Few Midwest Ski Areas Remain Open Into April


It's been a challenging season for Midwest ski areas with below average snowfall and above average temperatures throughout much of the winter. Many of the smaller areas struggled to open by late December, and all of the ski areas in the lower Heartland have already closed for the season. Only seven ski resorts around the Great Lakes are planning to stay open until April 1, which means they will be open for Easter weekend. Only two plan on skiing into April. In some years a few have skied into the month of May.

Lutsen Mountains, located along Lake Superior's north shore in Minnesota, plans on remaining open daily through April 7, and they guarantee having at least 40 runs open into April. If they cannot meet that goal of 40 or more runs open, you may cancel your reservation without any obligation. That's more than many Heartland ski areas offer when they are fully open, and make no mistake about it, this is mountain skiing. They will be holding their annual Easter egg hunt on the slopes. Save up to 40-percent on lift and lodging through the remainder of the season. They often ski on weekends through the month of April.

In Michigan five ski resorts, three in the lower peninsula and two in the upper peninsula plan to remain open through April 1.

Crystal Mountain is offering some nice Spring Break packages March 22-April1 when you can enjoy lodging rates starting from $101, and all kids 17 and under ski and stay free with ski packages. They have a full day of activities planned for Easter on the Mountain on March 30.

Boyne Mountain has a full line-up of activities to keep everyone happy and entertained through Easter weekend, and the infamous Hemlock Open is slated to take place Saturday April 6 when teams compete skiing in the morning and play golf in the afternoon. Some years this has taken place in early May.

Nubs Nob in Michigan's LP and Snowriver Mountain Resort both plan on staying open through April 1. Snowriver is offering up to 50-percent off lodging through the rest of this month and kids ski, stay and eat free.

Ski Brule plans on staying open daily Thursday through Sunday the rest of this month. Their infamous Brule Bash takes place this coming weekend with half price lift tickets when you ski or ride in full costume. The costume contest winner receives a 2024/25 season pass. They plan on staying open into April.

Granite Peak is the only Wisconsin ski resort remaining open into April. They plan on holding their annual Pond Skim on March 30, and their annual Cardboard Cup, a fun event to watch, takes place on April 6.

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Heavy March Storms Prompt Resorts To Stay Open Longer


It's been a schizophrenic ski and snowboard season in the West, starting with a scratchy Christmas and meager January, but finishing up with mega-dumps into late March.

While storms arrived off the Pacific Ocean as usual this winter, above-freezing temps produced more rain than snow at many resorts that typically get inundated in December and January.

However, temperatures dipped in mid-winter, the storm cycle settled in, and some remarkably intense winter weather dropped near-record amounts. As a result, a number of resorts in the West have announced extensions to their seasons as the snow just keeps on coming in the Sierra, Cascades and Rockies.

Mt. Hood Meadows' 2,100 acres got lots late this season. The Oregon resort is approaching its average of 430 inches per season and has decided to run daily to April 28, then weekends until May 18. All terrain is expected to stay open until May 5; thereafter, fewer trails will be open, and lifts will run to 2:30 p.m.

Also in the Pacific Northwest, Washington's Crystal Mountain will run daily until April 14 -- as planned -- but add two weekends April 19-21 and 26-28 to finish off the season. Only intermediate and advanced terrain will be open, with limited lift operations and no lessons.

North of Lake Tahoe in California, Sugar Bowl now has nearly 15 feet at its summit following the latest storm cycle. That was plenty for mountain management to add three weeks to the season through April 28. And, both China Peak and Kirkwood have extended to April 28.

In Utah, Brian Head was the first to announce a season extensions. Once storms started sagging to the south, Utah's southernmost ski and snowboard mountain got hammered. Consequently, all lifts will keep spinning at Brian Head until May 5 -- with a hint from management that they might go beyond that.

