Minocqua Winter Park is one of the most popular XC Ski Centers in the Midwest. 86 kilometers (54 miles) of impeccably groomed xc trails wind through 6500 acres of peaceful northern upland forest. Over 45 km of trails are protected forever with conservation easements.
In addition to cross country skiing, Minocqua Winter Park provides 10 miles of snowhoe trails, multi-use fat bike trails, an ice skating pond, snow tubing, trailside warming shelters and fire pits, a Tea House, and a full schedule of activities and programs for the whole family. The park is also home to the Minocqua Winter Park Ski Shop which offers lessons, ski and snowshoe rentals, and a pro shop for all your winter sport needs.
The chalet and surrounding 40 acres are owned by the Town of Minocqua, a generous gift from Nekoosa Edwards Paper Co in the mid 1950’s. Otherwise, the majority of the trail system lies on private land.
Minocqua Winter Park relies on a solid base of dedicated volunteers, a tradition established in the mid 1970’s by members of the Lakeland Ski Touring Club. Also critical is strong support from the Town of Minocqua and community groups and businesses.
Minocqua Winter Park is not-for profit town park operated by the Lakeland Ski Touring Foundation, a 501(c)4 corporation, and by the Minocqua Winter Park Trail Fund, a 501(c)3 corporation. Donations to the Trail Fund are tax deductible.
Living our love of winter sports – sharing that love with the next generation.
Minocqua Winter Park is a community of winter sports enthusiasts that runs a multi-sport park which creates opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to experience unforgettable winter fun.
We are driven by a shared enthusiasm for winter sports and the outdoors, as well as a desire to benefit the Lakeland community. Together, we value health, nature, enjoyment, personal growth, sharing our passion, and the maintenance of a venue that provides experiences of unparalleled quality.
Lakeland Ski Touring Foundation and Minocqua Winter Park Trail Fund
The annual membership meeting of the Lakeland Ski Touring Foundation, Inc. was
held on March 2, 2020. At that meeting, the members elected Todd Dunsirn,
Andrew Kelly, and Joshua Saunders to 3-year terms as directors of
the Foundation. Additionally, the directors elected the officers of the corporation
for the coming year. The Board of Directors’ current membership and officers are
listed below. These individuals also serve as the Board of Directors for the
Minocqua Winter Park Trail Fund Corporation.
Board of Directors
Jo Ann Horton, President
Jamon Lamers, Vice President
Derek Rasmussen, Treasurer
Brief Early History of Minocqua Winter Park
Squirrel Hill is Wisconsin’s twelfth highest elevation at 1760 feet above sea level. It has a vertical drop of 175 feet.
ALPINE SKI AREA
Squirrel Hill was developed into an Alpine ski area in 1956 and operated as a Minocqua Town Park, named Squirrel Ski Hill. Early in 1956 the Squirrel Hill Ski Club was formed. In the Fall of 1956 the nonprofit Squirrel Hill Ski Corporation was formed to manage the project. With strong and immediate support from Nekoosa Edwards Paper Company, the Town of Minocqua, community groups, local business, local ski experts, the entire construction project, ski runs and chalet, was completed in about three months.
However, as the popularity of Indianhead and other Upper Michigan Alpine areas increased, the use of Squirrel Ski Hill steadily declined after many years of high popularity. The Squirrel Hill Ski Corporation ceased operations in 1969. Thereafter, the Town of Minocqua operated the Hill intermittently for several years, the last of which was 1975. The Hill lay dormant until 1978.
LAKELAND SKI TOURING CLUB, NORDIC SKI CENTER and TOWN PARK
The pivotal event in Minocqua Winter Park history occurred in January 1973—the formation of the Lakeland Ski Touring Club.
In 1978, due to the convergence of at least two factors, Nekoosa Edwards Paper Company and the Town of Minocqua offered to the Lakeland Ski Touring Club the privilege to operate the chalet and surrounding trails as a full-service public ski touring area, offering groomed trails, ski shop, equipment rentals, ski school, and community programs.
Factor one—the Town of Minocqua wished to re-establish usage of Squirrel Hill after several years of dormancy.
Factor two—the Lakeland Ski Touring Club had demonstrated solid accomplishments and expertise; for example, the Club
- began hosting an annual ski race in 1975. For the first two years known as the Easy Slider Tour Race, it was renamed the Lakeland Ski Touring Championships in 1977;
- developed two full service ski centers including the first groomed trails (Easy Slider Ski Center at Indian Lake Resort, Woodruff, 1974-75 and at Camp Kawaga, Minocqua, 1976-78);
- developed a reputation for well-groomed trails;
- hosted annual community events such as the Nordic Picnic starting in 1977;
- consulted with the DNR to develop local public ski trail systems (Madelaine Lake, Raven, and Schlecht Lake); and,
- saw its membership grow to over 60 skiers.
That first season of 1978-79 is known as the Ski Club Year. To both the Town of Minocqua Nekoosa Edwards Paper Co. this season demonstrated that the vision for a Town Park should be pursued.
For the 1979-80 season, then, the Town designated the Squirrel Hill area as an official Town Park named Minocqua Winter Park and Nordic Center, managed by the Town Planner and operated by the Lakeland Ski Touring Club. The Grand Opening on December 15, 1979 attracted 426 skiers.
Operating the Park grew more and more complex. In 1981, the Lakeland Ski Touring Club formed the non-profit Lakeland Ski Touring Foundation, which has managed MWP under contract with the Town ever since.
The trail system has grown from the original 13 km in the 1978-79 season to the present 90 km. Minocqua Winter Park has attained a reputation as one of the finest family oriented xc ski centers in the USA.
Minocqua Winter Park’s success arose from the support of the Town of Minocqua, Nekoosa-Edwards Paper Co., dedicated volunteers, community groups, local business, and local xc ski experts.
January 11, 2018