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You know how every December you get really bummed out when it starts getting really cold, the sun sets at like 5, and you have to deal with warming up your car and scraping your windshield every morning? You realize just how much you hate winter, and you refuse to do anything outdoors until April. Well stop it. No. Seriously. Stop it. Winter doesn’t have to be this way, and we’ve made this special section just to prove it. It’s high time you rethink what winter means in the Chippewa Valley and embrace all the truly awesome stuff that is just for you.


EDITORS /// Trevor Kupfer & Tyler Griggs DESIGN /// Brian Moen, Josh Smeltzer & Kelsey Gomez PHOTOGRAPHY /// Andrea Paulseth, Liz Felder (cover), Nick Meyer, & Leah Dunbar WRITERS /// Chris Macheichok, Dave Smuhl, Anna Semanko, & Ali Drew ILLUSTRATION /// Beth Czech

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26 Dec. 22, 2011



Unless you live under a rock, you know what a my early adulthood. It was through the Birkie that marathon is. You’ve most likely heard of a triathlon. I was able to meet and become good friends with But it was not until I had the honored privilege people from places like Australia and Germany, and it was these friendships that enticed me to go of interviewing local author Walter Rhein about to these places.” his new book Beyond Birkie Fever that I had any We previously interviewed Rhein for the idea that a cross country ski race existed (outside of the Olympics, that is). I was also completely release of The Bone Sword, his first published unaware that a mere one-hour drive up north to fantasy adventure novel. When asked what he is planning next he replied, “I have about a halfour beloved Hayward in early February would seat dozen books waiting to be me in the middle of one of “It was through the Birkie that I was able dusted off and finished the most sacred sporting events in Wisconsin (heck, to meet and become good friends with people lurking in the dark corners of my hard drives. the nation!). from places like Australia and Germany.” ... Honestly, I’ve made a The American half dozen stabs at writing Berkebeiner is the second – Walter Rhein this book, and I have two longest cross country ski race – spanning 54 kilometers from Hayward to complete unsatisfactory novels to show for it, but I Cable, Wisconsin. Rhein’s book talks of his own haven’t quite figured out the format that will make all the various stories I’ve collected work together experience as a skier and unfolds very much like a as a novel.” memoir, but also includes an interview with Dave While he hunts for his next volume in those Landgraf, one of the founders of this legendary dark corners, we’ll continue to enjoy catching our race. Not only did Landgraf participate in the first race, but he continued to finish among the best for own Birkie Fever. It might just inspire you to do something crazy like be a competitor in the next nearly four decades. Rhein’s own experience has been successful Birkie! – Ali Drew Find Beyond Birkie Fever at The Local Store, in a different context. “If it had not been for the American Birkebeiner, I really doubt I would have Amazon,, and ShopHermalda.mivaever developed the thirst for travel that dominated


local author’s book on the American Birkebeiner

Walter Rhein loves the Birkie, frozen eyebrows and all.

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Dec. 22, 2011 27



So you wanna try snow sculpting?

GET YOUR CHANCE THIS YEAR AT WINTER AFTER HOURS When Volume One and the Eau Claire Parks and Recreation Department teamed up to create Winter After Hours two years ago, the mission was to help change the winter scene in Eau Claire. Every Thursday night in January and February, Winter After Hours takes over Boyd Park on Eau Claire’s Eastside Hill. There’s ice skating and snowshoeing (affordable rentals for both!), winter kubb, hot drinks, a firepit, and of course snow sculpting. So far, every week has featured Eau Claire’s own pair of internationally-competitive snow carvers, The Starvin’ Carvists. But this year, you might get your chance to give it a try, and the pros will be there to show you how. To further that mission of changing winter in Eau Claire, and in an effort to help build an actual snow carving “scene,” Volume One and the Carvists are hoping to set up a few workshops that show you how to fill the mold, envision your piece, use the tools, and finish the job. After that, newbies can submit ideas & drawings for the chance to use our snow mold and carve for one of several Winter After Hours events this year. Who knows, in a few years maybe this could help foster a whole new snow carving event. But you’ve got to crawl before you can run, so take advantage of this opportunity and give it a try! – Nick Meyer


Email or call Volume One to get on the info list, with no obligation. We’ll keep you in the loop. And watch for details. Email: Phone: 715-552-0457



The Starvin’ Carvists • Illustration


Beth Czech


Sketchpad and clay (for concept in advance), snow, ladder, shovel, big saw, medium saw, small saw, horse brush, paint brush, warm clothes, ice chippers, portable lighting, and any other tool that removes/scrapes/cuts/ smooths snow.


