Winter Park

KRISTI HINE / TRUE DAKOTAN 

What began as a local movement to continue growing the city park as an outdoor winter recreation destination has quickly transformed into a beacon of winter wonder for families across the region, drawing hundreds to Wessington Springs over NewYear’s 2021 weekend. 

“My initial hope was to utilize what we have in the park during winter months, encouraging families to get outside and make memories,” said Wessington Springs resident Gwyneth Dean-Fastnacht, the volunteer who spearheaded Winter Park Activities, which is in its third season. “After this past weekend, we are seeing a whole new layer of what the ski hill has become, having a name across the region as a destination.”  

In addition to the unique geography of the foothills west of Wessington Springs, Dean-Fastnacht said that it’s not only the big sledding hill that attracts folks but also the welcoming volunteers and the historic value of the Rube Goldberg tow rope and Field House. She points out that having set hours at the park for not only sledding but also ice skating and hot chocolate provides a fun, safe, inclusive place for all.  

“Really good” advertising didn’t hurt either. 

“What got people to really take notice was the Mr. Marken article in the True Dakotan (published January 29, 2020), which also ran in South Dakota Magazine,” she explained. “We have something special to share. The historical and human interest aspect piqued people’s interest.”

Read the full story in this week's print and e-issue. Need a subscription? Visit https://www.truedakotan.com/site/forms/subscription_services/