Magic Carpet ride highlights Winter Park season preparations in Kewaunee
KEWAUNEE – Winter Park may not be a Lambeau Field’s Titletown District type of park, but it’s chipping away at becoming a winter recreational sports enthusiasts’ destination, too.
There won’t be an elevator going to top of Winter Park, but it will unveil a unique hands-free, stand-up conveyor belt called the Magic Carpet this year.
Manufactured by Denver-based Rocky Mountain Conveyor & Equipment, the Magic Carpet will assist tubers to the top of the six-lane, 70-foot vertical drop hill. The belt will escort the tubers at a walking pace up the kid-friendly hill.
“We’re hoping the Magic Carpet will draw larger numbers here,’’ commented Dave Myers, Kewaunee County Promotion & Recreation Director.
Winter Park also offers snowboarding and downhill skiing on adjacent hills. Snowshoeing is offered close by. In the summer, the rugged terrain transforms into a disc golf park.
“Last year we didn’t have the numbers because of a short season (six weeks), Myers said, as he walked to the ski rental counter to “knock on wood.” Winter Park drew 6,000 people last year but averages 10,000 in a good year.
“We were set to break a record if it hadn’t been for the rain,’’ Myers said. A deep snow base can stand up to above freezing temperatures, but rain will pull the plug quickly on a ski hill.
The Kewaunee County Promotion & Recreation Department held a media day Tuesday to introduce the $110,000 conveyor belt. All the attendees could manage the electric conveyor with large video cameras and bags across their shoulders. It is similar to an airport walkway conveyor, with an escalator look to it.
Last year the Winter Park Association introduced a snowboard/ski hill for beginners. The newcomers sidestepped their way to the top of the slight incline. The tubing hill’s former tow rope will be repurposed for the bunny hill in the future. Snowboarders and downhill skiers currently travel up the hill via a T-bar system.
“Every year we’re growing,’’ said Jennifer Schneider, Kewaunee County Tourism Coordinator and Public Information Officer. “We also increased our fleet of snowboard and ski rentals. We now have sizes for all ages. And we are now accepting credit and debit cards for the first time.’’
Winter Park benefited with the closure of Hidden Valley Ski Hill in Manitowoc a few years ago. It was able to acquire Hidden Valley’s snow making machines since then, and the machines have been producing snow at a fever pitch with the onset of cold temperatures the past couple of weeks.
It’s no mistake Winter Park is beginning to look a little like Hidden Valley. As long as Mother Nature blows in the snow and the winter season is long and lucrative, a chair lift won’t be far off.
“Right now we are looking to expand the ski runs. Making the hill bigger or wider, so to speak. We will see what happens after that,’’ Myers said with a smile.
Winter Park plans to kick off its season around Christmas on weekends (exact date to be determined). Hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. Cost for tubing (tubes provided) is $8 per person for two hours, $35 for a family of five. Cost for snowboarding/skiing is $15 per person for an all-day pass. Snowboard/ski/snowshoe rental is $10.
The hill also will be open during the week for private parties, events and school field trips; call for reservations. Rates for group reservations are $175 for residents, $185 nonresidents. There is a minimum purchase of 50 tickets at $4 per person for three hours of tubing and use of the ski chalet. Credit and debit cards are accepted.
The Promotion & Recreation Department asks visitors to keep off the tubing and skiing hills as well as the Magic Carpet when the park is not open to the public.
Winter Park is at N3787 Ransom Moore Lane, between Besadny Fisheries Facility and Bruemmer Park Zoo, off County C, west of Kewaunee. For reservations for private events or more information, call 920-388-0444; information also is available by visiting www.facebook.com/WinterParkKewauneeCounty or calling the Kewaunee County 24-hour recreation hotline at 920-388-7199.
To see more photos and a video from Tuesday’s media day at Winter Park, go to www.kewauneecountystarnews.com.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Magic Carpet ride highlights Winter Park season preparations in Kewaunee