Creativity, hard work, perserverance, heavy lifting, sanding, balancing on ladders, willingness to keep working through cold and exhaustion.

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1. Start with a well-packed mold, formed by 4 big plywood walls that come apart to reveal the packed snow. 2. Wear knee pads and warm, waterproof boots. 3. Balance the weight of the sculpture with a solid base. 5

4. Wear stylish, warm clothes in layers. You’ll get very cold, and occassionally warm (necessitating shedding a layer). 5. A small, double-sided saw works well for small details. 6. Cut large areas to form the greater whole first, then move on to finer details.




7. Work around the entire piece and at every angle. 8. Do it as a group, and have an audience to appreciate it!

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Dec. 22, 2011



With winter upon us, many people will be hanging up the bike to gather dust until the ground thaws and the roads and trails open up again. Fortunately for the brave of heart and dutifully attired, there are still some options in the Valley for winter biking. The rise in popularity of snow bikes – bikes outfitted with tires up to 4.5 inches wide – has ignited a national trend in winter off road biking. And Eau Claire is no exception. Local bike shop employee and fat bike dealer Ryan Moen says that the bikes are a hot-ticket item this year with people coming from all over the state

to check them out and purchase them. There are plenty of opportunities to get out on the trails in the Valley this winter, even without a snow bike. The second annual Powder Keg will happen on January 28 and welcomes all types of winter mountain bikers to come out and try their hand at the snowy single track of Lowes Creek. (And, for that matter, Lowes Creek is a great spot to trek throughout winter.) The St. Valentine’s Day Hustle ice race will be returning for its fourth year on Lake Menomin on Febuary 11. The race resembles a scavenger hunt on ice and is open to any bike of any configuration. Depending on snow and trail conditions, plans are underway to keep trails open to bikes throughout the winter at several local trails as well. For those interested in a bit more frequent riding, the Chippewa Off Road Bike Association says they plan on continuing their regular Monday night rides as far into the season as they can before shifting to snowshoes. – David Smuhl


just because there’s snow doesn’t mean you have to pack up your bike til spring

The St. Valentine’s Day Hustle is a scavenger hunt bike race on (and around) the frozen Lake Menomin this Feb. 11. It’s followed by a bonfire and refreshments at Waterfront Bar & Grill.

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Dunn County SnowPark gets even awesomer Since starting in 2009 and having major rehauls last year, the Dunn County SnowPark will become an even more awesome monument in Menomonie with the few sweet new additions they’ve got in store. All those who live to shred, whether it be snowboarding or skiing, will be catching big time air on the new jumps built up from humongous dirt piles embedded within the hill. They spent a good chunk of time this summer movin’ around earth via bulldozers to make said awesomeness. To add an urban element, hill rep Christian Peterson said they also installed a retaining wall feature, and several trees were planted at the top of the hill. The sledding area is protected by being in the middle, so it would be nearly imposDunn County sible to hit one of these jumps without SnowPark deliberately doing so. That being said, it is 620 17th St., a “ride at your own risk” park. Menomonie Another added bonus this year was going to be lights for those who enjoy a rush of freezing cold wind in your face at midnight. But, unfortunately, the power source for the lights will be unable to be installed until next winter. When they do go in, the lights will be run on generators occasionally for limited occupancy Friday night sessions. And after you take full advantage of the hill this winter, stayt in tune as it gets warm. This summer, the top of the hill of the park may be transformed into a bike park with a pump track, jumps, and burns throughout the trails, Peterson said. With all of this new awesomeness happening, it’s definitely worth the trip to check it out! – Ali Drew

