Old Traditions ~ New Opportunities
Westby is named after general store owner and Civil War Union soldier Ole T. Westby of Vestby, Norway, from whence many of its original Norwegian-American settlers emigrated. Located on the ridge between the Mississippi River's Coulee Region and the Kickapoo River Valley, the Westby area contains 200+ miles of idyllic trout streams, as well as oppourtunities for hiking, biking, golfing, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, camping, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, hunting and ice fishing. Nearby is Wild Cat Mountain State Park with spectacular scenery, camping, horseback riding and cross country skiing. At the Kickapoo Valley Reserve you can enjoy mountain biking, birding, fishing, canoeing and much more.
Westby is famous for its Snowflake Annual Ski Jumping Tournament held each February, featuring a two-day world class competition. The ski jump complex at Snowflake consists of 5 jumps all located in the same area of beautiful Timber Coulee. The largest is a 118 meter Olympic sized hill used for United States and International Competitions. Celebrating over 80 years of jumping, this competition attracts skiers from 10 or more countries plus U.S.A. and Canada. The other 4 smaller hills at the site include a 65 meter hill, as well as smaller 40 - 20 - 10 meter hills for training Junior jumpers. Thousands of spectators gather at the Snowflake jumping complex to watch competitor's speed down the 13-story tower and fly distances longer than a football field.
Travel through the countryside surrounding Westby and discover the rugged hills, scenic farms, and state parks to see why vacationers return to this ideal place time and again season after season. Take in the trout streams that wind through the coulees while being on the lookout for round barns or stop at a shop and studio ran by a local artist. Be transfixed with the fall leaves on the country touring roads or visit the Amish community for many of their handcrafted goods.
The Norwegian heritage of many of Westby's citizens is celebrated each year as our entire town and thousands of guests observe Syttende Mai, which has a similar significance in Norway as July 4th has in the United States of America. It marks the country's declaration of independence and the triumph of constitutional government. This day is also called Constitution Day and National Day and is a great spring festival in Norway. Festivities include a Princess Banquet & Coronation, a Princess Ball, Norwegian parade, Troll Hunt, a 5K Walk/Run, Car Show, and local food stands everywhere! Live demonstrations of Norwegian arts include rosemaling, wood carving, weaving, needlework and baking. Also live models with costumes from many districts of Norway (Bunads), and live music.