Families Flock to Nordic Mountain
Where do you go when you really, really want snow? Specifically, a snowy slope to descend? If you’re in the vicinity of Mt. Morris near Wild Rose, you can always head to Nordic Mountain. Thanks to the winter recreation facility’s newly expanded, state-of-the-art snow-making system, visitors are pretty much guaranteed a snowy surface all season, regardless of any tricks Mother Nature might play.
“In the past 15 years we’ve probably tripled our snow-making capabilities,” said Bill Ringenoldus, general manager of Nordic Mountain. These improvements include the addition of 20 automated snow guns that can be swung around to target a specific area with the click of a mouse.
“We have a better snow surface now than we’ve ever had before,” Ringenoldus said. “We have a lot better capabilities for keeping our snow through adverse weather because we can make a lot more in a short period of time. So if there’s rain or something, we can still provide a good surface.”
The abundant, dependable snow isn’t Nordic Mountain’s only draw. With its many options of family-friendly winter activities, the facility is also known as a place “Where Families Rule.”
Located on Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative’s lines, Nordic Mountain has 18 ski runs ranging from easy to black diamond level, with 16 lit runs for nighttime skiing. Those runs include three freestyle terrain parks, offering snowboarders of all skill levels a place to perfect their jumps and tricks.
Those who don’t care to ski or board can head to the facility’s popular snow-tubing park. This a great option for anyone (meeting a 42-inch height minimum established for safety) seeking lots of thrill without the need for lots of skill. After all, as the Nordic Mountain website proclaims, “If you can sit, you can tube like a pro.”
Added in 2006, the snow-tubing park just got even better with recent improvements.
“This year we added a new conveyor lift, kind of like what you see in an airport,” Ringenoldus said. “We also added more lanes.”
The tubing park has 10 chutes, each about four football fields long. The chutes have a 100-foot vertical drop, with rolling bumps built in to make the descent even more thrilling.
There’s plenty of time for families to take advantage of all that Nordic Mountain has to offer. Because of the improvements in the snow-making system, the season is longer than ever.
“We start in mid to late November and go through the middle of March,” Ringenoldus said. “This year we opened on November 11, our earliest opening ever, and that is totally because of our new snow machines.”
Thanks to the dependable snow, any time during the season is a good time for snow lovers to head to Nordic Mountain. However, some special events on the calendar make a trip here even more fun.
For example, February 10 and 11 is Winterfest weekend, when guests can partake in some light-hearted activities like limbo contests, tug-of-war pulls, and the facility’s popular cardboard box race. The latter is as much a show as it is a competition; using a cardboard box and duct tape, participants fashion a cardboard sled of sorts and race down the hill. The cardboard “sleds” are judged on looks, originality, and creativity.
Throughout the season, Nordic Mountain offers various one-day specials with discounts, such as College Night, Boy Scouts Day and Girl Scouts Day, Men’s Night and Ladies Day. The facility also offers special group rates for gatherings such as school organizations, church groups, and birthday parties.
Safety First In order to maintain a family-friendly atmosphere, Nordic Mountain emphasizes safety. First-timers are encouraged to book a ski or snowboard lesson with a professional through the Nordic Mountain Snow Sports School before taking to the slopes. Lessons are also available for those who simply want to take their skiing or snowboarding to the next level; online reservations are available and encouraged.
Nordic Mountain offers a variety of “Learn To Programs” for children of all ages. There’s even a Parent and Tot Program for children ages 3 and 4 along with their parents, where the youngest skiers can learn the basics through play-like activities.
It’s very likely that some of these little tots will return in a couple of decades with tots of their own. Nordic Mountain first opened in 1976 and can now claim generations of dedicated customers. Their preferences may have altered slightly, with many younger guests now choosing to strap on a snowboard instead of skis, and whole families embracing the fun of snow tubing. Ultimately though, all come with the same goal in mind—to find a snowy slope to descend. They always find it at Nordic Mountain.—Mary Erickson
Nordic Mountain is located at W5806 County Road W, Wild Rose. To learn more, call 920-787-3324 or visit nordicmountain.com.