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Three Midwest Ski Areas Hit Milestones This Season
Three old-time Midwest ski areas that have aged well join the “baby boomer” generation. Turning 55 this season are Big Powderhorn, Michigan’s UP, and Welch Village, located in the deep river valleys southeast of the Twin Cities. Chestnut Mountain, the senior member of the group, turns 60 this season.
Chestnut, perched on high bluffs overlooking the scenic Mississippi River near Galena, Ill., arguably offers some of the best skiing and riding found in the Lower Midwest. You can see three states from the upside-down resort. The hotel is perched on top and the ski runs, cut through rocky bluffs, lead down to the river. It offers a 475-foot vertical and 19 runs serviced by six chairlifts and three surface tows. The separate 17-acre Farside Terrain Park, one of the largest in the Heartland, has its own chairlift. The beginner slopes also with its own chair are located on top offering spectacular views and easy slopes.
In honor of the anniversary, Chestnut is offering a 20-percent discount on ski and lodging packages booked ahead for the weekends of January 24-25, January 31-February 1, and February 7-8, 2020. Dinner in the Sunset Grille located in the hotel overlooking the lit slopes and Mississippi River valley is a treat
Powderhorn, located on the UP’s western fringe in Big Snow Country, offers 33 ski trails, two terrain parks, nine lifts, and an impressive 622-foot vertical drop. It has a “big” mountain feel and is one of few Midwest areas where a trail map comes in handy. The resort village feels like a Western-style community spread out around the base of the ski area with complimentary shuttle service. A beautiful new day-lodge was recently erected replacing an older lodge that burned. Powderhorn lodging guests receive a discount on daily lift tickets.
The popular Welch Village offers 50 trails, six terrain parks, a 360-foot vertical, nine chairlifts, and two surface tows. Two chalets are available for tickets, food service, lockers, gear and equipment, and the popular MADD JAXX Bar and Grill is located in the East Chalet. There’s a variety of runs available for all levels, terrain parks and some of the best-advanced runs found near the Twin Cities, even a few double-black diamonds. Welch even has a backside, almost unheard of in the Midwest, and it offers a formidable collection of single black and double black runs with its own chairlift. The ski area stays open until 9 p.m. weekdays, 10 p.m. weekends, and you can save $10 on daily lift tickets purchased after 3 p.m.