Tubing Is Popular In The Midwest

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The Midwest has around 120 ski areas scattered across the Heartland several offer snow tubing, especially across the lower Midwest. It’s relatively safe, something easy to do yet can be a bit of a thrill ride depending on downhill tilt of the slope.

There are over 40 ski areas offering lift served tubing parks. Minnesota and Wisconsin lead the way with nine each, and all the ski areas in Ohio and Indiana offer tubing. It’s become very popular drawing thousands of tubers on busy weekends.

Here’s a quick tour around the Midwest highlighting some of the top ski area tubing parks.

Ohio’s Boston Mills/Brandywine, located just south of Cleveland, and has the Polar Blast Tubing park, largest in the Buckeye State. It offers, when fully open, 20 tubing lanes with two conveyor belts for easy access back to the top. The tubing park has its own lodge for easy warm up, snacks and drinks. They limit sales, buy your tickets online.

Indiana’s Perfect North Slopes, just a stone throw away from Cincinnati and not far from Indianapolis, offers one of the largest tubing parks in the Heartland. There are 23 lanes, even a couple of super lanes to accommodate families, which plunge 1200 feet down the slope and a couple of conveyor lifts for the trip back up. Weekends can be busy, but it doesn’t deter fun-loving crowds.

Hidden Valley, near St. Louis, has the only tubing park in the Show Me State. The popular Polar Plunge Tubing Park offers 16 lanes with two conveyor lifts back up.

Wilmot Mountain, just a few miles north of Chicago along the Wisconsin border, keeps Windy City tubers busy with the tubing park’s 22 lanes and two conveyor lifts. A lodge is available for snacks, drinks and warm up.

Sunburst Winter Sports Park, between Milwaukee and Sheboygan, has one of the top 10 tubing parks in the country, according to an article in USA Today. They offer 50 lanes and two conveyor lifts to keep the fun moving. A tubing café is available for snacks and drinks.

Near the Twin Cities Buck Hill offers a dozen chutes for tubing with a conveyor lift back up. Wild Mountain, about an hour east, has Wild Chutes, which offers several lanes of sledding fun and a conveyor lift. An extra-wide lane is dedicated to double-wide chains. It’s popular on weekends, but handles crowds well.

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Colder Temperatures Helping Midwest Ski Areas

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The colder winter like temperatures that spilled across the upper Midwest at the beginning of the new year came with an almost audible-like sigh that might have been the sound of snowguns once again firing up at ski areas. Or, it could have been a collective sigh of relief from ski area operators finally seeing the unusually slow start to winter hopefully coming to an end.

Most ski areas have opened in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. In Ohio Boston Mills Brandywine, Mad River Mountain, and Snow Trails are open. Indiana's Perfect North Slopes, the Heartland's southernmost ski area has been open since the holidays, which is a testament to their snowmaking operation. The Hoosier State's other ski area, Paoli Peaks is not open. Illinois has four ski areas, but only Chestnut Mountain is open and operating daily. All three of Iowa's ski areas are open, Both of Missouri's ski areas remained closed at this time, and offer no expected opening date on their web pages. On their Facebook pages they say they are making snow. 

Wisconsin Ski Areas Association has a unique program that 15 of the Badger State's ski areas are participating in, which is called First Tracks Fridays. Experience the joy of hitting pristine slopes early, benefiting from the meticulous grooming and excellent snow conditions at the participating ski areas across the Dairy State. Ski areas participating in First Tracks Friday are also offering unique discounts, exciting prizes, and more for visitors. It's a unique experience, which many western resorts offer, but kind of unheard of in the Midwest.

Chestnut Mountain, Chicago's closest large ski resort with overnight lodging, is offering a Winter Lodging Special$50 off on select weekends in January and February. You almost feel like you can ski right to the edge of the Mississippi River as you fly down the rock bound runs. You start at the top of the ridge where the hotel sits overlooking the river. It's one of the most scenic ski resorts in the Heartland.

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Several New Lifts Added At Midwest Ski Areas

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Four Heartland ski resorts made some significant improvements adding new chairlifts for the coming season. Most were to improve access to already existing areas of the ski hills, and one was to create more area and add new trails.

