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.
A couple of ski areas near Detroit offer a popular combination season pass that benefits thousands of snowsports enthusiasts in the Motor City. Four popular Ohio ski areas grouped around the Cleveland/Akron metropolis also offer a similar season pass, again benefiting thousands.
For Midwestern skiers that like to get in a lot of slope time around the country outside the Heartland, a few new options are available for this season.
It’s the time of year when many consider ski pass purchases for next season. If you are happy skiing your favorite area only and not interested in passes offering multiple options, read no further. There are a few a few options for Heartland skiers that like to ski many areas over the winter, and three of the alternatives offer options for those that like to take a winter trip or three to the mountains.
The Midwest has 116 ski areas scattered across the Heartland and just under half of them offer snow tubing, especially across the lower Midwest. It’s relatively safe, and something easy to do. Just sit and let gravity do the work.
Several ski areas located near Midwest major cities are hosting female ski clinics over the next month. Enjoy that slope time even more with improved form and confidence.
Boyne Highlands slopes are ready for skiers and riders. (Boyne Highlands)
An up and down weather pattern that has persisted most of the winter across the Heartland and Great Lakes has now caused some ski areas across the lower Midwest to cease operations this week through Thursday. Most are hoping to re-open on Friday.
Speeding down the track in a tube at Keystone. (Keystone/Facebook)
Ski and snowboard resorts across the country continue to up the ante for activities beyond hitting the slopes – and tubing is a growing staple at many of them.
Tubing centers typically sprout up near the base area and utilizing beginner lifts like conveyors – though there’s a few up on the hill.
Most have height and age minimums, charge per session (two hours typical), offer group rates, and sometimes require viewing ticket. Often there’s a warming hut with food and drink nearby; lighted, after-dark tubing common.
Keystone puts tubing hill at top of gondola with top-of-the-continent views. Park has six lanes, conveyor lift, and is open after dark during evening ski-snowboard hours.
Tubing at Soda Springs Mountain Resort ramps up to 20 lanes and a 400-ft surface lift. The curious but not brave can buy a pedestrian ticket to watch.
Highlight at Mount Hood SkiBowl’s tubing park is Cosmic Tubing with lane lighting, laser shows and music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting at 5 p.m. on lift-served kiddie and hike-up extreme hills.
At Summit at Snoqualmie, tubers’ best option is to buy two-hour tickets in advance online and show up early. Eight-lane tubing hill is 550 feet long with 40-foot drop, located across from Summit Central.
Upstate New York’s Hunter Mountain boasts biggest park – 20 chutes 1,000 feet long served by conveyor. Overlapping two-hour sessions up capacity on weekends.
Another with after-dark tubing is Killington, which runs Fridays and Saturdays (plus holidays) until 7 p.m.
Night owls will love Boston Mills-Brandywine in northeast Ohio. The Polar Blast goes till midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
For Wisconsin’s largest, head to Sunburst Ski Area in Wisconsin, with its 40 lanes and two conveyors.
Boyne Mountain girlfriends are ready for Time Out. (Boyne Mountain)
Women take center stage at several ski areas around the Heartland as five Midwest resorts schedule women’s clinics early January.
Minnesota's Wild Mountain is hosting a women’s snowsports Academy, ages 18 and up, in early January. Snowboarding only, Jan. 3, 6-8 p.m.; skiing only Jan. 6, 7-9 p.m.; both skiing and snowboarding, Jan. 6, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The cost is $99 for each session. Female instructors are ready to work with beginners to experienced skiers and riders on their goals.
Ohio’s Boston Mills has Women’s Snow Discovery, six lessons spaced over six weeks. Participants enjoy extra slope time after the lesson, and after the lessons are over can ski on the lesson day the rest of the season for free. The lessons, for those aged 21 and up, take place on Tuesday and Wednesday and start in January. Signup deadline is Dec. 15. Cost is $199 for lessons, $299, lessons and lift, and $389, lessons.
Mad River Mountain hosts the Snow Angles Program, an all women ski and ride instructional program for all ability levels every Sunday from noon-3 p.m. Cost is $20 per session including three hours of instruction and afternoon snack. Lift and rental not included.
Boyne Mountain hosts Time Out for women ages 15 and up. Taught by women the program offers individual instruction in a group setting. It takes place Sunday mornings, 10 weeks beginning in January from 10 a.m.-noon. The cost is $236, which does not include lift or equipment.
Indiana’s Paoli Peaks is hosting a two-day Women’s Clinic, Jan. 7-8, for women ages 18 and up who want to improve ski and snowboard skills with plenty of on-slope time. Cost is $89 for pass holders and $139 for non-holders. Registration deadline is Jan. 2, 2017.
Ski swaps offer a convenient and inexpensive way to fill in your current ski and snowboarding equipment or accessories. It's also a great place to try to sell some items you no longer need or want.
It’s a new concept for lower Midwest ski areas, which has been used by ski areas farther north in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan’s UP. It’s a boon for Buckeye skiers and riders.
Typically Buckeye skiers and riders have about a month left to get out on Ohio’s slopes. Ohio ski resorts are offering numerous incentives right now to get out and enjoy some of the best conditions of the season.
Snowboarders in Lower Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, now’s your chance to ride with an Olympian. Louie Vito, Olympian and 2012 overall champion of the U. S. Grand Prix and Dew Cup, is coming to Ohio’s Mad River Mountain for his annual rail jam Saturday, Dec. 29. It’s one of the largest rail jams in the Heartland.