Stout’s fancy sit-ski device! Stout Adventures, the UW-Stout on-campus outdoor recreation program, is now offering a unique piece of equipment to allow outdoor enthusiasts an opportunity to cross-country ski in a new way. The university has two sets of the adaptive sit-ski system, which is a chair attached to a set of cross-country skis that couples with special poles to propel the user in the snow. And the best part is, it can be rented free of charge. This equipment has seen a dramatic increase in popularity over the last few years and allows people who are unable to use their legs to ski in a sitting position. However, the contraption isn’t limited to differently abled persons alone. Anyone with a passion for winter sports and the necessary upper body strength to stroke along in the snow should take advantage of the unique opportunity. Skiers aren’t recommended to take the contraption downhill, but judging from the community of sit-skiers online, the skis chair opens up a whole new dimension to extreme winter sporting. – Chris Macheichok

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Dec. 22, 2011

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kids exposed to cool activities end up more awesome adults If you have kids (or plan to in the future), get them outside and having fun in winter. Because according to loads of officials* around the country, they’re more likely to grow up an environmental steward with physical and emotional wellbeing. And as an added bonus, they’re also more likely to continue having fun outside in winter. So get them hooked on our awesome winters when they’re young!

Japanese “snow battles” spreading to U.S.


The whole process starts with leading by example. If a parent/guardian/relative/ friend/whatever shows them winter is fun, they’ll buy it. If they prefer video games on the couch, so will the kid(s).


Kids know winter is inherently lamer than other seasons because it’s cold. Trying to teach how fun it can be isn’t easy when they’re frozen. The good news is the tips out there for dressing your kids are aplenty, and with the advances of microfibers, it’s getting better. First of all, avoid cotton. It retains moisture and draws heat from the body. Recommendations include a first and possibly even second layer of moisture-wicking polypropylene, then a layer of fleece, then a waterproof outer layer. (Wicking fabric is also recommended for hats and mittens/gloves.)


Kids love using their imaginations and making the ordinary extraordinary. So even if what you have in mind is a walk to the park, if you think up a cool name and game, it’s no longer boring – it’s awesome. For example, call it a “Nature Extravaganza” and look for animal tracks or different birds and squirrels. Look at the trees and compare bark, or how big the trunks are. Or pick up a GPS and go geocaching. (Cheaper option: draw a crude treasure map and go hunting.)


While team games can be a lot of fun in winter, it’s difficult to keep several people engaged on the same level and teach/enforce rules. The best activities are those that can be done on an individual basis as well as a group (races),

can be easily made into games, and are easily adaptable. For ages 4 and up, try exploring, hiking, snowshoeing, ice skating, and cross-country skiing. By the time they’re 5 or 6, they can handle things like snowboarding, downhill skiing, and shootaround hockey. You most likely need kids 8 and above for full-on team sports or ice climbing (though they need to be experienced rock climbers first – and that can start around 5).


Some kids get frustrated because they don’t have the same mobility with these clothes and the slippery surface of snow/ ice. Plus they’re cold and thirsty. This is the time to provide encouragement, take a break, and rejuvenate their spirits. Also, you’re probably due for hot chocolate (which keeps them hydrated and warm, as well as provides a positive association with winter activities).


If this whole process is done right, and they’re having fun, you won’t need to coax them into going outdoors. Hopefully they’ll engage friends and tackle winter on their own. They’ll build forts, make sculptures, and have snowball fights. And, after time, they’ll come to appreciate their natural surroundings, be more physically fit, and have more emotional development. The biggest downfall: when the snow melts, they’ll be counting the days until the next winter. – Trevor Kupfer

* Such as Mike Logsdon, executive director of the Adventure Sports Institute in Maryland; David Gallahue, dean of Indiana University’s School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation; and Andy Miller, director of kids programs at the Sun Mountain Lodge (Cascade Mountains, Washington).

Growing up in Wisconsin, I’ve found myself in many snowball-slinging situations. Little did I know that in Alaska (and accross the globe), many grown adults are engaging in the same activity – only they’re calling it “yukigassen.” Originating at Mount Showa-Shinzan Resort almost 20 years ago, Yukigassen is the Japanese term for Snow-Battle. One may ask “What is a snow-battle?” Well think football meets wrestling meets kids on the playground all covered in snow. The goal: knock out the other team by hitting them with snowballs. Each team is armed with 90 snowballs and there is only three, three-minute periods to take out your opponents, two out of three wins (as in all the great classic childhood games). You can win the period by having the most players left on the field when time runs out, or do it capture-the-flag style by rushing the opponents’ side and stealing their flag. Yukigassen USA is growing with its very own 13-page list of rules and regulations and a few scheduled events coming up in Alaska and Michigan. As the sport makes it’s way through the snow ridden states of the United States, it’s only a matter of time before it hits Wisconsin. How hard it hits will be up to our throwing arms. – Anna Semanko

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Dec. 22, 2011



Run/Bike The Last Ever Gilbertsons’ New Year’s Day Fun Run Jan. 1, 10am • 1717 Rust St., Eau Claire • FREE • 8305193 • Run any distance. No registration required.

