Ever thought of opening your own ski resort? Or have a favorite hill that now can only be found on the Lost Ski Areas section of DCSki? Well David Lobl took matters into his own hands when his local hill closed outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Hidden Valley Ski Resort of Wisconsin (not Pennsylvania) is a small unassuming place of 3 trails and less than a 200 foot vertical drop. But to David Lobl and many other nearby residents it was their local hill. The hill had closed four years ago, but reopened this year under Dave’s ownership.
This year’s late arriving winter has played havoc on his investment but he still is looking to make a go of it. Surprisingly the ski hill was listed in the 2007 Rand McNally Road Atlas which is how I found my way to it last week on a trip to Green Bay.
The ski hill is very unassuming. Located 25 miles south of Green Bay the signs for the Hidden Valley ski resort off the interstate 43 are hand painted and probably left over from the previous ownership. But once I got off the interstate the path to the resort was clearly marked and less than 2 miles from the interstate. The small lodge is in a narrow hollow at the bottom of the 3 ski runs. The slopes are serviced by one old double chair (with only 4 lift towers) and a surface lift. The slopes fall into the hollow from the prairie (tundra) above. There really is no hill here but the drop is steady and the runs are wide.
This mid January day the sun was brightly shining above but the tall trees in the hollow and the low position on the winter sun made the hollow quite chilly. My car temperature gauge read 17 degrees whereas it had been 27 up on top. The effect produced a nice micro climate of which the snow blowers were taking full advantage of by howling a fine powder into the air.
When I arrived there, one sole skier was doing laps on the slopes (of which 2 out 3 were open). I say “doing laps” because he in fact was. His name was Steve Rendell and he is a student from Green Bay. When I pulled up he was in full cross country race mode; garbed in bright Lycra, he was skating up the smaller trail and sailing down the large one. It looked like quite the workout. Steve competes in cross country races and the ski hill provided the only open snow for miles. However other than this wayward biathlete, the slopes where barren of other skiers.
According to those in the lodge the skier traffic is pretty steady on the weekends and they get a fair crowd of school kids in the evenings. This afternoon must have been the exception. If the weather holds out they should be able to stay open long enough in the spring to make a go of it, or at least that what those in the lodge and new owner David Lobl hope.
It is good to see any ski hill reopen after going dormant for a few years. It is fun to see a skier working to keep his hill open. I hope Dave can make a go of his version of frozen tundra!
Robbie Allen is an avid small hill skier. He has written several articles on the many small hills he has sought out.
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