Michigan's Boyne Mountain will have the Midwest's first eight-seat, high-speed lift in operation this winter for their Disciples Ridge replacing two older slower lifts. It will dramatically change that area. For some time it has offered some of the best terrain on the Mountain from easy to advanced, but it was way under utilized. It wasn't easy to get over there, and the lifts were very slow cutting down on slope time. All of that will change with new access and this new lift. It will be like discovering a whole new area. And, for those who say it's unneeded in the Midwest you know little about Heartland skiing and riding.

Caberfae Peaks, also in Michigan, has added a new triple chair this past summer replacing an old double that only went half way up the ski hill. The new lift will unload on a new third Peak opening up more terrain including a new trail and easier access to their 25-acre backcountry area. It will increase uphill capacity and dramatically decrease the mid-mountain congestion on the popular first Peak terrain.

In Ohio Boston Mills/Brandywine ski area, located between Cleveland and Akron, have replaced a couple of old chairlifts with quad chairlifts that will greatly increase uphill efficiency at both locations. They replaced a double on the Boston Mills slopes and a triple at Brandywine. The two Vail ski areas, which sit across a small valley from each other, operate as one area sharing a driveway entrance. Located approximately five minutes apart by car lift tickets and season passes are valid at both.

Searchmont Mountain has a new main triple chairlift that will be operational this winter, which will greatly enhance their uphill capacity. The 703-foot vertical mountain, located just north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, is popular with Great Lakes skiers and riders from Michigan.

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Female Snowsports Clinics Being Held Across Midwest

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Over the next few weeks, seven Midwest ski areas are hosting women’s ski and snowboard clinics. Three ski areas are located in Minnesota, two in Ohio, and one each in Missouri and South Dakota. A chance to learn a new winter sport or brush up on your technique before a western spring trip, or just enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded women each week during ski season.

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Vail's Eastern Resorts To See New Lifts Next Season

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Vail Resorts' portfolio includes five New England and Middle Atlantic resorts that will see new lifts going up in the next summer's construction season.

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Vail's Midwest Ski Areas Lower Season Pass Rates

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Vail Resorts has announced a 20% decrease in their Epic season passes for the 2021-22 ski season, and that also includes their Epic local passes at all their Midwest ski areas. A little bit of good news for those skiers that like to mainly ski local.

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Require Reservations For Vail Resort's Midwest Ski Areas

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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.

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Combination Midwest Ski Passes Offer A Good Value

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A couple of ski areas near Detroit offer a popular combination season pass that benefits thousands of snowsports enthusiasts in the Motor City. Four popular Ohio ski areas grouped around the Cleveland/Akron metropolis also offer a similar season pass, again benefiting thousands.

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New Season Pass Options For Heartlanders

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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.

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Midwest Passes That Offer Multiple Ski Areas

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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.

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Tubing Is Popular In Midwest

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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.

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Female Ski Clinics Taking Place Across Heartland

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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.

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Midwest Ski Areas Continue To Struggle With Roller Coaster Winter

Midwest Ski Areas Continue To Struggle With Roller Coaster Winter

Boyne Highlands slopes are ready for skiers and riders. (Boyne Highlands)

An up and down weather pattern that has persisted most of the winter across the Heartland and Great Lakes has now caused some ski areas across the lower Midwest to cease operations this week through Thursday. Most are hoping to re-open on Friday.

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Winter Tubing Speeds Across The Nation

Winter Tubing Speeds Across The Nation

Speeding down the track in a tube at Keystone. (Keystone/Facebook)

Ski and snowboard resorts across the country continue to up the ante for activities beyond hitting the slopes – and tubing is a growing staple at many of them.


Tubing centers typically sprout up near the base area and utilizing beginner lifts like conveyors – though there’s a few up on the hill. 
Most have height and age minimums, charge per session (two hours typical), offer group rates, and sometimes require viewing ticket. Often there’s a warming hut with food and drink nearby; lighted, after-dark tubing common.

Keystone puts tubing hill at top of gondola with top-of-the-continent views. Park has six lanes, conveyor lift, and is open after dark during evening ski-snowboard hours.

Tubing at Soda Springs Mountain Resort ramps up to 20 lanes and a 400-ft surface lift. The curious but not brave can buy a pedestrian ticket to watch.

Mt. Hood Skibowl Cosmic Tubing

Highlight at Mount Hood SkiBowl’s tubing park is Cosmic Tubing with lane lighting, laser shows and music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting at 5 p.m. on lift-served kiddie and hike-up extreme hills.