Winter Cycling Seminar Jan. 17, 5-6pm; Feb. 13,

6-7pm • Environmental Adventure Center, 105 Hilltop Center, Eau Claire • FREE • 836-3616 • Preparing your bike, dressing for the commute, proper locking techniques & resources for mapping your route will all be covered. Presentation will last one hour, possibly more with questions.

Chippewa Valley Powder Keg Snowshoe & Snowbike Races Jan. 28, 10am-3pm • Eau Claire County Expo

Center, 5530 Fairview Drive, Eau Claire • $25 snowshoers, $15 snowshoers age 12 and under, $15 mountain bikers • 839-3755 • Enjoy a 5-mile snowshoe race, a 2-mile snowshoe run/walk, a 1-hr snow bike race, pr a kids & mascots sprint on the trails of Lowes Creek County Park. Racers can expect prize drawings, food & beverage, s’mores and a bonfire. Whether you’re a veteran racer, complete beginner or just a spectator, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Pre-register by Jan. 22 for a Powder Keg event tee.

Get-Togethers Polar Bear Plunge Dec. 31, 9am-2pm • The View on

Lake Wissota, 17779 County Hwy X, Chippewa Falls • FREE • 835-0161, 861-5200 • Plunge into the waters of Lake Wissota to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin. Registration will start at 9am and jumping will start at noon.

Winter After Hours Every Thursday from Jan. 5 to Feb. 23, 6-8pm • Boyd Park on Eau Claire’s East Hill (just off Main Street) • FREE admission; rental costs TBA (typically inexpensive) • all ages • Enjoy cheap chilly fun with ice skating, snowshoeing, snow sculptures, winter Kubb, a giant fire pit, music, and a warming house with hot chocolate, tea and coffee. Ice skate and snowshoe rentals available. Trees and Shrubs in Winter Jan. 7, 9:30-11:30am •

Beaver Creek Reserve, S1 County Road K, Fall Creek • FREE • 877-2212 • What do you do when there are no leaves to identify trees and shrubs by? Learn bud and bark characteristics of many of our native trees and shrubs, making identification possible even in winter. A power-point and a hands-on session inside will be followed by an outdoors hike around the Reserve to apply what we learned inside.

Trees and Shrubs in Winter Jan. 12, 12:30-2:30pm;

Feb. 4, 12:30-2:30pm • Beaver Creek Reserve, S1 County Road K, Fall Creek • $8, $5 friends • 877-2212 • Leaves are one of the biggest clues for tree and shrub identification, so what do you do when there are no leaves? Winter offers a special time to appreciate trees and shrubs in a totally different way. This program will point out unique bud and bark characteristics of many of our native trees and shrubs, making identification possible even in winter.

Bird Banding Demonstration Jan. 14, 7:30-10:30am •

Beaver Creek Reserve, S1 County Road K, Fall Creek • FREE • 877-2212 • Join the Beaver Creek Bird Banding crew on Saturday morning to learn more about banding and the research the group is conducting. See many of our winter resident birds up close and learn how to sex and age each species.

Timber Wolf Winter Ecology Workshop Jan. 28, 9am-

4:30pm; Jan. 29, 8:30am-noon • Beaver Creek Reserve, S1 County Road K, Fall Creek • $70, $65 friends • 8772212 • The Timber Wolf Information Network (TWIN) will hold a two-day winter wolf ecology workshops at the Reserve. Learn wolf ecology, population biology, management issues and field study techniques including winter tracking field trip into wolf territory. Bring your own Saturday lunch and beverage. (Lodging fee additional cost) Register and pay by Jan. 19.

“Who’s Been Here?” Winter Tracking for Kids Feb.

