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No snow? No problem. Ariens Nordic Center keeps trails open despite the dry season

The dry season is no match for the snowmaking fleet at the new Ariens Nordic Center in Brillion
Posted at 6:51 PM, Jan 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-13 19:52:33-05

BRILLION, Wis. (NBC 26) — When mother nature doesn't give us the conditions we want to enjoy our winter sport of choice, sometimes a little technology can do the trick.

The new Ariens Nordic Center's 17 high-tech snow guns, 68 snow hydrants, and a 10 million gallon pond for on-site snowmaking.

No Snow? No problem.

"This gives us a sure place to go when there is now snow," says cross-country skier, Bob Warpinski.

Warpinski was one of the many cross-country enthusiasts taking advantage of the only cross-country trails covered by enough snow in the area.

"We kind of are the only game in town right now kind of has snow, south of Rhinelander so we have people traveling from quite a distance to come here and ski," says Sean Becker, General Manager of Ariens Nordic Center.

Despite the warm season, 65% of the 5k of trails are open. Along with the 20-point biathlon range, filling a gap for an Olympic training level venue right here in northeast Wisconsin.

"When you need to ski and you need to get in shape this is going to be a phenomenal addition to the community here," says Warpinski.

The venue was inspired by Olympic biathletes, Deedra Irwin and Paul Schomer but you don't have to be an olympian to take advantage of this Nordic playground.

The lighted trails can host skill levels from beginner to professional.

After more than a year of construction, all the center needs now are a few more inches of snow and the finishing touches on its trailhead building, which will host a warming area and retail center.

"Hopefully we can be fully open and have our best foot forward and have our customers that want to come ski really see what this place has to offer," adds Becker.

The Ariens Nordic Center's grand opening has been postponed but the trails are now open to the public.

Ariens Nordic Center FAST FACTS:

  • Located adjacent to Round Lake Farms on 200 acres at the outskirts of Brillion. 
  • 5K of trails for year-round recreation, training and competition for cross-country skiing, biathlon, roller-skiing, running, hiking, and more.  
  • 3K of paved roller-ski loop of off-season training.
  • 17 Snow Guns, 68 snow-making hydrants with lights
  • 10M gallon pond onsite for snowmaking purposes.
  • 20-point biathlon range.
  • At least 2,000 spectators can watch events from the spectator hill overlooking the range. 
  • Construction began in November 2021. 
  • Soft opening was end of December 2022.
  • Trails designed by John Morton, Morton Trails, with input from the United State Biathlon President and CEO Max Cobb