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.
Ontario's Searchmont Resort announced on its website that they “have made the decision not to begin regular snowmaking this season due to significant cost and variable surrounding the Coronavirus.” They have also delayed season pass sales as well, also attributed to the Coronavirus.
Wild Mountain, about an hour northeast of the Twin Cities along the Minnesota/Wisconsin border, has opened the Front Stage terrain park with four to six terrain park features and rope tow uphill access.
Crystal Mountain is Michigan's first ski resort to give up metal wickets and sticky paper for chairlift access with the installation of a radio frequency identification device (RFID) ticketing and gate system.
Wild Mountain, which Dennis Raedeke opened in 1972, will be under new ownership this coming season. The sale was completed this past summer. The ski area was most recently under co-ownership of Raedeke's children, Amy Frischmon and Dan Raedeke.
The derelict Sugar Loaf Resort near Traverse City, MI, once one of the top ski resorts in the Wolverine State, was sold in 2017 to Jeff Katofsky, President of J. D. Market Acquisitions. The once-popular resort was shuttered in 2000 after the ski season and has fallen into disarray.
The abrupt end to the ski season, amid all the confusion, has prompted some Midwestern ski areas and resorts to push back the deadline for securing next season's annual pass at the best price point. Some have pushed the deadline to the end of this month, and others have pushed it back even further.
Indiana's Perfect North Slopes acquired West Virginia's Timberline Four Seasons Resort at an auction in November last year with a bid of $2.2 million. Timberline had filed for bankruptcy earlier last year when it abruptly closed for the 1918/19 season at the end of February. At the time Perfect North said they planned on having it open next season with substantial improvements.
The old Telemark Resort, near Cable, Wisconsin, hasn’t been open for winter activities for 20 years, and the lodge since 2013. A Florida based hospitality group had planned to reopen the shuttered resort, but the plans fell through.