*UPDATE* AriensCo launches website for new Ariens Nordic Center. Click HERE to check it out.
BRILLION, Wis., (NBC 26) — In just 10 days, America will watch top athletes compete on the world stage at the Beijing Winter Olympic Games. Here in Northeast Wisconsin, two local Olympians have inspired a new world-class Nordic center, the first of its kind in Wisconsin.
After meeting local Olympic Biathletes, Deedra Irwin of Pulaski Paul Schommer of Appleton, Dan Ariens, Chairman and CEO of Ariens Company says he was inspired.
"We don't really have any of these event centers really in North America and here in the midwest will be one of the top premier sites for all of North America," Ariens says.
Brillion-based Ariens Company, world-famous for its snowblowers and lawnmowers is taking on a new venture, building a world-class biathlon facility. A sport that combines Nordic skiing and rifle shooting.
"It's not just a big deal for Brillion, Wisconsin or northeast Wisconsin, it's kind of a big deal in the United States," says Ariens.
Located on 200 acres just outside of Brillion on Round Lake Farms, the Ariens Nordic Center will feature 5 miles of trails for recreation, training, and competitions. As well as a 20-point biathlon range.
"The users are going to be from everywhere from the highly competitive master sport, all the way down to recreational skiing so I think we're going to be bringing in lots of families," adds Dan Ariens.
Throughout the project, snow-making has been one of the biggest challenges. According to project managers, it takes 3.3 million gallons of water to create 2 feet of snowpack on the Ariens Nordic Center facility. To produce that quantity of artificial snow, they dug a 40-foot deep pond that will eventually be filled with 10 million gallons of water.
The facility's advanced snow-making system for Nordic skiing will be able to sustain enough snow for up to 50 degrees.
Ariens Company tells NBC 26 they recruited help from top experts including two-time Olympian John Morton of Morton Trails. Morton is one of the top designers of Nordic facilities in the world.
"Our motive in the last several years is to make Brillion a special place. This is our home. We've been in Brillion since 1893. We're proud of what we've done in the community," Ariens says. "We want to bring people into Brillion. We want to show people what a great place this is, what a great community we have here."
Construction of the Ariens Nordic Center kicked off in November of 2021. It is expected to open in December 2022 with a total cost of up to $15 million. Hopefully inspiring the next generation of Olympic hopefuls who may follow its trails.