Just as has happened for the past 61 years, volunteers are working on the slopes of Kettlebowl Ski Hill and cross country trail system northeast of Antigo preparing for the 2017-2018 season.
We’re getting ready for what looks like a very promising year, Judy Peterson, one of the volunteers said this week. The spools of rope are being strung for the five tows and the chalet prepared for the crowds certain to arrive in a matter of weeks — depending on the weather.
Kettlebowl volunteers, including Dave Peterson, Dan and Lee Auner
and Scott Peterson install the tow ropes at the ski hill.
Peterson invited everyone interested in outdoor activity, whether it is downhill skiing on the slopes, cross country skiing on the trail system, or just enjoying a sandwich and hot chocolate in the chalet to visit on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
Those who would like to become a volunteer are urged to attend a meeting of the Langlade County Ski Club Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Antigo Public Library.
But first there is work to do, and the veteran crew will welcome new help. Mother Nature seems to already have a pretty good start with chilly temperatures and a blanket of snow, but far more is needed before it can be groomed and prepared for the crowds.
Kettlebowl, which is located in a tract of county-owned forest land west of Lily, was first called Kettlehole Bowl reflecting a closer link to the true geological moraine character of the area.
The ski club, which operates the facility, got its start in 1956 with a group of volunteers and a piece of land that needed massive work to create a ski area.
It happened, with machinery from the Langlade County Highway Department, two donated tractors from the Antigo Cooperative Oil Association and a building that had served the Civilian Conservation Corps back in the 1930s as the warming house/lodge.
With no electricity, no inside plumbing and two tractors providing the power for the tows, the facility was up and running shortly after the 1956 organization.
The 325 foot vertical drop is still there, but the facility has been expanded and improved over the years. Runs are expanded to seven and there are no more tractors as electrical service was added to the remote site.
A new lodge/chalet was constructed in 2005 and it has all of the conveniences, including indoor plumbing.
It is a true ski bargain, the food, all the produced and sold by volunteers, is great and the conditions on the hill are traditionally excellent.
Thousands of people in the ski crowd cruise the cross-country and downhill facilities ever year. Kettlebowl continues to be a true Langlade County treasure.