Facility Profile - September 2005
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Playboy Turns Family Guy

Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark at Grand Geneva
Lake Geneva, Wis.

By Margaret Ahrweiler


To keep the getaway experience pleasant for adults as well as children, Anderson says, the resort designed all 225 of Timber Ridge's suites with private bedrooms, rather than half-wall partitions, to provide parents a much-needed break. Each room also features a kitchenette to feed tired, hungry waterpark adventurers. Visitors also have the option of staying at the Grand Geneva Lodge, the more traditional, adult-oriented property a brief trolley ride away from Timber Ridge.

While the waterpark initially may entice visitors, the array of four-season recreational activities at The Grand Geneva keeps families on site—and keeps them returning. Chief among those is The Mountain Top, the 18-run ski slope on the resort that complements Timber Ridge's family orientation and the focus of its popular "Water-Ski" promotions. About 30 percent of its guests use both facilities, Anderson says.

No one will ever mistake the ski hill, with a 211-foot vertical drop, for the Rocky Mountains, wherein lies its appeal to families, says Hans Hauchild, the facility's ski director. Its non-threatening size makes it a perfect learning environment.

"We've taught several generations to ski here," Hauchild says, noting that he regularly meets parents who (like him) learned to ski at the Playboy Club, honed their skills on real mountains and are returning to introduce their children to the sport. The resort's certified ski instructors specialize in children. Conversely, the low-key family orientation means parents can let their hair down enough to take snowboarding lessons without fear of embarrassment.

The presence of the waterpark and other recreational facilities takes the pressure off beginning skiers, Hauchild adds. Tired or frustrated beginners don't feel obligated to stay on the slopes—instead, they can take a waterpark break and know they can return later.

In summer, families can break up their waterpark experience with a round of golf on the Grand Geneva's two PGA tournament-quality, 18-hole golf courses. One surprise since Timber Ridge opened in 2001, Anderson notes: Fewer parents than anticipated combined the waterpark experience with golf.

"We thought we would have a lot of Dad golfing while the kids were at the waterpark, but we discovered that when they come to Timber Ridge, they tend to stay together as a family unit," he says.

The one exception to that rule is with spa treatments. About 60 percent of the resort's leisure guests use at least one spa service during their stay, he notes. The recently expanded spa, The Well, gets booked to capacity on weekends.

Other popular warm-weather resort experiences include trail rides at Dan Patch stables (the Grand Geneva's horseback riding facility), biking and walking on the resort's paths, and, increasingly, adventure tourism offerings, where the resort sponsors tours to nearby Kettle Moraine State Forest.

"With the addition of the waterpark, we've truly got something for everyone," Anderson says. "And if you live in Chicago's north suburbs, you can get here as fast as you can get to a shopping mall."

For more information
Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark at Grand Geneva: www.timberridgeresort.com

Grand Geneva Resort: www.grandgeneva.com

Ramaker & Associates, Inc.: www.ramaker.com

ProSlide Technology Inc.: www.proslide.com