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March Means Longer Daylight Hours And Spring Carnivals

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Spring is in the air across the Heartland, which means softer temperatures and longer daylight hours to enjoy the slopes. Many ski areas celebrate the season with spring carnivals. SnoCountry takes a look at some of the best upcoming this month.

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Long Time Upper Michigan Ski Area Under New Ownership

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A longtime mainstay among Midwest ski areas, Marquette Mountain, in Michigan's UP, has been sold to Wisconsin industrialist Eric Jorgensen, whose company, JX Enterprises, serves the truck transportation industry around the Great Lakes.

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Insiders Guide: Mad River Mountain

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Mad River Mountain is a scenic Ohio ski area that offers a nice variety of trails and plenty of uphill capacity spread out over 300 acres. Winding down narrow wooded trails looking out across the valley below, you could almost imagine that you were in Vermont complete with fencerows, dairy herds, rustic red barns, and silos. With nearby lodging in Marysville, it makes a nice quick weekend getaway for thousands of snowsports enthusiasts from Dayton, Lima, and Columbus, Ohio, as well as from Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, Indiana.

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Several Heartland Female Ski Clinics Through February

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Over the next few weeks six Midwest ski areas are hosting women’s ski and snowboard clinics. It's a great chance to brush up before heading west on your spring trip.

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Some Of The Midwest Best For Spring Break Family Getaways

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Family-friendly terrain, teaching programs, and a good variety of advanced and expert terrain. Here's a half-dozen of the top family resorts in the Heartland that will keep a family of differing abilities happy for a spring break getaway.

 

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Treetops Offers Some Unusual Winter Outings For The Heartland

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All Midwest resorts offer a good array of trails, lifts and your more common winter outings like cross country skiing and snowshoeing. A few offer fat tire winter biking, but if you really want some unusual choices for a neat winter experience check out Michigan's Treetops Resort.

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North Dakota Ski Area Gets New Life

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North Dakota has only three operating ski areas and all are located more in the center of the state and not along the more populated eastern border with Minnesota. Bottineau Winter Park is located along the Canadian border and Huff Hills Ski Area is near Mandan along the western slope of the Missouri River. Frostfire is located north of Fargo on the Canadian border. Fort Ransom's Bear Den Mountain, located south of Fargo, had closed several years ago.

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Fat Tire Winter Biking Popular At Some Midwest Resorts

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Fat tire winter biking, an option at some resorts in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula and northern Minnesota, also now offers rentals and one even lift service. Check it out.

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Insiders Guide: Perfect North Slopes

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Perfect North Slopes, located in southern Indiana along the Kentucky border a stone's throw away from Cincinnati, is a lower Midwest ski area that has more in common with its northern brethren in Michigan.

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Take Amtrak From Midwest To Whitefish For A Great Ski Trip

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Heartland snowsports enthusiasts can climb aboard Amtrak’s Empire Builder for an easy, scenic ride to Whitefish Mountain Resort. There are several places you can board the train. It leaves Chicago’s Union Station with stops in Milwaukee, the Twin Cities, and several other boarding locations across North Dakota and eastern Montana before arriving at Whitefish. When you book early, at least 7-14 days in advance, you can save 20-percent on your fare.

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Learning To Ski And Snowboard In Michigan Is Easy

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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.

 

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Skiing And Gaming In The Black Hills; A Heartland Package

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Heartland snow sports enthusiasts don’t have to fly to Lake Tahoe to mix a little gaming and skiing or enjoy the enticing lodging packages that you find there because of the casinos. Just head to Terry Peak and South Dakota’s famed Black Hills.

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A Couple of Midwest Ski Associations Offer Savings On Lift Tickets

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What skier or snowboarder isn't looking for a way to save a buck or two on a daily lift ticket?

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Insiders Guide: Crystal Mountain

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Crystal Mountain may not be the biggest Midwest ski resort in terms of vertical, but they more than make up for that with great trails, terrain parks, numerous glades, and one of the best teaching areas around the Great Lakes.

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Three Midwest Ski Areas Hit Milestones This Season

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Three old-time Midwest ski areas that have aged well join the “baby boomer” generation. Turning 55 this season are Big Powderhorn, Michigan’s UP, and Welch Village, located in the deep river valleys southeast of the Twin Cities. Chestnut Mountain, the senior member of the group, turns 60 this season.

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Two Midwest States Offer Grade School Passports

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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.

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Perfect North Slopes Acquires Timberline Four Season Resort

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Indiana's Perfect North Slopes is expanding its territory with the acquisition of West Virginia's Timberline Four Seasons Resort. It was purchased at an auction on November 20 with a bid of $2.2 million. Timberline had filed for bankruptcy earlier in the year when it abruptly closed for the 1918/19 season at the end of February.

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Montana Ski Resort Openings And Lift Ticket Specials

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Montana ski areas are opening over the next couple of weeks, and lift ticket deals are still available at several of them. Frequent skier cards, packs and punch cards can substantially help lower daily lift ticket costs. Check out early season specials and what's new around the state.

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Wisconsin's Tyrol Basin Is Expanding

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Tyrol Basin, located in the Wisconsin hill country southwest of the State Capital, went through an ownership change last season when new owner Nathan McGee bought the ski area in 2018. One of the older ski areas in the Badger State it first opened in 1958. Tyrol was also one of the first ski areas in the state to enthusiastically welcome snowboarders and is still considered one of the top places to ride.

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Insiders Guide: Boyne Highlands Resort

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Boyne Highlands' classic three-story hotel with its vine-covered alpine motif and ski hill rising behind the roofline is arguably one of the most iconic views among Heartland ski resorts. Rising over 550 feet, the largest vertical in Lower Michigan. An upgrade, transforming the iconic lodge into an upscale, luxury hotel is taking place in four phases with the first phase beginning this winter. When complete 85 newly furnished rooms and suites should be ready for next season.

Eats

The resort’s Saturday night Aonach Mor Moonlight Dinner held during January and February is a must; a sleigh ride up to the North Peak Lodge, elegantly set and a gourmet dinner with strolling minstrels tops off the evening. The popular dinner is being held nightly Dec. 26-30 and Jan. 1 and 4.The hotel dining room is one of the best in the Harbor Springs area. Overlooking the lit slopes is your “eye candy” for the meal. Teddy Griffin’s Roadhouse, just down the road, is a popular offsite restaurant.

Stay

The best place to stay is the hotel; the high-speed lift is right outside the door to the slopes. Two more nearby options: The Bartley House, a longtime family favorite, is home to the largest hot tub in the Midwest; the Heather Highlands Inn, just a short stroll from the main lodge, also offers hotel rooms and condominium suites.

Trails

The ski hill offers 55 runs, some over a mile long, four terrain parks, numerous glades, and eight lifts, including a high-speed quad. This classic Midwest ridge, bent and folded by the last retreating glacier, offers a visual distinctiveness with varied slopes and contours that are rare for the Heartland. It’s one of few resorts around the Great Lakes where you really need a trail map. The secluded North Face runs feel like a separate ski area. The front face offers over a dozen black-star slopes, one double-black and plenty of long cruising runs in between. Beginners have their own area and chairlift plus a magi-carpet.

Deals

Midweek three-night packages start from $98 per person, per night and include lift tickets and a hot buffet breakfast each morning. They are available all season long excluding holidays.

For Fun

When I first started visiting the resort years ago skiing was about the only reason you went. Today there are many other activities to enjoy. You can try the multiple-stage zipline tour, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, fat tire biking, horseback riding, and tubing in addition to skiing and riding.

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