With help from the Spychalla family, Jack Lake now has a chalet that matches the quality of the ski trails.
On Saturday, family and friends of the late Jim Spychalla will gather at the trails located at the trailhead off of Highway J to dedicate a new lodge in his memory.
The rustic, inviting structure will be open on a year-round basis for skiers, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy.
An open house will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a brief ceremony and ribbon-cutting at 1 p.m.
The day will be centered on skiing and visiting, Jim’s son, James, said. We will have hot chocolate, tea, and some cookies and snacks available.
Joe Hermolin, an avid cross-country skier and president of the Langlade County Historical Society, has prepared some poster boards with a history of Veterans Memorial Park and the Jack Lake facility.
An accomplished amateur athlete, Spychalla died in December, 2014. His spirit continues to linger over the trails where he logged thousands of miles skiing and running over his 87 years.
My father was a fixture at Jack Lake Park for perhaps the last 40 years of his life, his son said. He would frequently have strings of over 100 days in a row at the park.
The family donated $35,000 to the forestry department for development and construction of a lodge, designed by maintenance director and architect Nate Heuss.
The completed building is 24 by 18 feet, with square log siding, a covered porch and a propane fireplace on an electric timer to provide quick warmth for skiers in a safety-conscious manner.
Adam Nicholson Construction completed the main building, while Tom Lazers, caretaker for Veterans Memorial Park, did much of the interior work. A rustic light fixture has already been provided and the caretaker is looking for donations of cabin-type furniture to enhance the decor.
This is such a nice building, it would be a shame to just put a couple picnic tables inside it, Lazers said.
Those with items they feel may enhance the interior should contact Lazers at the park or call him at 715 216-4403.
The completed facility is designed to serve as a meeting place for families. In addition to a staging area for skiers, several sledding runs have been carved into a nearby hillside.
Families can go skiing together, come back and warm up at the chalet and enjoy some sledding as well, Lazers said. It will be a true gathering place.
Long-known for the quality of its eight ski trails covering 15 miles, Jack Lake is receiving some other enhancements as well. The Langlade County Forestry Department has added a tracked-UTV for grooming the trails and the new snowfall this week will help as well.
Future plans call for improved signage along with new restroom facilities.