18, 9:30-11am • Beaver Creek Reserve, S1 County Road K, Fall Creek • $8, $5 friends • 877-2212 • Kids can come to this program and learn some of the detective work it takes to figure out what tracks belong to what animals. If conditions allow, children will take a short walk outdoors, guided by a naturalist, to look for tracks and identify who may have passed that way. Class includes making a plaster cast of a wild animal track to take home.

Adopt-a-Bucket Mar. 17, 9:30-11:30am; Mar. 17,

1-3pm • Beaver Creek Reserve, S1 County Road K, Fall Creek • $20, $15 friends (Limit 5 per bucket) • 877-2212 • Join us for the first tapping of the season. Families, scout troops, and youth groups are welcome to decorate a bucket with their favorite design to be hung in the Reserve’s sugar bush. Decorators will have their picture taken with their bucket(s) before heading to the sugar bush to meet the sapmeister. Register and pay by Mar. 7.

3rd Annual Wisconsin Sport Show Mar. 17, 10am-

6pm; Mar. 18, 10am-5pm • Eau Claire Indoor Sports Center, 3456 Craig Road, Eau Claire • $8, $6 in advance (Gordy’s County Market) • 552-1200 • Enjoy booths and demonstrations from many organiza-

Like a Powder Keg giving off sparks With January comes the doldrums of winter. The temperature plummets, the days are short, and even the idea of getting out of bed seems like the most arduous task imaginable. But for some, the depths of winter marks the coming of a unique winter sport, snowshoe racing. And on Saturday, January 28 the second annual Chippewa Valley Powder Keg snowshoe race comes back to Eau Claire. This year’s snowshoe race, sponsored by CORBA, will feature a 5-mile race and 2-mile run/walk as well as an hour-long snow bike race through winter wonderland of Lowes Creek County Park. Race director Jereme Rauckman says the race is a unique event for the area, “There are no other snowshoe races in the Eau Claire area, but snowshoeing is really growing as a sport nationwide,” the event “brings people from outside the area and introduces them to the great outdoor community here in Eau Claire.” This year’s Powder Keg will also include Eau Claire’s first ever snow bike race. According to Rauckman the addition of a snow bike race was a natural move for CORBA, “We’re a mountain bike club, after all, and snow biking is getting more popular throughout the country.” There will also be a less competitive, “kids and mascots,” snowshoe sprint which will pit local mascots against each other for a quarter-mile dash. The event is open for everyone from the ultra-competitive to those just looking for a good excuse to get outside and have some fun. Snowshoes will be available for use day of the event and spectators are encouraged to show up, have some s’mores by the fire, and cheer on their favorite racer. – Davis Smuhl

2ND ANNUAL CHIPPEWA VALLEY POWDER KEG Jan. 28 • Lowes Creek County Park, Eau Claire • /// 5 mile and 2 mile snowshoe race (adult) • $25 /// 5 mile and 2 mile snowshoe race (12 and under) • $15 /// kids and mascots snowshoe spring • FREE /// snow bike race • $15 /// pre-register by Jan. 22 for a free shirt tions and businesses on topics including hunting, boating, fishing, resorts and lodges, biking, hiking, conservation, RVs and ATVs. Speakers include South Carolina bass angler Mike Delvisco and Rude Dog University’s Karen Rud. Plus a deer antler and family camouflage photo contest.

• Have you ever wanted to try snowshoeing but weren’t sure where to begin? Learn about the snowshoe’s history, the different styles of snowshoes and how and where to use them. After a brief classroom time inside, we’ll take to the trails for a snowshoe hike. Registration and full payment required by Jan. 4.

Maple Syrup Sunday Mar. 25, 1:30-3:30pm • Beaver Creek Reserve, S1 County Road K, Fall Creek • $8, $5 friends • 877-2212 • Bring the family to explore the tradition of maple sugaring with a guided tour of the sugar bush. Learn about which trees to tap and how it is done, from tapping the trees to boiling the sap into syrup. Finish with a taste of fresh maple syrup over ice cream. Yummy. Full payment required at registration until Mar. 21.

Cross Country Skiing Basics Jan. 7, 10am-noon • Bea-

Ski Jumping Silver Mine Invitational Sat and Sun, Jan. 20 and 21

• Silver Mine Hill, Silvermine Drive, Eau Claire • • If you’ve lived near Eau Claire anytime in the past 125 years and haven’t gone to the annual ski jump event, now’s as good a time as any to give it some attention. The 126th Annual Silver Mine Invitational ski jump event (at Silver Mine Hill on Silvermine Drive) is once again drawing some of the best ski jumpers in the world for USSA-sanctioned competition involving individuals soaring more than 80 meters in mid-air.

