Oglebay Breaks the Ice With First WinterFest
WHEELING — The temperatures of late may have felt more like spring, but don’t worry, there’s plenty of winter left.
And why not celebrate the season at the inaugural WinterFest celebration slated for Jan. 24 and 25, at the area’s crown jewel of recreational facilities — Oglebay Park. Many of the events will take place at the Winter Sports Complex at Oglebay’s ski lodge, weather permitting.
The fun begins on Friday, Jan. 24 with the 8 p.m. exclusive screening of Warren Miller’s 2019 ski film “Timeless.” The showing will take place in Hickman Lounge on the second floor of Oglebay’s Wilson Lodge.
Ski enthusiasts and fans of the late, great skier and filmmaker Miller won’t want to miss this 70th-anniversary film featuring a cast of fresh faces, inspirational locales, plenty of laughs and a classic blend of new and old.
Then on Saturday, Jan. 25, WinterFest Oglebay kicks into high gear at noon with the Polar Bear Plunge at Schenk Lake. Oglebay Activities Director Andy Brown said the Polar Bear Plunge also serves as a fundraiser for the West Virginia Special Olympics.
A $50 fee will earn participants a chilly dip into Schenk Lake, a T-shirt, ski lift ticket and other goodies while proceeds help the Special Olympics.
Sign-up is on the day of the event. Mostly, participants enjoy the bragging rights of completing the plunge.
“This is our first year and we hope to build on this event. As it becomes popular, people may form teams, dress up in costumes. … There is no age limit, but there is a waiver.”
With weather conditions an important variable for the WinterFest at Oglebay, Brown said there are some back-up plans in the event there is no snow. He said “dry work lessons” could be utilized for the free beginner ski lessons slated for 2 p.m. Saturday at the Winter Sports Complex.
This event is followed at 3 p.m. Saturday by the “Challenge the Pro” competition at the Winter Sports Complex. During this kid-friendly race, you’ll challenge the resident ski pro to see who reigns supreme.
Then at 7 p.m. Saturday, the WinterFest Party will include the “Out Cold Race” on the ski slopes. This true test of balance and agility is not for the faint of heart. Race down the ski hill with full pitchers of liquid in both hands. The contestant with the most liquid in their pitchers at the finish line wins.
“This will bring the spectators out for sure. It’s a great event,” Brown said.
The WinterFest Party, featuring musical entertainment, prize giveaways, seasonal eats and local brew may shift to Hickman Lounge at Wilson Lodge if there is no snow, Brown noted.
Back-up plans may be put in place to replace some events, Brown noted. That includes the possibility of offering a shuttle from Oglebay to Wheeling Park for ice skating and lessons.
Brown said the final decision on the schedule for WinterFest Oglebay will be made one week before the event, based on predicted weather conditions.