The 2018-19 winter is off to a great start all across the Midwest. Most ski areas across the upper tier of the Heartland and around the Great Lakes opened in November, and the rest across the Lower Midwest, Ohio, Indiana and Missouri, opened this past weekend or scheduled to open next weekend.
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.
Winter has arrived across the upper Midwest. Many ski areas and resorts are opening this weekend, and Thanksgiving Weekend also looks good if you want to get away for that first ski trip of the new season.
Lou Batori, the oldest known skier, takes a run down Crystal Mountain slopes last year at 106 years old. (Crystal Mountain)
Getting older carries with it some pretty special benefits if you’re a skier or snowboarder. There are 15 resorts scattered across the Midwest that allows seniors to ski or ride free at a certain age.
Female skiers and snowboarders will soon take center stage at three Minnesota resorts. The clinics will get you on course for the rest of the season, and one clinic will host a wine and cheese afterwards.
Minnesota’s ski season is underway with several ski areas already open. The Gopher State has fared better in the weather pool than other Great Lakes state, especially those on the east side of Lake Michigan. Here’s a rundown on what’s new at ski resorts that have made improvements.
A series of beginner and advance lessons take place at Welch Village, and snowboard camps are scheduled at Buck Hill, Afton Alps and Wild Mountain throughout the month of February. It’s a great chance for Twin City skiers and snowboarders to sharpen their skills.
A couple of Midwest old time ski areas that have aged well turn 50 this season. Big Powderhorn, Michigan’s UP, and Welch Village, located in the deep river valleys southeast of the Twin Cities celebrate the Big 5-0.
The Twin Cities Independent Ski Areas Association and MnSNO recently combined to form the Minnesota Ski Areas Association. This new group will champion Minnesota’s spread out ski areas that account for 24 percent of the winter tourism economy.
Conditions are some of the best the Heartland has seen in the last few years, and Minnesota ski areas are enticing skiers and riders with some sweet lift ticket deals to get out and enjoy the great snow.
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.
Many ski resorts across the Midwest were able to open this past weekend, even as far south as southern Indiana where Perfect North Slopes was open.
It may be the middle of August during one of the hottest Heartland summers on record, but several of the region’s ski areas are currently offering their best season pass deals for the 2012/13 season.