Iola’s hidden treasure
Club offers cross country skiing, snowshoe trails
By Holly Neumann
The Iola Winter Sports Club has a lot to offer winter enthusiasts.
Located north of Iola at E398 County Trunk MM, the club had more than 5,000 visitors last year.
“It’s tucked away on a county road, so some people might not even knows it’s here,” said Jackie Hoffman. “You can see the jumps driving by, but until you get out of your car and experience the trail system, you will never know what is really out there.”
Hoffman and her husband Kevin have been members for over 30 years.
Both serve on the board.
“We enjoy cross country skiing and the snowshoe trails,” Jackie said. “The best part about it is that the whole family can be involved, from toddlers to whatever age you are.”
IWSC has just over 12 miles of groomed cross country ski trails, four of which have lights for night skiing.
“There are trails for the beginner and the avid skier,” she said. “You can really put on some serious miles.”
“There are even trails where you never have to hit a hill if you don’t want to,” Kevin said.
A new section was added to the black trail, which is the most difficult course.
“This is a great addition and quite challenging,” he said. “It makes the grooming route more efficient as well.”
IWSC also has separate snowshoe trails.
Each weekend, a youth ski program is offered, with it set to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14.
Lessons will be held on each Saturday morning through the end of February, weather permitting.
Participants may sign up any time during the winter season.
The program is for children age 10 and under, along with their families.
The focus is on the fundamentals of the classic style of cross country skiing and includes a variety of activities and games.
People may receive information about the program by emailing Katie and Peter Gebhardt at [email protected] or calling them at 715-630-5120.
Snacks and hot chocolate are provided on the days of practice.
They encourage all to give it a try.
“We did not know anything about skiing when we came out here for the first time, but we wanted something to do as a family,” Jackie said. “It is cost affordable, and you get to enjoy being with other people.”
Memberships are $75 for individuals and $125 for families.
Use of the trails and ski equipment is included with a membership.
Daily passes are available for $20 and also include use of the trails and equipment.
IWSC is run by volunteers.
People may visit IWSC’s Facebook page for updates about skiing conditons and iolawintersportsclub.org for information about the facility and other events.
The trail system is also open during the summer for walking, running and hiking.