Ski/Snowshoe Events Introduction to Snowshoeing Jan. 7, 9:30-11:30am •

Wise Nature Center, Beaver Creek Reserve, S1 Cty Rd. K, Fall Creek, Fall Creek • $9, $6 members • 877-2212

ver Creek Reserve, S1 County Road K, Fall Creek • $9, $6 friends • 877-2212 • Have you ever wanted to try cross-country skiing but were not sure where to begin? Come to Beaver Creek to learn the basics. After a brief classroom time inside we’ll head to an open field in front of the Observatory to try it out first hand. There will be fun and adventure for the whole family and maybe a cup of hot chocolate too.

Snowshoeing to Big Falls Jan. 7, 1-3:30pm • Wise Na-

ture Center, Beaver Creek Reserve, S1 Cty Rd. K, Fall Creek, Fall Creek • $9, $6 members • ages 9+ • 8772212 • Join BCR volunteers Mark and Karen Wise for a scenic hike via snowshoes from the Reserve to Big Falls. The 3-mile hike will take about an hour (each way) with pauses along the way to stop and admire scenic views. Bring a camera, water bottle, a snack to enjoy at the Falls, and get ready to enjoy this wonderful winter hike. Moderately strenuous. Register and pay by Jan. 4.

Snowshoe Hikes Jan. 8, 1-3pm; Feb. 5, 1-3pm • Camp

Manitou, WI • $7 adults, $5 kids under 18, FREE to Y Members • 836-8460 • Come to Camp Manitou this winter for three great snowshoe hikes. We will provide snowshoes and hot chocolate. Transportation offered for $5/ person. Register at the Y in Eau Claire.

Candlelight Snowshoe Hike Jan. 13, 6-7:30pm; Jan. 13, 7:30-9pm • Wise Nature Center, Beaver Creek Reserve, S1 Cty Rd. K, Fall Creek, Fall Creek • $2, $1 friends; snowshoe rental: $4, $2 friends • 877-2212 •

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Dec. 22, 2011 33

Candles will light your way as you travel by snowshoes along the tranquil trails at Beaver Creek. Refreshments and a warm fire will be available after the hike. Registration and full payment required by Jan. 9.

Make Your Own Snowshoes Jan. 14, 9:30-11:30am and Jan. 15, 9:30-11:30am • Beaver Creek Reserve, S1 County Road K, Fall Creek • $165, $155 friends • 877-2212 • Snowshoeing has become a popular winter activity. Make your own snowshoes in this two-day workshop. Choose from three styles of snowshoes. All shoes are laced with tubular nylon, which is comfortable to work with and have great strength when varnished. Bring to class: bag lunch, tape measure, pencil, scissors and matches or lighter. Chippewa Valley Powder Keg Snowshoe & Snowbike Races Jan. 28, 10am-3pm • Eau Claire County Expo

Center, 5530 Fairview Drive, Eau Claire • $25 snowshoers, $15 snowshoers age 12 and under, $15 mountain bikers • 839-3755 • Enjoy a 5-mile snowshoe race, a 2-mile snowshoe run/walk, a 1-hr snow bike race, pr a kids & mascots sprint on the trails of Lowes Creek County Park. Racers can expect prize drawings, food & beverage, s’mores and a bonfire. Whether you’re a veteran racer, complete beginner or just a spectator, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Pre-register by Jan. 22 for a Powder Keg event tee.

Introduction to Snowshoeing Feb. 4, 9:30-11:30am • Beaver Creek Reserve, S1 County Road K, Fall Creek • $9, $6 friends • 877-2212 • Come to Beaver Creek and learn about the snowshoe’s history, the different styles of snowshoes, and how and where to use them. After some time inside we’ll take to the trails for a snowshoe hike. If you’ve never tried snowshoeing before and would like

to give it a try, this class is for you. Snowshoe rental fee included in the program cost.

