Winter in western Wisconsin offers a wide variety of recreation, from quiet to very noisy, from singular to group activities. Choose your sport from: ice fishing (fishing from a portable house or shanty by cutting a hole in the ice and sending the bait through the hole) complete with an Ice Fishing Derby; snowtubing down a groomed track, snowshoe races with friends; nordic skiing at the Experimental Forest at Bangor, Wisconsin, moonlight skiing in one of the public parks/state forests; snowmobiling the hundreds of miles of trails groomed by snowmobile clubs; ice skating on city ponds; oval track and drag strip ice racing on Lake Neshonic at West Salem; snowmobile races on Lake Tomah and at Melrose, Wisconsin; watching the International Ski Jump Tournament near Westby, Wisconsin in mid-February; watching the eagles feed north of the Lock and Dam # 7 at Dresbach, Lock and Dam # 6 at Trempealeau or drive to Wabasha, MN to the eagle observation deck; cheering high school hockey players participating in tournaments and broom ball.
Winter also offers many indoor activities from plays and concerts at the theaters, theme events at museums, a wide range of shows at the La Crosse Center, and shopping in the area boutiques.
Snowtubing and snowboarding are available at White Tail Ridge at Fort Mc Coy located on State Highway 21 a few miles east of Sparta, Wisconsin. A rope tow pulls tubers and snowboarders back up the hill. Phone 608-388-4498. Lodge with snacks.
Mt. La Crosse, south of La Crosse, a short distance off State Highway 35 welcomes snowboarders. 608-788-0044 or outside Wisconsin phone 1-800-426-3665. Chairlifts. Lodge with snacks and a separate lounge area.
Public lands with trails for snowshoeing and Nordic skiing include: Wildcat Mountain State Park at Ontario, Wisconsin; Black River State Forest, Black River Falls, Wisconsin; Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge north of Trempealeau, Wisconsin; Norskedalen at Coon Valley, Wisconsin. Some areas have a moonlight ski event in January and February. Check www.wistravel.com/crosscountryskiingsw.htm
Gary and Peggy Severson, Kale Rd, Sparta, WI have dog sled rides available by appointment. 608-486-4303. They have sprint dogs and basket sleds with teams of 4-6 dogs. Cost is s$40/ person for an hour of outdoor activity.