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.
Love is on the slopes. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but why not consider the whole month of February for a romantic getaway with a little skiing and riding mixed in. Here are some of the best choices around the Great Lakes.
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.
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.
Wilmot Mountain in the early days. (Wilmot/Facebook)
Aspen Snowmass in a sweet spot this week. (Jordan Curet)
The Eastern United States will see it all this week from snow and cold to warmth and rain. The West will be consistently snowy, especially across the Rockies.
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.
Join pro skier Lisa Densmore at Boyne Highlands. (Boyne Highlands)
Over the next few weeks eight Midwest ski areas are hosting women’s ski and snowboard clinics. Two ski areas are located in Michigan, two in Indiana, and one each in Ohio, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.
North America's largest resort Whistler Blackcomb is now owned by Vail. (Whistler Blackcomb/Facebook)
Consolidation of ownership, ticketing and even between mountains highlighted the winter resort news of 2016 – all giving skiers and riders more bang for their buck.
Crystal Mountain Inn at the Mountain expansion taking place. (Crystal Mountain)
Despite the warm winter across the Midwest last season that negatively impacted the ski season a half-dozen ski resorts are completing major projects for the 2016/17 winter season. Four are located in Michigan and one each in Ohio and Wisconsin.
Vail Resorts, which purchased Wilmot Mountain, located between Chicago and Milwaukee, in January, has announced that they will spend $13 million to completely transform the guest experience at one of the nation’s oldest ski areas. The ski area first opened in 1938.
Vail Resorts has added Wilmot Mountain, along the Wisconsin border between Chicago and Milwaukee, to its stable of recent Midwest urban ski area acquisitions; Afton Alps, near the Twin Cities, and Mt. Brighton, near Detroit.
Wisconsin ski areas were busy this past summer enhancing the experience for guests this coming season. Snowmaking upgrades topped the improvement lists, but there were also terrain park expansions, new runs, new lifts and improved beginner areas.
Little Switzerland has added a new high-speed rope tow in their terrain parks and expanded both their large and small parks. They also cleared a new trail called Easy Cheesey, which will be the easiest way down the hill. Snowmaking capacity was increased with the addition new fan guns.
Nordic Mountain, always one of the first to be fully open in the Badger State, once again added more snowmaking firepower and cleared a new winding, intermediate run called MeNords. They feel it will become one of their most popular once discovered.
Camp 10 increase both the capacity and efficiency of their snowmaking system, which they feel will allow them to open earlier in the season.
Alpine Valley, in the southern part of the state, tripled the size of the beginner area complete with four magic carpet lifts and added a new chairlift on their First Adventure beginner run.
Wilmot Valley, added over 5,000 feet of new high-pressure pipe and two new snow blowers between chairlifts 3 and 8 to increase and improve snowmaking efforts. They also added new LED lighting on five of their runs, overhauled chairlifts, and spruced up the day lodge.
Tyrol Basin improved their beginner terrain and added a new magic carpet lift for the upcoming season.
Sunburst’s Tubing Park was named as one of the Top 10 Tubing destinations in the nation recently by USA Today. They offer 42 lanes, two magic carpet lifts and speeds up to 42 mph cruising down the hill. Hold your breath.
Photos: Top -- Tyrol Basin made summer improvements (Tyrol Basin/Facebook); Right -- Alpine Valley triples beginner area (Alpine Valley/Facebook); Below -- Little Switzerland adds fan guns, new trail (Little Switzerland/Facebook).
The popular Skiing Wisconsin coupon book is still available in limited numbers and can be ordered online for $125. There are only about 280 left at press time, and the ski season isn’t far away. It’s perfect for the skier or rider that likes to visit numerous areas.
One of Wilmot Mountain’s most popular chairlifts, aka Chair 5, was down for much of last season much to the chagrin of its many patrons, but there’s some good news.
Wisconsin ski resorts are getting into the spring spirit this month with lots of events and lift and lodging packages. It’s a great month to get out and enjoy the slopes with presumably a little warmth finally in the air after the bitterly cold winter.
Wisconsin ski areas are offering midweek incentives to entice Badger State skiers and riders to the slopes and conditions couldn’t be better.