September 2021 Blackhawk Ski Club Newsletter

Canoeing at the Otter Den, Blackhawk Ski Club

September 2021 Blackhawk Ski Club Newsletter 

Hello, everyone! As summer transitions into fall, here’s the latest news from Blackhawk.  

News from the Otter Den 

The grand opening of the Otter Den on September 12 was a huge success. We welcomed many families to the Story Trail and enjoyed letterboxing, natural pigments painting, pond exploration, canoeing, and many rounds of “tug of war”.  Thank you to all who donated their time to support this fledgling program! Many thanks for the following donations: Gary and Tim Bertram (built and donated selfie stand), Squashington Farm (donated flowers for Grand Opening), and Heidi Ganshaw (created and donated letterboxes). 

Our next event is Sept. 26 2-3:30 pm for fishing and fairy house building. We’ll have a dozen rods to loan, or bring your own. Signup is no longer necessary. Parents, please plan to keep a close eye on your children near the water. Bring water to drink, and we’ll supply the playful learning! Contact Jill Stevenson at if you have questions. We will hold the event in the rain but will cancel if there’s lightning in the area. 

Canoeing at the Otter Den Grand Opening

What is “Letterboxing”?  

Letterboxing is a treasure hunt of sorts. There are ten boxes hidden on club property that contain fun facts and offer a great way to explore the property. Each letterbox houses a hand-carved rubber stamp and a small journal. Members use directions found at the Otter Den to find the boxes. When you find a box, use your own stamp and ink pad to mark the box journal (you can also add a comment/date/name, etc.) and use the box’s stamp to record your visit in your own journal. Kits, including hand-carved stamps, will be available at the Otter Den Sept 26, 2-3:30 pm, for a $5 donation. 

Join us for fairy house building September 26 


Important Dates at a Glance  

Read on for more details and exciting club news! 

Mondays at 10am, Member Mountain Bike Ride 

September 20-ongoing, Returning Member Registration 

September 26, 2-3:30pm, Otter’s Den Nature Exploration Event 

October 3, 11am-3pm, MTB Dirt Day 

October 4, New Member Registration Begins 

October 15, Family Campout 

October 16, 10am, New Member Tours 


Upcoming Events 


Registration Begins 9/20 for Returning Members, 10/4 for New Members 

Registration starts September 20, 7pm for returning members and October 4, 7pm for new members. Priority registration for current Limited/Full Access Members includes those who opted out for 2020 due to Covid. Here are the complete registration instructions


Members-Only MTB Dirt Day w/Trek Madison West October 3  

Join us on October 3rd from 11am-3pm when Blackhawk teams up with its friends from Trek Madison West to bring you a members-only event with demos, clinics, prizes ,and more. Fun for the whole family.


Family Campout Friday, October 15! 

Bring your whole family (and your own food and drink) and pitch your tent/hang your hammock at Blackhawk as early as 5 pm. We’ll meet at the Biathlon Haus at the bottom of Hill 2 at 7:30 pm for games; 8-ish for a night hike and campfire. Story Trail and letterboxing available all afternoon/evening. Join in even if you don’t spend the night! Masks required at Blackhawk, regardless of vaccination status, if social distancing is not possible. 


New Member Tours October 16 

Join us at 10am Saturday, October 16 to tour the Blackhawk property, pick up your parking permit, and ask questions! 


Full Moon Hike November 19 

Calling all Blackhawk nature explorers! Join our full moon hike Nov. 19 at 7:30 pm. We’ll begin our hike at the West Chalet parking lot to enjoy the moon (and the owls!). Return to West Chalet anytime that is convenient for you or your family. Hope to see you there! 



Volunteer Needs 


Please Join Us as a Volunteer  

We need every member to volunteer at Blackhawk. Please take a look at our volunteer needs below and contact to let us know how you would like to help.  

Fall Tour guides & clean-up 

Membership tag hand-out 

Ski & Snowboard Instructors

Chalet checkers: Sign up for a day of the week to check on the chalets. Tidy up when needed, empty trash and recycling as needed, place items in lost and found, alert Board to out of stock items.  

