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McMiller Cross Country Ski Trailhead Changes on Dec 10, 2013
The McMiller ski trail system located within the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest on Co. Hwy NN near the Village of Eagle will be undergoing some changes for the 2013-14 ski season.
Beginning in the 2013-14 season - in order to better accommodate all users of the McMiller Sport Center the trail head for the cross country ski trails will be relocated away from the existing parking lot and shelter building.
The new trailhead will be roughly 1/3 of a mile south of the existing trailhead on the same entrance road as the current trailhead. For 2013-14 there will be a heated trailer for a warming facility and portable toilets. Plans are in process to design and construct a replacement warming facility so that trail users will retain the same accommodations that they have grown accustom to using.
Provided funding availability the new shelter will be developed for the 2014-15 ski season and will have indoor heated restrooms and a fireplace.
There are some advantages for trail users to have a separate trailhead facility.
Those include -
- The heated shelter will be available 7 days a week during daylight hours. Currently the existing shelter is open on weekends only with hours that do not always coincide with the time frame when skiers are using the trail.
- Some skiers will find it an advantage to have a dedicated trail shelter facility rather than shared use.
- Trail users that prefer not having the sounds of the range will find the new location reduces the impact of those sounds.
- Access to the trail loops is immediate; the existing trailhead required skiing a short access trail to get to and from the loops.
The McMiller trails consist of 5 ski loops ranging from 2.5 km to 10 km in length. Additionally there is a 2 km loop that serves the biathlon course providing access to the biathlon range firing line. All trails at McMiller are groomed for both classical and skate skiers.
The trails which were originally designed with help from a member of the Milwaukee Nordic Ski Club were developed to provide a good training opportunity for skiers that participate in ski events. As such the trails, particularly the 2 longest loops, are challenging with numerous climbs, some that are longer, and fun down hills.
Long time skiers will remember that historically the trails hosted the Esker Odyssey and Kettle Moraine Nordic ski races. Both of these events were sponsored by the Nordic Ski Club and held until the late 1980’s.
The biathlon course is a rather recent addition to McMiller. It is one of only 2 biathlon venues in Southern Wisconsin (the other being Blackhawk Ski Club outside of Madison).
The course is used regularly by members of the Wisconsin Biathlon Association for training and competition. This group also organizes beginner biathlon instruction offering club owned rifles for those who are new to the sport. The organization sponsors 2 - 3 race events each year at McMiller.
In addition to the ski trail system McMiller Sports Center provides a full service shooting range for rifles and pistol target shooters as well as a Sporting Clays and novice trap range. A private vendor leases and operates the range facilities. The ranges are open year round varying days of the week and hours depending on the season. During the winter the ranges are only open on Saturday and Sunday.
Historically the ski trail and range users have shared an indoor warming facility during the winter. This heated facility offers flush toilet restrooms, a fireplace and limited concessions, soda and snacks.
In recent years, winter use of the range facilities has increased and retail sales in the shelter building have expanded. Combined with an increase in use of the ski trails during good snow conditions and biathlon events, space in the warming facility as well as parking lot has experienced some crowded conditions.
Trail users are asked to provide input and feedback on the new trailhead location.
Please contact Forest Supt. Paul Sandgren at 262-594-6204 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or suggestions.