skiing, visit Ski Wisconsin.