French Toast Breakfast Feb. 5, 8:30am-12:30pm • Beaver Creek Reserve, S1 County Road K, Fall Creek • $7 adults, $4 kids; In Advance: $6 adults, $3 kids • 877-2212 • French toast, maple syrup, sausage and beverages will be served in the Main Lodge. At 9:30am the Wise Nature Center will be the spot for the Chippewa Valley Watercolor artists hosting their watercolor exhibit, sale and reception, plus a special sale in the Nature Store. Weather permitting there will also be FREE use of cross-country skis and snowshoes. Mid-Winter Candlelight Snowshoe Hike Feb. 10,

6-7:30pm; Feb. 10, 7:30-9pm • Beaver Creek Reserve, S1 County Road K, Fall Creek • $2, $1 friends; Special snowshoe rental rates apply: $2 for Friends members and $4 for nonmembers • 877-2212 • If you missed the January snowshoe hike or are ready to come back for another adventure, this program is for you. Candles will light your way as you travel by snowshoes along the tranquil trails at Beaver Creek. Call ahead to reserve snowshoes.

Snowshoe the Henke Farm Feb. 18, 9am-12:30pm •

Beaver Creek Reserve, S1 County Road K, Fall Creek • 4 for nonmembers, $2 for friends and special rental rates apply: $3 for friends and $5 for nonmembers • 877-2212 • Snowshoe the interesting lands at the Henke Farm on this morning hike with retired DNR Manager, Terry Valen. Terry will lead while you learn about the wonders in the winter landscape as you skirt the edges of the recently established prairie. Snowshoe under the evergreen cover, cross the creeks on the bridge and get a bit of exercise in a new setting.

Silver Mine Invitational

Skate/Hockey Rinks Altoona Hobbs Sport Center 2300 Spooner Ave., Altoona • Open skate times vary based on hockey leagues. Check website for times. Boyd Park 1202 Fairway Street, Eau Claire • eau- Boyd Park provides access to the Eau Claire River. People can partake in some shoreline fishing. There is also a pedestrian bridge that crosses the river granting access to city recreational trails on either side of the river. During the winter season A great outdoor rink with hockey nets and a useful warming house. Open 4-9pm during the week, and 1-9pm on weekends.

Chippewa Area Ice Arena 839 First Ave., Chippewa

Falls • 723-1612 • Open skate 7-8pm on Sunday evenings.

Dunn County Recreation Park 620 17th St., Menomonie • Open all day. The only rink in Menomonie with lights and hockey nets. Eau Claire Indoor Sports Center 3456 Craig Road, Eau

Claire • 552-1200 • Has pucks and nets to use for free during open gym times. Not on ice. Call ahead to find out open gym times, as they vary day to day.

Hobbs Ice Arena 915 Menomonie St., Eau Claire •

839-5040 • In addition to a ton of leagues, Hobbs offers youth open hockey clinics on Wednesday evenings. Open skate times are Sunday and Wednesday evenings. Rentals available. There is an admission fee.

Oak Park Circle Oak Park Circle, Menomonie • Open all day. No lights or warming house. Pinehurst Park 3523 Delbert Road, Eau Claire • eau- The location of Pinehurst Recreational Area includes off-street parking and an open recreational field. A general ice-skating rink is also made available during the winter and is open 4-9pm Mon.-Fri.;1-7pm Sat. & Sun..

Putnam Heights Playground 530 W. Tyler Ave., Eau

Claire • 839-5032 • An outdoor rink with a warming house.

River Heights Elementary School 615 24th Ave. W., Menomonie • No lights or warming house. Roosevelt Playground 908 Folsom St., Eau Claire • 839-5032 • An outdoor rink with a warming house. Wakanda Elementary 1801 Wakanda St., Menomonie • No lights or warming house.

Curling Embrace the Ice: Eau Claire Curling Club Open House

Jan. 8, 6-8pm • Eau Claire County Expo Center, 5530 Fairview Drive, Eau Claire • FREE • 834-4898 • This is your chance to grab some friends and give curling a try, totally free and no strings attached. Experienced local curlers will be on hand to show you the ropes. No need to register. Just show up with clean gym shoes and some warm clothes. Be there at 6pm for the official lesson with open curling to follow. Free beer, soda and pizza.

Wagon Rides Cabin Ridge Rides 4271 220th St, Cadott • 723-9537

• Offering wagon and sleigh rides

Winter Fun 2011  

Volume One's guide to finding fun during the winter months.