Longer days, warming temperatures, and still plenty of snow along Lake Superior in Minnesota's Arrowhead. It's the perfect recipe for a spring Indy Pass road trip to two of the Heartland's larger ski areas, especially in vertical drop. The scenery from the slopes of Spirit Mountain and Lutsen Mountains is some of the best you will find around the Great Lakes.
Crystal Mountain Resort debuted the Wolverine State's first snowboard pump track this past month, and it may well be the first in the Heartland. It's a trend that first started out west in Utah and Colorado where a few pump tracks have appeared. In the Midwest it's been a popular concept in mountain biking and skateboarding, but not snowsports.
A unique Indy Pass road trip in the upper Midwest would be to combine a trip visiting northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula for skiing at three of the Heartland's larger ski resorts; Granite Peak, Pine Mountain, and Big Powderhorn.
Lower Midwest ski areas in Indiana and Missouri attract southern skiers from Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama.
With Valentine’s Day and President's Day weekend falling at the same time it may be a busy time on Heartland slopes. Many resorts may be sold out. Consider the whole month of February for a romantic getaway with some slope time.
The holidays were busy at ski areas across the Midwest from the Black Hills to the Great Lakes with many hitting capacities. Most expect the same experience to occur over the upcoming Martin Luther King (MLK) weekend this month and with a combination of Valentine's and President's Day weekend next month. Plan ahead for lift tickets.
All Midwest resorts offer an array of trails, lifts, and your more common winter outings like cross country skiing, snowshoeing and fat-tire winter biking. If you are looking for a little more unusual winter experience check out a couple of new offerings at Michigan's Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain.
Holiday celebrations will be much different this winter at ski resorts across the upper tier of the Midwest, and some may not have anything at all. The one constant is that if you have a room or condo at the resort you will be able to ski and celebrate with the household unit you arrive with.
Indications around Midwest ski areas are that it's going to be a busy winter on the slopes. Both the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) White Gold Card and the Skiing Wisconsin coupon book that provided a discount coupon for lift tickets to the majority of the ski areas within the states have already sold out in record time. As previously reported lift ticket reservations are already filling up for holiday weekends.
Downhill skiing is a lifelong sport, and a couple of Midwest ski associations understand the importance of getting kids on skis at an early age. It's good for the kids and helps increase family time during the winter when they can ski together, enjoy the season, and stay healthy outside together.
One thing seems certain, among the many new restrictions that will be in place at ski resorts around northern Michigan, get used to and be prepared to spend a lot more time outside. Time in lodges will be very limited.
Most Heartland ski areas and resorts are not planning on requiring reservations for daily access to the slopes, but are saying if you wait you may run into sold-out periods. Season pass holders will have priority access through reservations.