Utah's Wasatch Range always seems to get lots of snow, be it El Nińo or La Nińa. On the eastern front, Deer Valley has added another week of skiing and riding to its calendar, ending on April 21. The skiing-only resort totaled 320 inches of snowfall so far, just a bit above average.

And Park City Mountain had decided that they have enough snow to keep spinning lifts. Mountain management announced that one of the nation's largest resorts will stay open another eight days to April 22.

Over in Colorado, Steamboat seemed to be immune to the lethargy of early-season storms, and then catching plenty in the later months. Some 340 inches fell this season, enough to add a week to the resort's operations calendar to April. 21.

And farther south, despite no snowmaking, Monarch Mountain was the beneficiary of multiple March storms to build up enough base to stay open an extra week to March 14.

-- This article will be updated if more extensions are announced.




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Think Midwest For Spring Break Family Getaways


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

Lutsen Mountains, largest ski resort around the Great Lakes with over an 800-foot vertical drop, offers 95 runs that tumble down four interconnected mountains serviced by eight lifts including a six-seat, high-speed lift and a gondola allowing the whole family to ride together. Save up to 40-percent on lodging packages through the rest of this year. With accumulated snow and longer days spring skiing doesn't get much better, and Lutsen guarantees at least 40 runs open into April. That's more runs than many Midwest ski areas offer when fully open.

Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands, located a little over a half-hour apart, offers an interchangeable lift pass good at both resorts. Between the two there are well over 100 runs to explore, some up to a mile in length; 11 terrain parks; and 18 lifts. Other activities include winter horseback rides, multiple zipline courses at both resorts, cross country trails, and the Avalanche Indoor Waterpark at the Mountain. Save up to 20-percent off on lift tickets when you book online with Boyne. The earlier you book the more you will save.

Crystal Mountain, one of the top family resorts in the nation, according to Parent's magazine, offers 58 runs, glades, three terrain parks, eight lifts, cross country trails and fat tire biking. The compact village puts lifts, ski school, condos and restaurants within an easy, five-minute walk. Crystal offers 25-percent off on selected dates through March, which includes most week days, and kids 17 and under sleep free all the time when with parents, and ski free Sunday through Thursday. Mardi Gras at the Mountain takes place Saturday, March 2.

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Washington State Resorts Bring Modest Upgrades To New Season


Late to the party, Pacific storms have finally unleashed their wintertime largess on the Pacific Northwest this season -- and Washington's skiers and riders can't wait.

When they head up to the mountains, they will find couple of new chairlifts, a few more eating spots, streamlined ticketing and a bit more parking.

At Alpental -- the big brother of four-mountain Summit at Snoqualmie complex -- a replacement triple goes in on the beginner hill. It upgrades the Sessel chair, one of the older double chairs (1967) in the state. While it's expected to have minimal effect this season, plans call for a new lift to link the top of Sessel to the upper mountain.

Trying to unclog weekend and holiday lift lines, Alpental also added chairs to the workhorse Armstrong high-speed quad. All are part of a master plan to freshen up an aging lift system. Elsewhere at Snoqualmie, the magic carpet at the base of Summit Central got an upgrade, as did night lighting.

Over at Stevens Pass, another old double is out. The 63-year-old Kehr's chair has been replaced by a new fixed-grip quad to make it easier to connect to the Double Diamond chair and Big Chief Bowl. Also at the Seattle-area favorite are dedicated carpool parking in two lots.

The state's largest hill, Crystal Mountain has put in a mid-mountain yurt at the base of the Rainier Express -- the second on-hill eatery on Crystal's 2,600-acre expanse. RFID ticket access has been expanded on the mountain. And down below, management keeps trying to mitigate crowding with new lot shuttles, more RV overnight slots, and expanded bus service from Enumclaw.

About halfway between Seattle and Spokane sits Mission Ridge, a top-rated learning mountain on the eastern slope of Cascades. This season, Lift 4 got a mechanical upgrades, as did night lighting. These modest improvements are the beginning of what is planned to be a major expansion at Mission Ridge.

