Menomonee Falls - Winter doesn't mean residents have to stay cooped up for months at a time. In fact, an abundance of recreational opportunities await those brave enough to bundle up and step outside.
To start, both villages provide man-made ice skating rinks. Once there are sustaining freezing temperatures, the Kinderberg Park Ice Rink in Germantown will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The rink is free to the public. For updates on if the rink is open, call the Recreation Department hotline at (262) 250-4711.
Kinderberg Park also has a sledding hill open during park hours from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Menomonee Falls floods a portion of the parking lot at Ternary Field to create an ice-skating rink. The village has plugged the storm sewer grate and barricaded the rink area. Now, they are just waiting for low enough temperatures so they can flood that area and have a solid piece of ice, Director of Public Works Arlyn Johnson said.
"Many people are not aware that we do provide an ice-skating rink," he said.
Ski routes galore
An ice-skating rink is not the only amenity maintained by village staff.
With 1,400 acres of parks and trails in the village, a slew of winter recreation is available. The village designates an area for cross country skiing in Rotary Park. A mile-route runs along the river, Johnson said.
The Waukesha County Park System also grooms ski trails in Menomonee Park, which is located in Falls and partly in Lannon.
Menomonee Park's cross country trails consist of three loops that take up 4.5 miles of park land. These ski trails are groomed, packed and tracked weekly for both skating and diagonal patterns, according to Parks Program Specialist Ginny Bocek.
Carol Doebler, Menomonee Falls resident and board member of the Nordic Ski Club of Milwaukee, hits ski trails in both Germantown and Falls.
"I routinely ski at Menomonee Park on Town Line Road in Menomonee Falls. It's always impeccably groomed. In three loops it offers 4.5 miles of gently rolling terrain for traditional diagonal cross-country skiing and skate skiing," Doebler said. "The woods are lovely."
The 105-acre Homestead Hollow County Park in Germantown has skiing as well, but skiers may have to break trail, Doebler said.
"They don't routinely groom it," she said.
New skiers don't have to fret
For those new to cross country skiing, Bocek recommends starting in the beach parking lot at Menomonee Park, which is located in the center of the park and ski trails.
"This is the best way to discover which trails are best suited for them," she said.
The Nordic Ski Club offers free ski lessons on its trips and at its January winter picnic. The Ski Club also leads outings to Milwaukee-area parks, offers weekend bus trips to northern Wisconsin and plans year-round activities.
For those interested in cross country skiing or snowshoeing, visit nordicskiclub.org.
In addition to skiing, Menomonee Park has one sled hill for patrons located in the northeast corner of the park. A map of this location is available at waukesahcountyparks.com. Additional park activities include winter hiking, snowmobiling, winter camping, ice fishing and snowshoeing.
For those who don't want to venture too far from their homes, the Germantown Park and Recreation Department offers a way to get outside and win a prize.
Residents can enter the Recreation Department's Snowman and Snow Creature Contest by submitting a photo of their snow creations. The contest is free to participate and there can only be one entrant per household per category. Preregistration is required via www.village.germantown.wi.us or at the Park and Recreation Department office, W17001 Mequon Road.
Photos must be submitted by Feb. 22 via email to the office or parkrec@village. germantown.wi.us. Winners will be notified by March 1.
Up to three photos can be submitted. If photos are submitted via email, include a name and phone number. Judging will be based on originality and creativity.
"We did it for the first time last year and we ended up with some awesome entries," Germantown Recreation Supervisor Joe Masiarchin said.
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