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Several Midwest Ski Areas Celebrate Milestones This Season

Terry-Peak-image-new Terry Peak is one of the oldest ski areas in the nation.

No less than nine Heartland ski areas are celebrating significant milestones this year. All have been in business at least 60 years and one started 85 years ago, according to the National Ski Areas Association.


Terry Peak, South Dakota, opened in 1936 and celebrates 85 years this winter. It opened the same year as Sun Valley in the west and Bromley Mountain opened in the east, both credited with kicking off the North American ski resort industry. Terry Peak, with a 1,100-foot vertical drop, the largest in the Heartland, offers true mountain skiing. Located in the Black Hills it tops out near 7,000 feet. That first chairlift installed at Sun Valley 85 years ago was purchased by Everett Kircher in 1947, moved to Boyne Mountain, and introduced the modern era of skiing to the Heartland.


Wisconsin’s Little Switzerland isn’t far behind. Opening in 1941 the ski area, which serves the Milwaukee area, turns 80 this year.

Michigan has three ski resorts celebrating 65 years in 2021. Crystal Mountain, near Traverse City, opened in 1956, and so did Ski Brule, in the Wolverine State’s UP, and Mt. Holly, near Detroit.

The year 1961 saw the opening of four ski areas scattered across the Midwest. Mt. Crescent, western Iowa near Omaha, is celebrating 60 years this year. Snow Trails, Ohio’s first ski area, opened that same year, and so did Sunburst, in Kewaskum, Wis., near Milwaukee, and Timber Ridge in southern Michigan.

Midwest skiing has a long proud history. It’s developed at a pace with the rest of the country. Heartland ski areas have attitudes and terrain to match, and these nine ski areas and resorts are great examples of the region's diversity. You don’t have to go far to find skiing and riding across this broad region. It’s been around for a few decades.

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