In other upgrade news, White Pass now required RFID ticketing for all. And, Mt. Spokane now has a rustic taphouse at the top of the hill.

And good news from the Olympic Peninsula: local hill Hurricane Ridge will reopen this season after a fire destroyed its base lodge two seasons ago. It's basic-basic for visitors to the hill withing the Olympic National Park: Temporary bathrooms and "contact station," use cars for warming and pack food. No potable water, food, or rentals right now.


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Midwest Ski Area Holiday Celebrations


Despite the uneven start of winter across the Heartland you can count on holiday celebrations and skiing these ski resorts around the upper Great Lakes.

Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands will be celebrating the sights and sounds of the holidays through January 1 with lots of planned activities, and New Year’s Eve dinners, live bands and celebrations capped with fireworks over the ski slopes. Holiday week takes place on the Mountain December 20 through January 1, and at the Highlands December 15 through December 31st. The Midwest's first eight seat, high-speed lift will be operating on the Mountain's Disciples Ridge, and the first modern bubble liftin the Heartland, which offers a very comfortable ride, will be heading up the slopes at the Highlands.

Crystal Mountain will be hosting holiday celebrations December 22 through January 6. On the 24th ski with Santa. Planned activities will be taking place every day—fat bike tours, snowshoe tours, outdoor lasar tag horse drawn surrey rides—with dinners, live entertainment and New Year’s Eve celebrations. For families planning a visit kids 17 and under sleep free any time and kids from 7-17 ski free Sunday through Thursday. Six and under kids sleep, ski and eat breakfast free any time.

Shanty Creek’s 12 days of holiday events include story time with Santa on Friday December 15 and breakfast with the jolly old elf Saturday, December 16 and a visit with Santa at Schuss Mountain that evening and stay for the Torchlight Parade at 7:15 (weather permitting) and fireworks over Schuss Mountain. On Christmas Day ski and ride free with Santa on the Schuss Mountain slopes. Just bring a non-perishable food item or clothing to donate.

Ski Brule will be hosting a New Year's Eve celebration with skiing, tubing, a dinner, torchlight parade down the ski hill and fireworks over the ski hill followed by music and dancing through midnight. They currently have $58 advanced lift tickets on sale through December 24, which are valid anytime during the 2023/24 season. It's a savings of $15 per lift ticket.

Granite Peak is hosting their first ever Holiday Themed Family Festival, December 15-17, Santa and Buddy Elf will be there on Saturday, a special fireworks show that evening. There will be groomer rides with Santa an additional $20 per person, free s'mores lots of holiday lights and cheer. Family Festival weekend packages are priced and designed for families of three or more. Packages include discounted lift tickets with a two-night stay as well as free rentals for kids 12 & under.

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Midwest Ski Areas Opening Across Heartland


Between natural snow and cold temperatures allowing for multiple days of snowmaking in a row, several Midwest ski areas were able to open a surprising number of runs to kick-start the season this past weekend. Some will close again for more snowmaking mid-week, and reopen the following weekend for hopefully the season.

Ski areas in Michigan from Bittersweet in the southern portion of the state and all those around Detroit—Mt. Holly, Alpine Valley, Pine Knob and Mt. Brighton—were able to be open last weekend. The large resorts—Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands, Nubs Nob, Treetops, Shanty Creek, Crystal Mountain and Caberfae Peaks—in the northern portion of the Lower Peninsula were also open.

Last week end saw Perfect North, one of the most southern Midwest ski areas near Cincinnati, also able to open a limited number of runs. Many ski areas in Minnesota and Wisconsin were able to open Temperatures in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin appear to hold promise for snow making this week to supplement their snow already on slopes.