Tubers Summit at Snoqualmie

At Summit at Snoqualmie, tubers’ best option is to buy two-hour tickets in advance online and show up early. Eight-lane tubing hill is 550 feet long with 40-foot drop, located across from Summit Central.

Tubing at Hunter Mountain

Upstate New York’s Hunter Mountain boasts biggest park – 20 chutes 1,000 feet long served by conveyor. Overlapping two-hour sessions up capacity on weekends.

Killington tubing

Another with after-dark tubing is Killington, which runs Fridays and Saturdays (plus holidays) until 7 p.m.

Night owls will love Boston Mills-Brandywine in northeast Ohio. The Polar Blast goes till midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

For Wisconsin’s largest, head to Sunburst Ski Area in Wisconsin, with its 40 lanes and two conveyors.



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Early Women’s Ski Clinics Scheduled Across Heartland

Early Women’s Ski Clinics Scheduled Across Heartland

Boyne Mountain girlfriends are ready for Time Out. (Boyne Mountain)

Women take center stage at several ski areas around the Heartland as five Midwest resorts schedule women’s clinics early January.


Minnesota's Wild Mountain is hosting a women’s snowsports Academy, ages 18 and up, in early January. Snowboarding only, Jan. 3, 6-8 p.m.; skiing only Jan. 6, 7-9 p.m.; both skiing and snowboarding, Jan. 6, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The cost is $99 for each session. Female instructors are ready to work with beginners to experienced skiers and riders on their goals.   

Ohio’s Boston Mills has Women’s Snow Discovery, six lessons spaced over six weeks. Participants enjoy extra slope time after the lesson, and after the lessons are over can ski on the lesson day the rest of the season for free. The lessons, for those aged 21 and up, take place on Tuesday and Wednesday and start in January. Signup deadline is Dec. 15. Cost is $199 for lessons, $299, lessons and lift, and $389, lessons.

Mad River Mountains

Mad River Mountain hosts the Snow Angles Program, an all women ski and ride instructional program for all ability levels every Sunday from noon-3 p.m. Cost is $20 per session including three hours of instruction and afternoon snack. Lift and rental not included.

Boyne Mountain hosts Time Out for women ages 15 and up. Taught by women the program offers individual instruction in a group setting. It takes place Sunday mornings, 10 weeks beginning in January from 10 a.m.-noon. The cost is $236, which does not include lift or equipment.    

Paoli Peaks

Indiana’s Paoli Peaks is hosting a two-day Women’s Clinic, Jan. 7-8, for women ages 18 and up who want to improve ski and snowboard skills with plenty of on-slope time. Cost is $89 for pass holders and $139 for non-holders. Registration deadline is Jan. 2, 2017.



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Plenty Of Equipment Deals, More At Fall Ski Swaps

Ski Swap (Wachusett Mountain)Ski swaps offer a convenient and inexpensive way to fill in your current ski and snowboarding equipment or accessories. It's also a great place to try to sell some items you no longer need or want. 

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Ohio, Indiana Ski Areas Bring On Early Spring With Special Events Starting Feb. 23

Snow Trails Winter CarnivalThree Ohio ski areas, Boston Mills/BrandywineMad River Mountain and Snow Trails, and Perfect North Slopes in southern Indiana are hosting some fun spring events starting Feb. 23 and rolling into March.

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New Joint Pass Covers Four Buckeye Ski Areas

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It’s a new concept for lower Midwest ski areas, which has been used by ski areas farther north in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan’s UP. It’s a boon for Buckeye skiers and riders.

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Ohio Resorts Offer Incentives To Entice Buckeye Skiers

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Typically Buckeye skiers and riders have about a month left to get out on Ohio’s slopes. Ohio ski resorts are offering numerous incentives right now to get out and enjoy some of the best conditions of the season.

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Ohio Rail Jams, Olympian Louie Vito Coming To Mad River Mountain Dec. 29

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Snowboarders in Lower Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, now’s your chance to ride with an Olympian. Louie Vito, Olympian and 2012 overall champion of the U. S. Grand Prix and Dew Cup, is coming to Ohio’s Mad River Mountain for his annual rail jam Saturday, Dec. 29. It’s one of the largest rail jams in the Heartland.

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