Wisconsin's Mt. Telemark Village Becoming A Reality
The old Telemark Resort, near Cable, Wisconsin, hadn’t been open for winter activities for over 20 years, and the lodge since 2013. A couple of attempts to reopen the lodge and ski hill in recent years fell through, but the nonprofit American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation that puts on North America's largest Nordic ski race each February is in the process of successfully reopening it as Mt. Telemark Village.
It purchased the old ski area property, more than 500 acres a couple of years ago, tore down the old Telemark Lodge and has created a new village and added trails for hiking, skiing and mountain biking. When fully completed there will be over 17 miles of trails available. They have also added a five-kilometer paved trail. The purpose is to make it a year-round destination for silent sports. A 12,000-square-foot multipurpose building will anchor Mt. Telemark Village, which serves as a community center, shopping and rental area, coffee shop, and changing/shower area, is expected to open in the spring of next year. It will also include a Tony Wise Museum to honor the roots of the facility, according to an article in the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
An overnight lodging option, which is not owned by the Ski Foundation, is also located on the property. Called Home Base at Mt. Telemark Village it will offer 10 private rooms.
The Kawabaming Observation Tower at the top of Telemark Mountain was opened to the public in July and offers a panoramic view of the countryside around the mountain. It's especially vibrant with the fall colors.
Telemark began when Tony Wise and H.B. Hewitt opened it the winter of 1947. A chair lift was added in 1964 to supplement the rope tows and, over the years, more improvements came, such as townhouses and a network of cross-country ski trails. When the $6 million lodge opened in December 1972, it included fine dining, a nightclub, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and outdoor tennis courts. At the time it was considered a major player in the Midwest downhill ski scene. It was eclipsed by larger resorts with bigger verticals and more ski runs. Since the mid-1980s the resort has opened and closed and been sold several times. This was where the first American Birkebeiner was held in 1973
Today one of the largest cross country ski races in the world it attracts over 6,000 participants to the annual event in late February each year. This winter the Slumberland American Birkebeiner will be held Saturday, February 24, 2024— Skate 50K and Classic 53K. It now begins in Cable, Wisconsin, and ends in Hayward.