Lutsen Mountains, overlooking Lake Superior in Minnesota's Arrowhead, and Snowriver Mountain Resort, on the western end of Michigan's UP, have been able to open several runs. Both owned by Midwest Family Resort, who also owns Wisconsin's Granite Peak, are offering half-off lift and lodging specials through much of December, Lutsen's special offer is through 12-22-23, and Snowriver's is through 12-22-23. Lutsen guarantees to have at least 20 runs open by the first weekend in December, which is nearly 10 miles of trails.

Snowriver will have it's new lift, the UP's first six-seat, high-speed lift operating. It services the resort's main slopes and a big improvement over the tired, old quad chairlift that had been in use for a few decades; much faster, more capacity back up the 630-foot ski hill. It's an upside down ski resort with all the facilities and lodging on top, and that's where you start.

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Washington's Cascades Draw Snow, Crowds But Plenty Others To Try Out


In the state of Washington, skiing and snowboarding choices divide up neatly east and west, with some of the nation's largest and smallest areas spinning lifts each season.

The Cascade Range hovers over the Tacoma-Seattle-Bellingham corridor, with some of the tallest peaks in the Northwest. They push Pacific storms skyward, whereby dumping lots of the heaviest snow on the slopes, and produce clouds and fog much of the season.

Along its crest, you'll find five of the state's best. As standard-bearers of Northwest resorts, they are also the most popular because they sit within three hours' drive of the greater Seattle-Tacoma metroplex and its four million people.

Northernmost Mt. Baker gets the most snow -- average 600-plus inches a season -- but only 1,000 skiable acres. Crystal Mountain is the biggest at 2,600 acres, and the only one with on-site lodging. New parking lot and local bus service aimed to ease endemic crowding.

Fatboy haven Summit at Snoqualmie (2,000 total acres) is four mountains in one. "Shaggy soul" Stevens Pass (1,125 a.) lays out bowls, chutes and trees, and local-focused White Pass (1,400 a.) gives lower mountain to novices with deep discount tickets. At all, expect weekend crowds, overcast skies, and tons of untracked heavy powder.

Up in Olympic National Park, Hurricane Ridge (220 acres, 800 vertical) is funky-local: Upside-down access, main lift poma snakes up the hill, open Saturdays and Sundays, limit 175 vehicles.

Over on the eastern front of the Cascades -- the Inland Northwest -- snowfall declines because of the "snow shadow" for a cluster of lesser-known mountains, big and small. Mission Ridge -- 2,000 acres, 2,280 vertical drop -- is by far the largest; a new high-speed has spruced up a clunky, limited lift system. Loup Loup Ski Bowl (550 acres), with decent drop at 1,240 feet, opens Wednesdays and weekends. And, Sitzmark Ski Mountain's 80 acres and 650 vertical sits near the Canadian border.

A group of tiny local hills round out the eastern roster: Badger Mountain (50 acres), Echo Valley (20 a.), and Leavenworth Ski Hill (15 a.) --  with a hand-drawn trail map online.

The Rockies poke into Washington's far northeastern border. There you'll find somewhat drier snow and a trio of Spokane-centric mountains. 49 Degrees North looms over all, with an astounding 2,350 skiable acres, 1,851 feet of vertical, a very efficient lift system and family amenities.

An hour from its eponymous city, Mt. Spokane's 1,700 acres crunch up for 1,800 vertical drop. Open Wednesday-Sunday, expect lots of snowboarders. And, in the secluded southeast corner is local-secret Bluewood, with 400 acres underfoot and 1,125 feet of drop to slide down.


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Winter's Largesse Means More Choices For Late-Spring Skiing, Riding In The West


With record snowfalls in the West this winter, we are now going to see just how late into the year the Jones for skiing and riding can last.

Skiers and riders should expect limited terrain, fewer lifts and variable conditions if they head into the hills this spring. "Playing the mountain" is a well-established spring tradition, meaning following the sun as it runs across the trails to find the soft -- but not too soft -- snow.

