Volunteers Light Up Tower Ridge Ski Trails

Nealy Corcoran

As the warm September sun and days of drinking lemonade are replaced with crisp October mornings and apple cider, Volunteers from the Eau Claire Ski Striders club and Students from Chippewa Valley Technical College are finishing a two-year project on the ski trails at Tower Ridge Recreation Area. Located in the town of Seymour east of Eau Claire, Tower Ridge has 12 miles of wooded, rolling trails and is recognized as the largest cross-country ski trail complex in Eau Claire County and west-central Wisconsin.

The project will create a new segment of lighted trail by installing 16 new lights and poles and replacing 20 existing lights and poles. The new LED lights will be more energy efficient. Volunteers with the Ski Striders club are putting up the lights and doing the wiring, while CVTC students volunteered time and equipment to erect the poles.

About 20 years ago, Xcel Energy donated the original poles, and skiers and community members donated the original lights. After two decades, some of the old lights no longer worked, while other poles and lights were starting to show their age.

Another consideration in the update has been the increasing popularity of the Monday night “Kickin’ Kids” winter ski program, which teaches kids how to ski. The program has been so successful (recent winters has hosted 100-130 kids) that kids and instructors have run out of lighted trail to ski on.

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