The Indy Pass for Heartland skiers and riders, with the new ski areas that have joined, is a great choice. Many of the ski areas and resorts are located near each other, which presents an excellent opportunity for several multi-day road trips across the Heartland.
Many buy a season pass for convenience at a ski area near them and that they enjoy skiing or riding, which is fine. If you like to visit a variety of ski areas throughout the season rather than just staying with one you might consider purchasing the Indy Pass, which offers the most choices of any multiple ski area pass in the Midwest. It's good at 30 ski areas scattered across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and South Dakota.
Several of the ski areas are grouped within easy driving distance of each other, which means you can take road trips to visit two or three different resorts over a week long trip. There are trips like that in northwestern Lower Michigan, Upper Michigan, northern Wisconsin and Minnesota around the Great Lakes. The Indy Pass is also good at three of the Heartland's largest ski resorts, Lutsen Mountains, near a 900 foot vertical in the Gopher State, Granite Peak, at 700 feet, in the Badger State, and Terry Peak, over a 1,000 feet, in South Dakota's Black Hills.
The pass is currently on sale through November at $329 for adults and $149 children for the regular Indy Pass that does have blackout dates at some of the areas. The Indy+ Pass is $429 adults and $199 children with no blackout dates. The pass is good for two free days of skiing or snowboarding at each ski area and 25% off the daily rate for a third day on the slopes. Once your Indy Pass has been registered you simply go to the ticket window, get your lift ticket with your driver's license or photo ID for each day you wish to ski or ride.
For Midwest road trips it doesn't get any easier to combine ski areas for easy access and multiple days of skiing and riding. Of course it is also good at 70 other ski areas across the Lower 48, which means it’s easier than ever to maximize both your turns and your season.
Three ski areas in the Midwest, Wild Mountain and Andes Tower Hills, Minnesota, and Trollhaugen in western Wisconsin, were able to open limited terrain last week. Four other ski resorts, one each in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and two in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (UP) have planned openings in the next three weeks. The Heartland ski season is underway.
Ski Brule in the UP has the planned earliest season opener slated for November 11. They are routinely one of the earliest opening ski resorts in the Heartland. Lift tickets are free on opening day. They have a Thanksgiving special offering half-off on Wednesday night lodging if you plan on staying through the holiday weekend for four nights. Their highly regarded Thanksgiving Race Camp is taking place over the four days.
Lutsen Mountains in Minnesota and Snowriver Mountain Resort, also in the UP have planned season openers slated for November 19. Lutsen plans on having 10 runs open on Eagle Mountain and early season lift tickets are $79 through December 16. Ski in/ski out lodging specials at Lutsen are available from $109 per night. Snowriver lift tickets will be the same as Lutsen, $69 through December 16, and you can purchase two day lift tickets for $10 off online. No lodging specials were listed on their website. Both resorts will be limiting lift ticket sales on weekends and holidays, which means buy ahead online.
Wisconsin's Granite Peak has an opening slated during the week before Thanksgiving. No lodging specials were listed on their website, but affordable lodging is within minutes of the ski area. Lift tickets are $79 from opening day through December 16. Purchase before November 15 and save 20% off the posted rates. They will also be limiting lift ticket sales on holidays and weekends, which means purchase online ahead of time.
Big Snow is actually two older Midwestern ski resorts, Indianhead and Black Jack operated as one resort under one owner that are less than a mile apart across a valley from each other. It's the largest ski area in the UP. Indianhead has a 638-foot vertical and Blackjack is 490 feet. Skinner has already announced he is changing the name from Big Snow to Snowriver Mountain Resort, and the two historic base areas will be renamed for the rivers flowing through the resort, Black River Basin for Blackjack and Jackson Creek Summit for Indianhead. The two areas provide 400-acres for snowsports with the possibility of expanding to 500-acres.
Both ski areas are antiquated with old Riblet chairlifts and base lodges that need a lot of updating. Jackson Creek has five chairlifts and Black River has four. Both offer lodging and a hotel is located at the top of Jackson Creek, which is an upside-down resort with its base area on top as you drive in. Look for big changes in the future, including tying the two ski areas together in the valley with a connecting lift so they won't have to run a shuttle between them. A single lift ticket is good at both locations.