Springtime brings out the quirky in managers of skiing and riding mountains. For instance, Brighton plans to go until May 29 but because it will only spin the Milly chair, crews will move the rails and boxes over there for a top-to-bottom terrain park. Willamette Pass will be open for weekends until May 14 and has a $19 ticket for sale.

But some things don't change. Timberline Lodge will once again have no closing date for its alpine slopes on the shoulder of Mt. Hood, as snow typically stays year-round on the highest Palmer Snowfield terrain. The mountain usually closes late summer or early fall to take a breath before reopening for the next winter.

Another old favorite resurfaces this summer. Beartooth Basin, America’s only summer-only ski area (on account of its location on the Beartooth Highway connecting Wyoming and Montana, which closes in winter), will open this summer after sitting out 2022 for lack of snow. The season is expected to go from Memorial Day into July.

The king of summer skiing is once again Mammoth Mountain. Some 800 inches of snow fell this winter, and the California resort plans to stay open to July 31 -- with a teaser for days beyond that. Compadre Palisades Tahoe says Memorial Day is the earliest they'll close.

Colorado's perennial champion, Arapahoe Basin, has targets June 4 as a temporary closing date. But up there on the Continental Divide, nothing is certain. Keep track via Al's Blog. http://arapahoebasin.blogspot.com/

Breckenridge has declined to be specific, saying "TBA May." Winter Park plans to stay open until May 14, or until "ALAP" -- a new acronym created by the resort's PR staff.

Elsewhere, tentative closings dates have been set for Mt. Bachelor (May 28) and Crystal Mountain (May 21) in the Northwest. In Utah Snowbird will run daily to May 14 and on weekends until Memorial Day ("at least"), and Solitude says it will stay open until May 21.

Bringing up the rear are Copper (May 7), Loveland (May 7), and Bogus Basin (May 6).

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Upcoming Fun Events Around Upper Midwest Ski Areas


April Fools Day may be on the horizon, but no fooling there is still some fun to look forward to on upper Midwest ski slopes. Don't put those skis and snowboards away just yet. Get out and enjoy some of the best slope time of the season with prime conditions and longer daylight hours.

Wisconsin's Granite Peak is hosting an April Fool's Festival, Saturday, April 1, which includes clowns, a circus atmosphere and a cardboard cup race on the slopes in view of the historic deck. Sleds can only be constructed of cardboard, zip ties, & duct tape. The Peak's Pond Skim event took place Saturday, March 25.. Competitors who made it across had a shot at a 23/24 Season Pass, based on judges choice. They remain open daily through April 8.

Mount Bohemia, in Michigan's UP, which remains open weekends through April, is hosting a Beach Party on Saturday April 1. It includes a pool party, and an egg hunt for prizes. Dress up in your best Fools Day costume to hit the slopes. The winner with the best costume will receive two seats for a day in the Voodoo Mountain snowcat next season. There's also a bikini race with the winner receiving a two year season pass. The winner is voted on for both form and the best bikini. An egg hunt also takes place with prizes involved.

Minnesota's Lutsen Mountains is hosting it's infamous and long running Sweetwater Shakedown March 31-April 2. Cool nights and warm spring sun push the North Star State maples into producing sweet maple syrup. It also produces some of the finest spring corn snow skiing around the Great Lakes. Hence the celebration of the sweet water run (maple syrup) with sweet skiing and sweet music with eight bands performing over the three days, day and night. It's one of the best spring skiing events in the Heartland. Lutsen remains open daily through April 19.

Also open daily into April are Michigan's Boyne Mountain open through April 19, Crystal Mountain and Snowriver Mountain Resort through April 2.

All are in good shape with most of their slopes and trails open heading towards April.

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Upper Midwest Ski Resorts Offers Great Spring Break Opportunities


Looking for some opportunities to ski over spring break? You don’t have to head out of the Heartland to find plenty of opportunity across the upper Midwest. Save on travel time, expense and enjoy some prime late season slope conditions as well as some great activities.

