I went to college in Stevens Point, yet had never skied Standing Rocks Park, just a few miles out of town. I was a bit scarred off by reports of how hilly it is, and frankly, there’s something intimidating about the name. So when my uncle suggested we take a trip to Standing Rocks to ski, I decided that today was the day.
Warm weather and rain has once again taken a toll on Madison area ski conditions. We are fortunate that the MadNorSki club has created a 1K loop at Elver Park to train on, but if you have time for a daytrip, good snowy trails are within reach.
Standing Rocks Park has a very nice lodge that services cross country trails as well as a small downhill slope and snowshoe trails. A trail pass is only $8 — well worth the great grooming and lodge comfort.
I’m really glad we made the trip on Saturday. Trail conditions were amazing, but very fast. The trail is quite hilly, but the hills are controlled. They are nice and wide. The few hills that featured curves did not feel dangerous. That said I wiped out hard in the first 2k when going down the hill labeled “Good Rush.” My only injury being a bruised thumb (and perhaps a bruised ego as some snowshoers witnessed my fall). I dusted myself off and kept on going up the well-labeled “Long Climb”
The trail layout for this park is pure genius. With elevation to work with, there is a loop that covers most of the park – the Red Loop – then there is a loop that snakes inside this to go up and down the hills within – the Blue Loop.
I hit the Blue Loop first which is a lovely 12.7k trail. The hills were indeed plentiful, but not oppressing. Then after a warm-up in the lodge I circled the Red Loop for one of the best skis I’ve had this season.
On Sunday, I returned to Standing Rocks for another run on the Blue Loop. The warmer temps made conditions even better and I was able to take a run down the “Good Rush” hill with my skis underneath me this time. During this outing, my legs were a bit fatigued, but the trails were so fast that my skis felt faster than my legs did. The Sunday crowd was a bit thinner than the Saturday crowd, but there were still many snow sport enthusiasts enjoying the park.
I would highly recommend making the trip to Standing Rocks Park near Stevens Point. Even with its popularity, the grand size of the park allows for some quiet moments on the beautiful, hilly trail.