January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard month, and throughout the Midwest ski areas are offering discounted lesson programs. Michigan offers the only statewide program, which is available at ski areas throughout the Wolverine State. None of the other Heartland state associations offer a statewide program for easy access, cost, and simplicity. The nice thing is that if you live near either one of Michigan's peninsulas you can cross the border and enroll in a ski area near you.
The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) and Minnesota Ski Areas Association offer passport programs that allow elementary-age kids to give skiing and snowboarding a try for free. In Michigan, it covers both fourth and fifth graders. Minnesota’s program covers just fourth graders. Surprisingly Wisconsin, the Heartland state just behind Michigan for a number of ski areas doesn't offer such a program.
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.
Michigan snowboarder David Zemens and friend Sabato Caputo have set a new North American record for snowboarding the most ski areas in a 24-hour period. They were able to hit 16 ski areas starting Friday evening, Jan. 11 in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula and ending Saturday evening on Jan. 12 near Detroit.
January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. Throughout the Midwest ski areas are offering discounted lesson programs. Michigan offers one of the best programs for cost and simplicity, and it’s available at ski areas throughout the Wolverine State.
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.
The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) is offering a White Gold Card that allows you to ski or snowboard a full day at 33 Michigan ski areas, and Skiing Wisconsin offers a coupon book allowing you a day at 17 participating Badger State ski areas. It keeps your lift ticket cost for the day to around $8.
The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) and Minnesota Ski Areas Association offer passport programs allowing elementary age kids the chance to try skiing and snowboarding for free. In Michigan it covers both fourth and fifth graders, and Minnesota’s program covers fourth graders.
When visiting a ski resort for the first time, most people check out the trail map to plan their day. But whereas 30 years ago it was a paper map, today it is likely to be on a smartphone or computer.
Ski Girl's Rock on Afton Alps' slopes. (Afton Alps/Facebook)
Over the next few weeks seven Midwest ski areas are hosting women’s ski and snowboard clinics. Two ski areas are located in Indiana, and one each in Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.
Crystal Mountain kids in lesson. (Crystal Mountain)
Many state and industry programs are offered throughout the west and east allowing elementary age kids the chance to give skiing and snowboarding a try throughout the winter. The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) offers one of the best in my opinion. It’s the only statewide program I could find being offered in the Midwest.
While this winter’s great season is still underway at a few resorts across the upper Midwest, now is the time to be thinking about your 2014/15 season pass. Some Heartland ski areas are currently offering their best prices of the year for a limited time. Many of these price incentives end this month.
Many season passes add extra value through discounted rentals, food, ski shop apparel, and other perks, but several Heartland season passes also include alliances with western and eastern ski resorts. Check them out. There are some good benefits if you’re planning a ski vacation outside the Midwest this winter.
Vail Resorts purchased two Midwest ski areas, Michigan’s Mt. Brighton and Afton Alps in Minnesota last winter, promising $10 million in improvements for each area during the off season, and it looks like they are on schedule.
Vail Resorts’ officials have announced the company is pumping a record $130 million to $140 million in capital improvements into eight of its nine ski resorts in four states.
Vail Resorts announced Thursday they are expanding into the Heartland with the purchase of Afton Alps, near the Twin Cities, and Mt. Brighton near Detroit. The news caught many Midwest ski industry people by surprise.