 Lutsen Mountains along Lake Superior’s north shore has good snow depth and plans on staying open daily into April. With its nearly 1,000-foot vertical drop and 95 runs scattered over four mountains it offers plenty of choices to keep you exploring for days. It lives up to its namesake “Mountains of the Midwest.”

 They are offering a couple of family packages that are good through the end of March. A family spring break package offers 40-percent off on a five night stay. Family Festival Weekend, March 24-26, free rentals are included with adult and child family festival lift tickets. There's family entertainment, a pizza party and fireworks over the mountain.

 Ski Brule, located in Michigan’s UP, is fully open and plans to stay open through April. They are offering College Spring Break, March 16-26. Show your College ID and your lift ticket is $60. It also includes, from $282 per person, a weekend that includes two night's lodging, lift tickets, breakfasts, Lunches, and one dinner. Lodging package is valid for college students.

 In Michigan’s Lower Peninsula Boyne Mountain is putting a new spin on there Carnival Weekend, March 17-19, also well known as Crazy Days among Heartland skiers. There will be plenty of music with mixologists spinning beats from top to bottom of the Mountain. It includes a St. Patty's Day party in the Snowflake Lounge Friday night, a costume contest on Saturday at Disciples Overlook, and the Slush Cup Sunday at the base of North McLouth.

Crystal Mountain is offering a Hot Lodging Dates with up to 25-percent off on select dates through the months of March and April. Daily activities will be taking place. For families staying at Crystal, kids six and under sleep and eat breakfast free (up to two kids eat free, per paying adult). They are fully open with 59 trails. During the month they are hosting some great weekend activities including Spring Carnival March 11, St. Patrick's Day March 18 that includes a kayak race down the Mountain, and Retro Party Day March 25. Bring back your decade in costume and win a prize.

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SnoCast: Groundhog Is Right...Winter Conditions Remain


Punxsutawney Phil says six more weeks of winter, and we agree. We're tracking winter weather and highlighting the ski conditions from coast to coast in another SnoCast. This week, we can expect a biting mid-winter burst of Arctic air across the Midwest and Northeast, along with two snow-making systems for the West Coast. Let's dive into the details for the week of February 2–8, 2023.


The coldest air of the season yet will settle across the Midwest and Great Lakes Thursday night, and then pour into Eastern Canada and the Northeast U.S. Friday and Saturday. 

Temperatures will plummet ~10-20+ degrees *below* average and gusty northwest winds pick up as a cold front presses east, creating dangerously cold wind chills between -30 to -50 degrees for portions of Upstate New York and New England, with the potential of even colder wind chills of -60 for interior Maine, matching some of the coldest wind chills observed in decades.

Of course, we know this might not stop you, but be smart and safe. It's the kind of cold where the lodge is your friend and good layers are essential to protect your skin from the cold. The graphic below is straight from the U.S. National Weather Service.


As the cold rushes in, there will be a burst of snow on the leading edge of the cold front from the U.P and northern Michigan late Thursday, moving toward Pennsylvania, New York, and New England early Friday. Expect anywhere from a dusting to as much 3 inches in spots. Locally heavier snow falls east of the Great Lakes thanks to a bit of lake enhancement.

Sunday, as temperatures rebound, the East remains largely quiet across the East but for a few quick passing snow showers over northern Michigan, the northern Adirondacks and Vermont. A quick clipper charges across Eastern Canada and northern New England with light snow possible again Tuesday (Feb. 7).


After a rather chilly week out West, temperatures will moderate this week with near average temperatures for early February. The first of two snow-making systems shifts onto the U.S. West coast Friday. The first, a cold front, will deliver snow from the northern Sierras (north of Tahoe) and Klamath peaks northward to the Cascades. While most see 2-6", there may be spots over 6" in the Washington Cascades, good news for Crystal, Mission Ridge, Stevens Pass and others nearby. Lighter snow is also in the forecast for the interior Northwest through Saturday. 

