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Day Trip: Dells relaxation in winter? Absolutely

Northern playground awaits snow afficionados

WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. – Winter in Wisconsin is for more than cold hands and shivering. It is for fun.

While the indoor waterparks at Wisconsin Dells are a draw, when it is chilly outside, snow and ice become more than driving hazards. Skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing, along with getting out the snowshoes, make quite a list of seasonal activities.

Added to that is a lesser-known sporting opportunity in the area – trail and sleigh rides and zip line tours.

The Chimney Rock Snowshoe Zip Line begins at Vertical Illusions with a shuttle ride to Chimney Rock Park. From there, the group will snowshoe to the top of Chimney Rock Castle. The hike takes a half hour.

The zip line tour costs $99 and takes 1.5 to 2 hours going through Quaking Aspen Grove, over Friendship Lake Canyon, and down to Sunset Cliff. Along the way, those on the tour will stop at platforms in the trees, while their guides talk about the park.

The tour has a weight restriction of 250 pounds, but no age limit. Reservations are recommended; call 608-253-2500.

Red Ridge Ranch, near Mauston, Wis., has horse-drawn sleigh rides that hold 10 to 15 people. The rides are 40 minutes long and cost $15 per person. Hot chocolate is part of the experience. Reservations are required; call 608-847-2273. The ranch also offers trail rides all year.

Those wanting to try other snow activities can find some at Cascade Mountain Ski, Snowboard & Snow Tube in Portage, Wis. It's open through March 21. There are 36 trails to explore, with 10 lifts, one of which is the high-speed Mountain Top Express.

Its Snow Tube Park has five 800-foot chutes. Cascade Mountain has no restrictions on age or height, but they do insist on one person per tube. Children's tubes can be linked to an adult's tube. Those who enjoy the ride down and want to go again will not have to worry about a long hike up the hill. They can use the moving sidewalk.

Christmas Mountain Village Ski is a Dells resort with many options for winter. Snow tubing, skiing, snowboarding, and a bag jump are part of the attraction.

These are just a few of the winter choices for a day trip destination across the northern border. The snow seems to be staying around – take advantage of it.

If you go

Where: Wisconsin Dells, Wis., area

When: Winter

Cost: Varies per activity; see websites or call


Vertical Illusions, 933 Highway 12/16, Wisconsin Dells


Red Ridge Ranch Riding Stable, W4881 Wisconsin 82, Mauston, Wis.


Cascade Mountain, W10441 Cascade Mountain Road, Portage, Wis.


Christmas Mountain Village, S944 Christmas Mountain Road, Wisconsin Dells


More information: Visit or call Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau at 800-223-3557

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