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Langlade County News

Get Outdoors This Weekend: It's Ideal on the Trails and Slopes Here

January 14, 2017

This is the weekend to shake those winter cobwebs.

With almost a foot of fresh powder this week, groomers have been out in full force, crafting what should be perfect trails and slopes for skiing and snowmobiling this weekend.

Add glassy ice rinks, a city sledding hill refreshed by the snow, and seasonal temperatures and it is shaping up as the perfect winter weekend.

Don’t tarry though, the forecast calls for a chance of sleet and freezing rain on Monday afternoon followed by a January thaw, with temperatures above freezing as the week progresses. That will chew those trails and slopes up quickly.

Or for something different, stop down at Winterfest in Mattoon. Conditions should be great for that event as well.

Snowmobiling

All 530 miles of the Langlade County snowmobile trail system are open, with seven to 12 inches of cover. Conditions are reported as good.

Across the region, the week’s snowfall has allowed trails to be reported in good to excellent condition in much of northern Wisconsin, although things get a bit sketchy father south.

The slopes

The groomer was out Wednesday and conditions should be excellent at Kettlebowl Ski Hill this weekend.

Hours are Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. each day. Rentals are available. Tow tickets are $6 for adults, $3 for teens, $2 for children ages six to 12 and free for youngsters five and under.

Kettlebowl Ski Hill is located approximately 15 miles northeast of Antigo on Highway 52 or four miles southwest of the Highway 52/55 intersection at Lily.

For those looking for larger challenges than Kettlebowl’s gentle slopes, skiing is available at Granite Peak in Wausau, Brule, located near Iron Mountain, Mich. and Camp 10 just south of Rhinelander. Or go a bit farther afield and hit the slopes at Hurley, Ironwood and Bessemer, Mich.

Cross-country skiing

Tom Lazers was piloting the PistenBully at the Jack Lake ski trails this week, in excellent shape for weekend action.

The county is home to five outlying systems, along with the city’s network of trails.

The big PistenBully was out this week and trails are groomed and tracked at Jack Lake, the county’s premier trail system. They are in excellent condition. The Yukon (expert loop) will not be groomed this year.

Jack Lake trails cover 15 miles, with loops for all experience levels. From Antigo, travel north on Highway 45 to Highway J. Turn east on Highway J and travel approximately two miles. Trailhead will be on the left.

The Moccasin Trail was groomed and tracked on Thursday, and is in excellent condition. The loggers are finishing hauling wood out from the Luge Loop and with the next snowfall that will be groomed. The trail is 5.5 miles long, designed for all abilities, and groomed for both classic and freestyle.

From Antigo, travel north on Highway 45 approximately 18 miles. Turn left onto Enterprise Lake Road, west on Moccasin Lake Road to Bear Road. Go south on Bear Road a mile to the trailhead.

In addition to downhill skiing, Kettlebowl also offers 4.3 miles of rolling cross-country trails for classical skiing. They are groomed and tracked and in excellent condition.

Gartzke Flowage Trails were groomed, although equipment problems did not allow some trails to be track set. All trails are in good to very good condition. Trails will be groomed again later this weekend.

From Antigo, travel east on County F. Once past County S intersection continue East on Fifth Avenue Road two miles. The complex covers 5.5 miles.

The city of Antigo’s two miles of cross-country loops on the Antigo Lake trail were tracked and groomed after the snowfall and are reported to be in excellent shape.

Access is available from Byrne Street, the dead-end of Virginia Street or behind North Elementary School.

In the eastern part of the county, Silver Birch Ranch operates the Maranatha Trail System, covering 6.7 miles of wooded scenery in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The trail ranges from beginner to expert levels and is groomed for traditional skiing. All are groomed, tracked and packed and in excellent condition.

The trail head begins a half-mile east of Silver Birch Ranch located at N6120 Sawyer Lake Road four miles north of Langlade off Highway 55.

Skating rinks

The city of Antigo has centralized all its skating rinks in the Peaceful Valley Park, a great location complete with a warming house and, for next year, a covered pavilion.

Crews swept the new snow off the rinks Thursday and are adding water to the ice today. The hockey and general skating rinks should be great for the weekend.

Sledding

Youngsters are also enjoying the city’s big sledding hill, with runs for every level of daredevil. It is located off First Avenue between Edison and Dorr streets.

Snowshoing

Snowshoing should be great throughout the area.

Signed, marked and packed trails are located at Moccasin and Gartzke Flowage. Trails are also available at veteran’s Memorial Park at Jack Lake.

In the city, trails are open to showshoers, but they are asked to stay off the cross-country ski tracks.

Winterfest

The Mattoon community will come together to celebrate all-things winter complete with snowmen, sledding, chili and a Christmas tree burn at Winterfest 2017 Saturday at the south ball diamond and the Community Hall.

Activities will include a sledding competition beginning at 3 p.m.; a snowman making contest with prizes for the largest and most creative; and a Christmas tree burn with lighting at 4:30 p.m. A chili competition will follow at the Community Hall about 5:30 p.m.

Hot chocolate and coffee will be provided and other concessions will be available.

Click here for more information. »