The next storm for the West digs in Saturday night through Monday with additional light to moderate snow for the Sierras, Cascades, and interior West. This system digs deep, all the way to the Southwest U.S. by early next week, with the chance for heavier snow over the four-corners states by later Tuesday-Wednesday. Keep an eye on that storm for Utah and Colorado, and possibly Arizona and New Mexico, too.

 'Til next week! Happy skiing and riding. - Meteorologist Kerrin Jeromin


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Bachelor and Crystal: An Ikon Pairing Of Royalty In Pacific Northwest


A duo of truly big mountains in the Northwest have lots in common, including that they stick to the business of what skiers and snowboarders do on the slopes.

Both Oregon's Mt. Bachelor and Washington's Crystal Mountain are the largest ski and snowboard resorts in their respective states. Each has more than 2,000 acres in the area, lots more off-piste, high-speed lift networks, and deep annual snowfall. Base facilities tend to the basics, and there's limited lodging at Crystal, none at Bachelor.

Ikon Pass seven-day partner Mt. Bachelor touts 4,323 skiable acres, but at least half of that is backside backcountry. From the summit, the vertical drop is 3,365 vertical with about 2,000 of that on the lower half. Miles of intermediate runs splay off the volcano's skirt, and as does the the 12-stop Woodward terrain park complex.

Eight of 12 chairs spin at high speed, all on the northern side of the cone volcano. All but one stops at treeline: The Summit Express drops off just below 9,065-foot summit for a 360-degree choice of skiable lines. Back bowls vast and mostly blue, with gnarly drops in between. A "catchline" boundary trail ushers all around to the base areas.

With first-come first-served parking lots at two base areas, Bachelor mostly handles day-trippers from Bend, Eugene or distant Portland. Bachelor's horizon-to-horizon exposure can bring harsh winds. City of Bend (95,000 pop.) boasts top breweries and lodging options.

Farther north in the Cascades, Ikon partner Crystal Mountain runs off a volcanic ridge just east of Mt. Ranier. Basic base facilities are undergoing an overhaul. New and developing skiers and riders get four chairs in a dedicated slow-skiing area, alongside Crystal's three terrain parks.

Most of the skiing and riding take place above -- 3,000 vertical drop off a steep cirque that tops out at 7,000 feet. An 8-person gondola and half-dozen high-speeds do the heavy lifting on an upper mountain evenly divvied up between blues and blacks. Alpine steeps and glades of trees make Northway Peak expert backside bowl popular.

Seattle isn't far away, and full parking lots have been a problem for Crystal in its tight quarters. This season, online pre-registration required for all on Friday-Sunday for $20. Ikon Pass holders need only register pass and license number for free parking.

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Celebrating New Years Eve In Midwest Ski Country


Winter has returned across the upper Midwest measured in feet of snow and several resorts have plans to celebrate the season. A welcome return in lieu of the last couple of year's subdued celebrations.

Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands will be celebrating the sights and sounds of the holidays through January 7 with lots of planned activities, and New Year’s Eve dinners, live bands and celebrations capped with fireworks over the ski slopes. The Midwest's first eight seat, high-speed lift opened December 23 on the Mountain's Disciples Ridge.

Crystal Mountain will be hosting holiday celebrations through January 7. On the 24th ski with Santa. Planned activities will be taking place every day—fat bike tours, snowshoe tours, horse drawn surrey rides—with dinners, live entertainment and New Year’s Eve celebrations. Winter Trails Day is January 7 and a great time to try free cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

Treetops is hosting both family and adult-only New Years Eve parties that includes a lobster and filet dinner. Fireworks over the slopes takes place at midnight. An unusual activity that the family can partake in are dog sledding rides. It's the only Michigan snowsports resort that offers an opportunity to try dog sledding.

