Wealth of Winter
Lake Country, a wonderland for snow-coverd fun
Winter weather does not have to leave you feeling homebound and clutching to fading memories of more temperate seasons.
Instead, why not try getting into the fun of winter and take part in some of the many winter activities that Lake Country has to offer.
Naturally, you can try replicating Frosty, or making snow angels in the yard or engaging in a good-old fashioned snow ball fight, but you may also want to consider some of the following:
Bundle up the kids, grab a thermos of hot cocoa and head out to the sledding hills at these two nearby county parks: Mukwonago Park and Nashotah Park.
The county park system updates the snow conditions by 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.waukeshacounty.gov/WorkArea/linkit.aspx?LinkIdentifier=id&ItemID=39526. The parks are open from sunrise to 10 p.m., year round.
Maybe you'd prefer to tour Mother Nature's winter wonderland from a snowmobile on any of the 135-mile trails in Waukesha County.
The trails open when the temperature dips below 32 degrees and there's more than six inches of snow on the ground.
Snowmobilers are urged to stay on the trails when they are open. Trespassing fines can be issued for riding on closed trails.
Call the trail hotline to see when the trails open at (414) 299-0330 or click on the link to the Waukesha page at the Snow Safari Forum for the latest trail updates.
The Ausblick Ski Club, located in Sussex, offers downhill skiing fun to its members at its Maryhill Road location.
The club's operating hours vary depending on snow conditions, so interested parties should call ahead at (262) 246-3090 or visit www.ausblick.org.
"We have taken advantage of a few cold nights to test equipment and lay down some base snow. We need quite a bit more to build a layer thick enough to survive warm trends and rain. As soon as we have that safe base, we will open up for the season. It takes a long time to get there at temperatures above 20 degrees and much less time at 10 to 15 degrees. You can help us by praying for cold weather - think cold," Manager Dennis Evinrude, posted on the company's website.
The Highlands of Olympia
Located in Oconomowoc, the ski hill is expected to open for the season this week.
The ski area is serviced by two double chairlifts and one rope tow and has snowmaking capabilities on 100 percent of its terrain.
In addition, the hill now offers four lanes for snow tubing.
Serviced by a handle tow that pulls you to the top while you sit in your tube, the snow tubing area offers a 60-foot vertical drop and nearly 1,000 feet of slope, according to information on its website.
For more information, go to www.skihighlandsofolympia.com.
If downhill skiing is not for you, perhaps you'd like to take the day to do some cross-country skiing.
Area parks offer trails that welcome even the least experienced at the sport.
Nashotah County Park features cross-country skiing on groomed trails for all ages and ability levels. Three loopstotal six miles of gently rolling to hilly terrain.
For more information, contact the Waukesha County Park Systems at (262) 548-7801.
The Glacial Drumlin State Trail gives enthusiasts 52 miles of a level but ungroomed trail for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The trail is shared withsnowmobiles. For a trail map and additional information on snowmobiling on the trail, contact the Wisconsin DNR.
Lapham Peak offers 17-miles of cross-country ski trails and is the only state park that has a lighted trail (2.5-miles) and snow making equipment for season-long enjoyment. The groomed trails can accommodate for all abilities. Beginners can try out the special 0.4-mile loop made just with them in mind. Ski rentals are available on weekends.
Cross-country skiing is permitted at the 414-acre Nagawaukee County Park; however the trails are shared with other outdoor winter recreation activities and are not groomed.
While snowshoeing is permitted on many trails, Lapham Peak offers a special 5-mile trail for this winter pursuit.
Many of the area lakes are utilized for outdoor skating as conditions warrant. But not all winter fun has to be found outdoors.
In addition to the outdoor skating pond in Lapham Peak, the Naga-Waukee Park Ice Arena in Delafield offers public skating for indoor ice-skating as well as open ice hockey year-round. Skate rental and skate sharpening available. For more information and hours, call (262) 646-7071.
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