By Rachel DeHart, Antigo Daily Journal

Over the weekend, Kettlebowl held its first Volunteer Appreciation Day for all past, present and future volunteers.

With a turnout of two dozen community members, volunteers were skiing and snowboarding to get any kinks worked out of the tow ropes and the set up the chalet and stocked with goodies for visitors.

The small ski area near Bryant was founded in 1956. Kettlebowl is a nonprofit operation run by the Langlade County Ski Club and volunteers.

“Everything at the ski hill is run by our volunteers—from cleaning, concessions, shopping for supplies, ski patrolling, grooming, maintenance on buildings and land, equipment, and updates on our Facebook page,” said Sarah Bostwick, Kettlebowl volunteer.

Kettlebowl Ski Hill is located at N6875 Highway 52. The name comes from the Kettle Moraine, a large moraine and or glacial deposit in northern Wisconsin. The Ice Age Trail also passes through Kettlebowl.

“This event was to show appreciation for our current and previous volunteers but also to welcome any new volunteers,” said Bostwick. “We graciously gained another four new volunteers this Sunday.”

Joe Bretl is one of the new volunteers welcomed. He grew up in the Antigo area but moved to Chicago as a young adult.

“After moving back home, I had some friends in the group encourage me to become a volunteer, and I thought what a better way to give back than to the ski hill my brothers and I grew up on,” said Bretl. “At age 9, I earned my first red badge in 1968, and I earned a badge every year after that until 1973.”

Bruce Thomae, president said he’s been skiing at Kettlebowl since he was a young child and has been volunteering for 14 years.

“We cleaned up some storm damage and removed the tree that fell across the trail and all the branches that carried onto the hill,” said Thomae.

They got three of the five tow ropes going on Sunday, checking the pulleys and tightening up the lines.

“We’ll be back out here on Thursday to get the other two ropes up and running,” said Thomae.

In addition, new volunteers were shown how to use the tow ropes and how to properly manage them.

“Ever since I was a little kid, after skiing my parents would volunteer us to help clean up, and i’ve been doing so since then,” volunteer Dan Auner, said. “Volunteers are of short supply these days, and this is a great way to help out and keep the hill going.”

Tentatively, the ski hill is set to open to the public for season the week after Christmas, with weather permitting.

“We couldn’t do it without all the donations,” said Sharon Meyer, volunteer. “Those donations are what keep this place going and we can’t thank those yearly donors enough.”

For more information on Kettlebowl Ski Hill, visit is Facebook page.