Ski Brule you can ride with Olympic gold medalist on December 29 and 31 and plan on staying over for the music and dancing 8 p.m.-midnight, a torchlight parade and fireworks at 9 and New Year's Eve dinner. You can also enjoy the Homestead BBQ, a bonfire, music, tubing and sleigh ride on December 30.

Granite Peak is hosting a New Year’s Eve party with a torchlight parade and fireworks over the mountain at 7 p.m. The historic Sundance Chalet will have live music, a special menu, a champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight. The party is free, no cover charge, and kids are welcome at parent’s discretion.

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Three State Of Washington Mountains That Lure Summer Visitors


In the state of Washington, a trio of ski and snowboard mountains flip the toggle from winter to summer to entice city dwellers and vacationers to head into the Cascades.

Stevens Pass is a two-hour drive from Seattle, pending summer construction delays. Regular bus service runs during the summer, an inexpensive way to avoid traffic on busy U.S. 2.

Owned by Vail Resorts, a Stevens Pass' summer focuses on the mountain bike park. Winding around and down the lower front portion of the mountain, the downhill trail map features two categories: freeride and technical.

The man-made jumps and ramps and berms in the freeride network take riders down two green runs, one blue and one black diamond. The more difficult natural-terrain technical runs rate one short green, three top-to-bottom blues and one black diamond and one double-black.

All runs can be reached via the Hogback chairlift, which is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays to Sundays. Other things to do include scenic chairlift rides, disc golf and guided tours.

A two-hour drive from Seattle, summer at Crystal Mountain takes its cues from its location across from Mt. Ranier -- deep in the Cascade Range. There's hardly a spot on the mountain where the 14,417-foot stratovolcano cannot be seen.

Thus, summer activities at Crystal emphasize getting up and on the mountain. The state's only gondola tops out at 7,000 feet in elevation, where visitor can go on self-guided interpretive walks or spin a Frisbee on the summit disc golf course up there. Other ways to enjoy the scenery and cool mountain air can be had with horseback riding and hiking tours.

The gondola runs seven days a week through Labor Day, then Fridays through Sundays until Sept. 25.

The northernmost ski and snowboard mountain in the West, 49 Degrees North is tucked up in the Colville National Forest near both the Idaho and Canadian borders.

This back-country, hardy setting lends itself to summer hiking and no-lift mountain biking. Take one of several service roads up into the three high-mountain basins. Or top out at 5,774-foot-high Chewelah Peak. From there, nearly 2,000 vertical feet await, and it's hiker's and biker's choice as to the ways down. And don't forget to pull over for pick-and-eat huckleberries that grow all over the mountain.





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Ski Midwest Gold Card Now On Sale, Limited Number Available


How would you like to ski, and ride over 20 of the Midwest's top ski areas this winter, every day of the season for just $525?

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SnoCast: Making the Turn into April


With the arrival of April comes soft turns, pond skimming, goggle tans, and sometimes some magical April snow. In this week’s SnoCast, we’ll check out conditions across North America so you know where to bring sunscreen, where you’ll still need layers, and where fresh snow is still expected.

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Late Snow, Early Snowmaking Prompt Slew Of Season Extensions


Used to be that the first week of April was the traditional time to hang up the skis, store away the boots, and dust off the summer recreation equipment. Not so much nowadays.

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Ikon Pass Pairing: Steeps And Deeps Near Seattle


Ikon Pass holders should head to Seattle and cash in two very different ski and snowboard mountains in the Cascades -- each catching tons of snow out of northern Pacific storms.

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Celebrating Holidays With Events, Activities In Midwest Ski Country


Winter has returned across the upper Midwest and several resorts have plans to celebrate the season. A welcome return in lieu of last year's subdued celebrations.

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Go Big, Go Deep On Ikon's Mountains In Pacific Northwest


A trio of ski and snowboard resorts of the Pacific Northwest take the Ikon Pass, and each offers something different for those venturing into the Cascades.

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