'Play It Forward' at New Dunn County Park
WoodWind Park offers wintertime recreation opportunities for snow tubing, skiing, hiking, and biking
This winter, get outside and play at Dunn County’s new recreational space, WoodWind Park.
Formerly Deepwood Ski & Golf, this newly envisioned park offers potential for tubing, skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and biking, as well as event venue space for weddings, formal events, showers, concerts, and reunions.
Owners Paul and Meagan Frank know what it means to play. Both are former athletes, and Paul Frank now coaches hockey at UW-Eau Claire while Meagan Frank coaches soccer at Menomonie High School. The dual Wisconsin-Colorado residents also work with the Colorado-based entertainment company Rocky Mountain Events, which hosts the Colorado Renaissance Festival, intimate outdoor concerts, and mud runs.
This is the chance for us to get to that part that we enjoyed the most as athletes and as coaches, is just to play.
co-owner of woodwind park
With their athletic background and passion for recreation, they knew building a park was the perfect way to bring the Chippewa Valley together to play. “This is the chance for us to get to the part that we enjoyed the most as athletes and as coaches, is to just play,” Meagan Frank said, “and to get groups of people to come do that.”
The timing couldn’t have been better. With the pandemic, many families are looking for any opportunity to get outside. The Frank family, who spent the past summer in Wisconsin, rather than trekking to their Colorado summer home, put more equity into the park so that this winter, they can offer snow tubing, cross country skiing trails, and snowboarding opportunities at WoodWind.
“It’s a beautiful space,” Meagan Frank said, “and we want people to be able to do all sorts of things out here.” Eventually, they’ll offer downhill skiing (with three tow ropes and multiple runs), snowboarding terrains, and mountain biking trails.
They hope to bring the Colorado ski experience to Wisconsin by adding 200-step incline stairs to mimic Colorado elevation. They aim to have a fully completed park in five to seven years, with various parts of the park opening and expanding in phases.
“It was not our plan to have anything going on at all,” Meagan Frank said. “The pandemic has sped up our need to have some things going on.”
“Our ideas have changed probably ten times,” Paul Frank added. “We’re like, “Oh, we never thought about that.”
WoodWind Park’s mantra is to “Play It Forward.” Once the Franks get the park up and running, they hope to split portions of their proceeds to support local nonprofits and community organizations.
“We’re continuing to put one foot in front of the other,” Meagan Frank said. “How we can, where we can, with what we have. … It’s a passion project more than anything.”
We're continuing to put one foot in front of the other.
co-owner of woodwind park
In addition to acting as a recreational hotspot for locals, WoodWind also has the potential to be a wedding, concert, and event venue; the couple have already booked their first wedding for next fall.
Their main building will feature two sides: The Chalet, a formal, catered space ideal for weddings or special events; and The Switchback Bar & Grill – a ’50s-style eatery featuring burgers, fries, and shakes, and wait staff wearing ol’ fashioned ski sweaters and golf attire depending on the season.