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Let It Snow - Winter Snow Sports in Kenosha, WI

12/26/2019 - Frederick Butzen

Sports & Outdoors
Winter Sports in Kenosha, WI
Winter Sports in Kenosha, WI
Winter Sports in Kenosha, WI
Winter Sports in Kenosha, WI

Rogers Hornsby, who played for the Cardinals and Cubs and was the last man to hit .400 in the National League, once wrote that people asked him what he did in winter, when there’s no baseball. “I’ll tell you what I do,” he continued. “I stare out the window and wait for spring.”

While almost everyone curses snow as we shovel it and plow through it, in Kenosha County we can do much more than just stare out the window and wait for spring. Here, we have a wide variety of ways to enjoy winter – from skiing to ice-fishing, from sledding to snowmobiling – all in comfortable settings and all within a 90-minute drive of Chicago.

Kenosha is a little colder than Chicago, and a little snowier (especially near Lake Michigan), but otherwise the conditions here are pretty much the same as they are in the city.

Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing

To begin: Cross-country skiing is widely available in Kenosha County.

Four county parks offer trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing:

  • Silver Lake Park, 27000 85th Street, has several miles of groomed cross-country ski trails.
  • Fox River Park, 30255 93rd Street.
  • Bristol Woods (Pringle Nature Center). Snowshoes can be rented at the Nature Center.
  • Petrifying Springs Park. The ski trail is lighted. Unfortunately, the Petrifying Springs Biergarten is closed for the season; but it will be a good reason to come back next summer.

Also, the Richard Bong State Recreation Area offers nearly 30 miles of trails for hiking and cross-country skiing. Please note that as with any Wisconsin state park, you need a Wisconsin DNR sticker to use the facilities at the Bong Area; for details, click the Licenses & Regulations menu entry on the web page for the Bong State Recreation Area.

Cross-country skiing is also available on Kenosha’s lakefront.

For information on trail conditions, telephone the Kenosha County Parks Department (262-857-1869) or the Pringle Nature Center (262-878-8008).

Snowmobiling

If you enjoy zooming on a snowmobile, Kenosha County has more than 200 miles (no, that is not a typo: two hundred miles) of managed snowmobile trails.

For details on snowmobiling in Kenosha County, check out the web site for the Kenosha County Snowmobile Alliance (KCSA). This site lists information on trail conditions, has links to places where you can buy a trail map, and has links to the many Kenosha County snowmobile clubs.

For information on trail conditions, see the KCSA web site, or phone 262-671-4944.

Please note that before you start snowmobiling in Kenosha, you must have a Wisconsin trail pass. The cost is $50 for nonresidents of Wisconsin, or $30 for residents ($10 if you are a member of a club recognized by the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs). For information on how to order your pass, look here. Be sure to plan ahead: a trail pass can take up to several weeks to deliver.

Ice Fishing

Ice fishing has long been a winter recreation in Wisconsin. Kenosha County offers several sites where you can angle even in the wintertime.

Kenosha County’s park system offers three sites for ice fishing:

Each web site has information on hours and accessing, and links to maps and other information.

Regardless of whether the water is solid or liquid, you need a license to fish in Wisconsin. See the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ page on ice fishing for information and tips on ice fishing, and a link to where you can get a fishing license.

Downhill Skiing, Snowboarding, Tubing

Wilmot Mountain is a fully featured ski resort in the town of Wilmot, in the southwest corner of Kenosha County. It offers a full range of services for skiing, snowboard, and snow tubing, including chair lifts, equipment purchases and rentals, lessons (both group and individual), restaurant, and lodging. Snow machines help ensure that, weather permitting, there will be enough snow for a full day’s skiing.

Snow tubing is something even I, who’s never worn a pair of skis in his life, can do immediately. Wilmot offers tubing packages, including group rates and group fundraisers. For details, see the Wilmot Mountain web site.

Granted, Wisconsin isn’t Park City or the Alps. But Wilmot Mountain is well managed, fully featured, and a short drive from Chicago. For more information, see the web site, or email WilmotMountainInfo@VailResorts.com.

Sledding

 When I was growing up in east Rogers Park a long, long time ago (hint: the Chicago & North Western Railroad, which ran by our home, was still using steam engines), our favorite winter pastime was sledding. The problem with that, however, was that Chicago doesn’t have any hills – or at least no hills worthy of the name. The closest we came to a hill was the slope east of Ridge Avenue; it’s not much of a hill (in Kenosha terms, it’s roughly equivalent to the slope from Green Ridge to 7th Avenue), but it was the best we had. The S&C Electric Company had a lawn on that slope that led into its parking lot. We would sled down that slope, and try to avoid banging into any of the cars parked at the bottom – and we succeeded, usually.

Sledding is much better in Kenosha County. Three county parks have sledding hills:

These are serious hills that, when I was a kid, I would have been delighted to sled. The hills at Fox River Park and Petrifying Springs Park are lighted. See each park’s web site for a map that shows the hill’s location.

Winter Mountain Biking

Silver Lake Park, 27000 85th Street, offers more than ten miles of single and multi-use mountain bike trails, suitable for wintering mountain bicycling. For information on trail conditions, phone 262-857-1876.

For More Information                                                        

The Kenosha County web site has a page for each park in the system. Browsing that site will suggest many activities in the county, both winter and summer.

 The Kenosha County Parks Activity Guide is an excellent source for information on parks and recreation in Kenosha County. The guide lists activities and events throughout the year; but it also lists the parks in the system, gives contact information, and has a detailed map that shows all parks, trails, golf courses, beaches, and other recreational sites in the county. You can pick up a copy at the Kenosha County Parks office, (19600 75th Street, Suite 122-1, Bristol WI, 53104), or request a copy by sending an email to kenoshacountyparks@kenoshacounty.org. An online version can be seen here.

For information on upcoming snow-related events, check the web site for the Kenosha Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Frederick Butzen

Frederick Butzen

Community Blogger

Recently retired software engineer & technical writer. Essayist and amateur musician, lifelong Chicagoan and newly arrived Kenoshan, enjoying exploring life and culture north of the Cheddar Curtain.

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