Fire Pit checker: Sign up for a day of the week to check the fire pit at West chalet. Start fire for open ski, monitor wood pile, tidy up as needed, move fire pit out of way for snowplow at end of the day (if snow is likely). 

Open Ski Sign-up Coordinator: Using a sign-up application, set up times/days/numbers for open ski times. Works closely with Board to make adjustments as needed. 

Tow Rope Monitor Coordinator: Using a sign-up application, set up times for rope tow monitoring on Hills 1&2. 

Mowing/Trimming Coordinator: Work with Facilities & Operations committee and volunteers to mow trails, outruns and trim building, tow lines, etc. Coordinate pre-winter mowing of all Alpine and Nordic trails.   

Snowmaking Volunteer Coordinator: Set up times/days for take-down of snowmaking equipment. Works closely with Lead Snowmaker. 

Events: Work with Board to coordinate special events for members. 

Membership Check Coordinator: Work with Board to arrange times/dates and volunteers to check for memberships at open ski times and on Nordic trails. 

Capital Campaign Committee: Join the committee to improve snowmaking, safety, and so much more at Blackhawk. 

Winter Ambassadors: You’ve seen our new mountain bike ambassadors on the Blackhawk trails in their yellow shirts, and now we're recruiting for ski ambassadors!  This is an opportunity to share your knowledge of the club with new people and get to ski at the same time. We are looking for both Alpine and Nordic skiers to be at the club during open ski hours.   

Snowplowing Coordinator: Operate the Kubota and plow in areas not reached by the snow removal service and for light snow in between service and monitoring shoveling of steps/walkways. Arrange for volunteers to cover days/weekends through the winter. 



Program News 


Blackhawk’s Nordic Ski Team Girls Place 3rd at State Meet 

Congratulations to our Nordic Ski Team Girls, who placed third at the Wisconsin State Meet! 


Blackhawk’s Nordic Ski Team Girls at the State Meet 


News from Around the Club 


COVID-19 Guidelines & Chalet Use This Winter 

Our updated COVID-19 guidelines and details about this winter’s chalet access can be found here: 


Monday Group Mountain Bike Ride 

Interested in meeting other mountain bikers? Join us for a weekly members’ group ride Mondays at 10am. Ride time: 1.5-2 hours. We will plan to ride to Pleasant View and on the Blackhawk trails. If enough people show up, we can split into groups, per rider interest/pace. Meet at the East Chalet ready to ride at 10am. Rides will not take place if trails are closed, or if thunder/lightning /heavy rain are imminent during ride time. Skill level should be at minimum comfortable going down Howling Wolf. Questions? Contact Nancy at 


Get Your Vehicle Tag!  

Pick up your vehicle tag on 10/16 at the Fall Tour, from a Mountain Bike Ambassador (yellow shirts) while you are at Blackhawk, or mail us a self-addressed stamped envelope to P.O. Box P.O. Box 628094, Middleton WI 53562-8094, and we will send it to you. Tags that are not picked up will be mailed to you, along with 2022 sticker, in November. 


Help Us Make Great Snow Capital Campaign 

Help us take our snowmaking process to the next level with a donation to our snowmaking capital campaign! Donate here.  Here’s a brief update on progress so far at the hill: 

The high cap well process is now underway. The site has been located, and we are on the schedule to have our test well dug. This will allow us to know definitively if we can have a high-cap well on our property. The cost of the test well is $25,000. After we have confirmation that we have the appropriate geology, we can proceed with the permitting and drilling process.   

In the meantime, we have a number of items to improve snowmaking including new valves, a new manifold on the top of Lenoard's Way and 2 small portable sticks.  We also are putting down electric to operate the snow cats on hill #2. 

If you would like to know more or see how you can help, please contact 


Lost and Found 

Check out the East Chalet Lost and Found if you’ve misplaced something on the mountain bike trails or elsewhere. 


Have an Item for the Newsletter? 

To share Blackhawk-related news with our membership, email Katie Ginder-Vogel (! 

Wishing you a beautiful beginning to the fall! 



The Blackhawk Board of Directors