Ohio's oldest ski area Snow Tails, which opened in 1961, continues making improvements after making several just a couple of years ago. Located in central Ohio about an hour north of the state's capital city Columbus it has served a large population of Heartland skiers for over 60 years.
In 2021 they added a beautiful 3,000-square-foot lodge at the base of Competition Slope adding much needed indoor additional seating and restrooms, accommodations for carry-in-food and more space for their popular racing program activities. It included heated outdoor patio seating. They added state-of-the-art lighting upgrades, which included LED tower lights for the Alpine lift and beginner's area, and the triple chairlift for the Competition and Mt. Mansfield slopes. In addition restrooms were redone, improvements were made to the Last Run Deli Kitchen, added new windows and radiant heaters added to the ski lodge deck.
The parking was also paved, which was a great improvement for late season conditions when the ground started to thaw. This past summer another expansion was made to the west end of the parking area adding a new concrete lot with marked parking spaces and additional handicapped spots for the Adaptive Snowsports Center. More LED lighting was installed in special areas of the slopes and parking lots for additional safety and efficiency, according to a Snow Trails news release.
Exciting news for skiers and snowboarders two new trails, Ridgeline and DC Drop were added off the double chairlift, which will add additional access to other trails expanding the unloading area on top. It will allow access to the right for the first time and connect two other trails. An expanded snowmaking system will help implement the additional terrain as well as the rest of the ski area.
Snow Trails, which will be enjoying its 63rd season, offers 19 trails, four terrain parks and lift served tubing runs. They have five chairlifts and two surface tows. Throughout the season they often offer live music on weekends. Their season normally runs from mid-December into early March. Their kick-off party with the Thirsty Travelers is happening December 16. They are hosting an Alpine Ski Racing Camp on December 27, which you need to sign up for.
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.
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.
No less than nine Heartland ski areas are celebrating significant milestones this year. All have been in business at least 60 years and one started 85 years ago, according to the National Ski Areas Association.
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.
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.
The abrupt end to the ski season, amid all the confusion, has prompted some Midwestern ski areas and resorts to push back the deadline for securing next season's annual pass at the best price point. Some have pushed the deadline to the end of this month, and others have pushed it back even further.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The recent cold snap to hit the Heartland brought with it some great snow conditions for Midwest ski areas. The coldest weather that forced many to suspend operations for two or three days fortunately came midweek. The bookend weekends brought out good crowds with great slope conditions.
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.
Participants can reach speeds of 30 mph on the luge run. (Muskegon Winter Sports Complex)
With the Olympics taking place next month ever thought about trying a luge run? It always looks pretty exciting during the competition.
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 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.
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.
Midwest ski areas are getting an early jump on the spring carnival season with family events, cardboard sled races, pond skims, family events and live music. It’s never too early to have some fun on the slopes.
Three lower Midwest ski areas have some fun events coming up later this month. Clinics, family festivals and the Heartland’s first winter carnival take place in February.