Sunburst Park at Sunrise

The popular ski area between Madison and Milwaukee, Sunburst, where thousands of Badger-staters learned to ski and ride over the years, has been sold.  The area was founded in 1961.

Jim Engle, who along with his wife Kimberly, had owned the ski area for the last 28 years, said it was an offer he couldn’t refuse.

“We had no plans to sell the area, but when an offer comes along that can’t be turned away, you have to consider it. I’m still going to be around the industry. I’m the current president of the Wisconsin Ski Areas Association, and plan to still be involved with the Midwest Ski Areas Association,” he told SnoCountry.com.

Sunburst was sold to an area couple, Rob and Jennifer Friedl, who plan to operate the ski hill themselves and step away from their careers in futures trading and consulting. They are avid skiers.

“We look forward to continuing the friendly, customer-oriented ski area that Jim and his wife cultivated over the years,” Jen, who will handle the marketing, told SnoCountry.com. “We want to make improvements slowly and study the business. Some of the things that we plan to do initially are expand the tubing area and make changes in the day lodge menu. We plan on adding more value items and health conscious food as well as some gourmet items. Other changes will occur as we see needs develop.

“We hope to be operating it for the next 28 years,” she laughed.

The ski area has introduced thousands of new skiers and riders to the sport over the last 52 years  The ski school is routinely staffed by 150 instructors during the season. There are 13 runs, three chairlifts and six surface tows, including two carpet tows in the beginner area. 

Sunburst will reopen for a Spring Jam April 13-14. They plan on operating one of the chairs. The terrain park has been completely redone for the Jam. Lift tickets will be $10 for season pass holders and $15 for the general public.  There will be food and drink available.  

Photo: Sunburst Park at Sunburst Ski Area