When Skinner purchased Granite Peak it was a rundown rustic ski area with a big vertical, 700 feet, and a lot of promise. The old area, called Rib Mountain didn't even get to the top. In less than two decades he transformed it into one of the largest in the Midwest adding more terrain, trails, high-speed lifts and creating a vibrant new base area. Lutsen Mountains is the largest ski resort in the Heartland operating off four mountain peaks with an 860-foot vertical and the only gondola mid-America.
All three resorts are now operated as the Midwest Family Ski Resorts, which was created by Skinner and his daughter Charlotte Skinner, who joined her father after graduating from Columbia University and gaining finance experience through public technology companies she worked for. The Midwest Family Ski Resorts offers what they call the Legendary Pass, which offered unlimited skiing and snowboarding at Lutsen and Granite Peak last season. Snowriver Mountain Resort is being added for the 2022/23 season. The Legendary Pass is currently on sale for $899. All three resorts are also members of the Indy Pass.
It's that time of year when the 2022/23 season passes are going on sale, and at the lowest price point before they start going up in a month or two. If you are a season pass holder now is the time to think about renewing, and if not maybe you want to consider your best option for next winter.
One of the Badger State's oldest ski areas, Trollhaugen, continues to make improvements. It was the fourth ski area to open in Wisconsin in 1950. Only Granite Peak, 1937, Wilmot Mountain in 1938, and Mont Du LacMo, 1948 came before it. Located just across the Wisconsin/Minnesota border the storied ski area has long been a favorite for Twin Cities skiers and riders, which is about 50 minutes northeast of downtown.
Wisconsin's Granite Peak, one of the oldest ski areas in the nation, is celebrating families and Mardi Gras the weekend of March 4-6 with its final family festival of the ski season. Having opened for skiing in the winter of 1937, it turned 85 this season.
Charles Skinner, a co-owner of Lutsen Mountains, has purchased his brother-in-law Tom Rider's fifty-percent ownership, and is now sole owner of the Heartland's largest ski area. Skinner is also owner of Granite Peak, Wisconsin's largest ski resort.
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.
We’re approaching a huge week for ski country—Thanksgiving is upon us, often marking opening days from coast to coast. This week’s SnoCast has a delicious menu of powder, sun, and chill leading up to the big holiday week. Let's dig in!
A trio of upper Midwest ski areas is planning to open the third weekend of the month joining Lutsen Mountains, which opens November 13, in getting the Heartland ski season underway.
An early-season blizzard will unleash winds up to 55 miles per hour and several inches of snowfall for portions of the High Plains and Upper Midwest, leading to a cooler pattern in the East with a (likely) chance of scattered snow showers.
We've gotten a taste of ski season across the U.S. and Canada this week with bursts of cold and snow. These bursts are exactly what the (ski) doctor ordered to get us that much closer to the slopes. Here's how the forecast shapes up this week.
One of the best ways to enjoy breathtaking fall views that abound across the upper Midwest is a slow chairlift ride to the top of the ski hill. Here are some of the best around the upper Midwest.
Granite Peak has remained open into mid-April the last few seasons and plans on doing so again this season despite a warm Midwest winter that has shut down all other Wisconsin ski areas.
A unique Indy Pass road trip in the upper Midwest would be to combine a trip visiting northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula for skiing at three of the Heartland's larger ski resorts; Granite Peak, Pine Mountain, and Big Powderhorn.
Here are five Midwest cities with day trip worthy ski areas, all within three hours or less. Arriving mid-week you avoid large weekend crowds. Get an early start and enjoy some uncrowded slope time.
Glade skiing, popular out west and in the east, doesn’t take a backseat in the Heartland. Ski areas located across the upper tier of the Midwest offer tree skiing and even a few cliff jumps.
With Valentine’s Day and President's Day weekend falling at the same time it may be a busy time on Heartland slopes. Many resorts may be sold out. Consider the whole month of February for a romantic getaway with some slope time.
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.
Family-friendly terrain, ski and snowboard teaching programs, and a good variety of advanced and expert terrain. Here are five top ski resorts in the Midwest that can keep families of differing abilities happy.