Hitting the Slopes


Photos submitted by Eliana Thomson

Skiing is a well-loved winter activity in Wisconsin; after all, Wisconsin is a very snowy state. Why not take advantage of the season and go skiing? Stoughton clearly has that mentality, as the Stoughton Ski Club has returned for yet another year of hitting the slopes. In fact, the word ski originates from the old Norse word “skio,” which means a split piece of wood. This ski club is run by Stoughton’s Parks and Recreation department and returned on Jan. 7, 2022, and anyone ages 10-18 (grades 5-12) is eligible to join
“I decided to start going on the ski trips because it was an easy way for me to do my favorite winter sport while also spending time with my best friend,” sophomore and member of the Ski Club for four years, Eliana Thomson, says. “Going on the trips with my best friend was the best part [of the ski club] and it was something we both looked forward to doing just about each week. The memories you get to keep from the trips are the best part for me.”
“We usually take six to seven trips a year to local hills,” Bill Brue, a leader of the ski club, says.
Since Stoughton currently has no skiing areas, the ski club travels to Tyrol Basin, which is in Mount Horeb, Wisc. Tyrol Basin is a ski and snowboarding area located in that opened in 1958.
“I have been taking these trips since 1979,” Brue says. “The only break was last year when no trips were taken [due to COVID-19.]”
Tyrol Basin has sixteen different slopes and seventeen trails with different levels of intensity. They have beginner slopes such as Shelley’s Way and the aptly named Gentle Ben, but they also have more complex slopes for experienced skiers such as the Sunrise Slope and Tobel Slope. Tyrol Basin has several categories for its slopes: beginner, more difficult, most difficult, and expert. It also has terrain parks, tree skiing, and chairlifts.
“On the bus you must wear a mask the whole time and there can only be two people in a seat. While skiing you do have to wear a mask and will get asked to wear one when you get onto the lift. In terms of social distancing, it’s pretty easy,” says Eliana Thomson on COVID-19 safety while skiing. “On the slopes in general you stay pretty far apart. Also most people just stay with their friend groups, so you’re never really in a crowd of people. On the lifts you can also social distance if you wish by putting maybe about three feet in between you and another person.”
Those who wish to participate in ski club must pay a fee of $40 for each trip and are required to take lessons on their first trip unless specifically waived on the membership form. Parents are also encouraged to join their children on these trips as chaperones. If a parent chooses to volunteer, they will receive a free ticket and bus ride. Parents must also complete a membership form for the first trip that their child attends. Students are picked up and dropped off at Stoughton High School and River Bluff Middle School to be taken to ski.
“We leave right after school and return around midnight,” Brue says. “We take three to four parents to chaperone [each] bus.”
“Please join the trips!” Thomson urges. “They are always fun and the memories you make will be so worth it! It doesn’t matter if you have a ton of experience, no experience, or somewhere in between, any way, the trip will be worth it.”