Westby Snowflake Ski Jump
Since 1961 Westby has been playing host to an annual ski jumping tournament on the seventh largest ski jump hill in North America! International and US world class and Olympic ski jumpers come to compete on this hill; reaching speeds of over 50 mph and traveling through the air for hundreds of feet. It is a truly impressive and extreme sport!
Where to begin? Bundle up! It can be pretty cold in the middle of a Wisconsin winter. But there is a ski club to warm up in and plenty of food and drink to be had. If you want to check out the top of the jump, be prepared for the 475 step flight of stairs.
2020 dates: January 31 – February 1
A winter sport that is near and dear to many a Driftless heart. Panfish are plentiful and a lot of fun to catch, with a Wisconsin daily bag limit of 25 you can spend your day pulling these beauties out of the ice. If you’re looking to go after bigger sport, Northern Pike commonly run between 27 and 40 inches in length. Now that’s a fish worth bragging about!
Where to begin? Backwaters with little or no current are prime spots. Driftless Wisconsin is bordered by the Mississippi River and there are many access points. A reminder! Only cross the railroad tracks at official crossings. Also, if you want to take your vehicle out on the ice, be sure to check with the local bait shops as to where it’s safe to do so.
Check out the 70th Annual Ice Fisheree in Prairie du Chien, January 31 – February 2, 2020
Cross Country Skiing
There is nothing like getting outside and enjoying the winter wonderland of the Driftless. Cross Country Skiing gets you into nature for some breathtaking landscapes, along with a healthy dose of exercise. The Kickapoo Valley Reserve has ten miles of groomed cross country skiing trails, but you’re not limited to the trail system and are very welcome to veer off the beaten path and into the wild.
Where to begin? A day use permit to hit the trails is a good deal at $5. Keep in mind the only restroom available in the winter is the Visitor Center. Check out the Snow Report to see if there is enough snow to hit the trails.
Did you know Wisconsin is the birthplace of snowmobiling? Vernon County has over 250 miles of trails! You can take your sled atop ridges and down into deep valleys, through forests and open lands. The area’s love for snowmobiling shows with seven volunteer-led clubs who keep the trails groomed.
Where to begin? The website below will let you know what the trail conditions are. If you have an out of state sled, be sure to pick up a non-resident snowmobile trail pass.
Just south of Prairie du Chien is one of the oldest state parks in Wisconsin, Wyalusing State Park. The area is appreciated for its trail system that highlights a bluff top view of the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers. A beautiful view any time of year, but breathtaking in the winter. All trails in the park, except the groomed ski trails, are accessible for snowshoeing.
Where to begin? The frozen waterfall at Picture Rock Cave is worth the hike. Snowshoe from the park office to Sugar Maple Nature Trail. The park has several frozen waterfalls to view. Be sure to ask park staff how best to find them.