The Heartland is known for its family skiing and time together on the slopes, but, as often the case, family members take off in different directions. It’s not always easy to find slopes that can accommodate all members, but SnoCountry has found five resorts with runs that can keep all members interested and together.
With 2018 quickly coming to a close, several areas across the U.S. and Canada will get final bursts of snow and cold for the year. Here’s the breakdown…
Winter is off to a great start across the Heartland, and several Midwest resorts have plans to celebrate the season. Santa may also take advantage of the good conditions.
The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) and Minnesota Ski Areas Association offer passport programs allowing elementary age kids the chance to try skiing and snowboarding for free. In Michigan it covers both fourth and fifth graders, and Minnesota’s program covers fourth graders.
Autumn sweeps across the Midwest like a blaze this time of year. One of the best ways to enjoy breathtaking fall views is a slow chairlift ride to the top of the ski hill. Here’s some of the best around the upper Midwest.
New high-speed quad unloading for the first time this season. (Giants Ridge/Facebook)
Minnesota’s Giants Ridge opened two new, much needed, chairlifts this season in an effort to turn around declining numbers of skier visits the past few winters.
Fat tire bikers at Crystal Mountain have over 11 miles of groomed trails. (Crystal Mountain)
Fat tire biking, popular at western and eastern ski resorts, has been gaining traction in the Midwest. Ski resorts in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula and northern Minnesota are now offering rentals and trails to ride. Check it out.
Families enjoy Giants Ridge and the giant views. (Jim Balfour)
Spring has come early to the Heartland this winter and most of the ski areas across the lower Midwest have closed. The best bets for some late season spring skiing into April are all centered across the northern Great Lakes, and the longer, warmer, sun filled days provide some of the best conditions of the winter.
Giants Ridge slopes look out over endless forests and lakes. (Jim Balfour)
Minnesota’s Iron Range is home to Giants Ridge, one of the Gopher State’s largest snowsports resorts. Winter enthusiasts love its craggy peaks, endless forests and abundant snowfall. The resurgent resort is once again on the Heartland’s radar with a new 33,900-square-foot chalet housing skier services and new restaurant, renovation of the old South Chalet that houses the Nordic center, and two new quad-chairlifts, one a high-speed, scheduled to be added next spring. Dress warmly. Hardy locals take pride in the region’s reputation as “America’s Icebox.”
Trails. The 35 trails that soar off the rocky crest are some of the most exhilarating cruisers around the Great Lakes; varied in pitch, a headwall here, a small bowl there. Melbourne, Easy Way and Placid, sequestered among aspen and birch, offer gentle runs off the top of the ski hill. The North Face runs offer short, steep chutes that appeal to advanced skiers and boarders. Four terrain parks feature more than 3,000 feet of boxes, rails and jumps with a skate-park flow, catch big air on 30-foot jumps. Two are learning parks.
Eats. Don’t miss the Burnt Onion Soup, a rich stock of caramelized onions in the new chalet’s Burnt Onion restaurant. For breakfast the Mesabi Scramble at the Sleeping Giant restaurant in the Lodge, a combination of meats, onions, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes and eggs kick starts your day. For dinner the wild rice meatloaf is made with a Minnesota staple, locally gathered wild rice. A trip to nearby Gilbert to sample the eclectic Whistling Bird authentic Jamaican jerk food is a must. It’s been drawing patrons from all over the state for over 20 years.
Play. In addition to skiing and boarding over 60-kilometers of Olympic quality cross-country trails, fat tire biking and snow tubing are available.
Stay: The Lodge at Giants Ridge offers attractive ski-in/ski-out one to four bedroom accommodations close to everything. The nearby Villas offer multi-bedroom condominiums within easy walking distance, perfect for families that like to eat in.
Deals. Midweek ski two days and spend a night for under $100 dollars. Friday nights, $16 lift tickets and $16 ski rentals were available last season.
Female skiers and snowboarders will soon take center stage at three Minnesota resorts. The clinics will get you on course for the rest of the season, and one clinic will host a wine and cheese afterwards.
Fat tire snow biking, popular at western and eastern ski resorts, has been gaining traction in the Midwest recently. Several ski resorts in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula and northern Minnesota are now offering rentals and trails to ride.
Minnesota’s ski season is underway with several ski areas already open. The Gopher State has fared better in the weather pool than other Great Lakes state, especially those on the east side of Lake Michigan. Here’s a rundown on what’s new at ski resorts that have made improvements.
The Midwest is known as America’s Summer Golf Capitol for good reason. The upper Midwest offers plenty of sunshine, pleasant temperatures and little humidity, perfect for golf, and many of the ski and golf resorts are ranked among the top destinations in the country. Here are some of the best.
March is spring break season for many school districts throughout the Midwest. If you’re looking for variety of terrain, reliable snow and some attractive lift and lodging packages, check out two resorts in Minnesota’s Arrowhead: Both Lutsen Mountains and Giants Ridge are an easy drive from most Heartland locations.
Here’s a sampling of events across America. Check with your favorite resort for many more Independence Weekend happenings.
It’s the winter that just keeps on giving. Don’t put those skis or boards away just yet. Check out these events and lift and lodging packages taking place this weekend and into mid-April across the Heartland.
The winter of 2013/14 may have brought the most snow in decades — breaking 100 year old records across the Heartland — but it also had a downside: record-breaking cold.
Spring finally starts to arrive along Minnesota's Arrowhead by the end of March. Located along the shores of Lake Superior there’s reason to celebrate when it finally does.
The snow just keeps falling across the Great Lakes as Alberta, Canada pumps one Clipper after another into the region. Minnesota resorts are offering some enticing packages. Get out and enjoy one of best winters in recent memory.