Wild Mountain Making Investment In Snow Making


Minnesota's Wild Mountain closed the season on a winning note. They opened in late October and were open for 141 days this season. That's unofficially the longest time open for the Midwest 2023/24 ski season. Despite the long season Wild is making plans to produce more snow for next season.

A post by the ski area. “Most years, plenty of cold temperatures and well timed storms deliver the white stuff we need. But, this year not so much. Ma Nature let us down this winter...again and again.”

They desire a deeper base, more trails and bigger terrain parks earlier in the season. They were open, but sometimes the cover was thin, although a lot of Midwestern ski areas would have been happy to open that early, and the number of ski days for the season was ahead of all other Heartland ski areas.

They are making a significant investment to battle against tough winters like we just had across the Heartland. They plan to expand their pumping capacity from their mountaintop pond. They expect the increased capacity to grow their snowmaking capabilities by up to 33-percent when temps drop into the teens. That additional water will allow them to operate an additional 50 guns under those conditions. They expect that to double the number of trails they can freshen up on a nightly basis and open early in the season.

Wild offers 26 trails, including the double-black Wall and an easy trail from top of the Mountain, four terrain parks, and eight lifts including four quads. Season passes will not be going up for next season. An adult season pass will be $399 through early October for next season and will increase in early October. They make $1 donation for each season pass sold to help environmental causes in the area.

Some of the longest ski seasons around the Great Lakes. They've had a couple of seasons where they have stayed open for over 170 days. Season pass holders have found that they normally get their money's worth of ski days when you can almost get a half-years worth of skiing at a Heartland ski area.

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Tubing Is Popular In The Midwest


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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Midwest Ski Areas Starting To Open For The Season


Minnesota's Wild Mountain is always, if not the first, one of the first Heartland ski areas to open for the season. They opened Monday and already have top to bottom runs open as well as one of their chairlifts.

 Andes Tower Hills, in northern Minnesota, was actually the first Heartland ski area to open this past weekend with limited terrain and just a surface tow. However they are currently closed, and on their website they list November 11 for their opening date. They are also routinely one of the earliest to open in the Midwest. When fully open they offer 15 slopes, three chairlifts, and three surface tows.

 Wild is open top to bottom with Chair 1 and their Expressway Trail. Plus, they have the Front Stage rope tow and one of their terrain parks open with eight features. They point out it's still early season conditions and guests should expect some bare spots, rocks, thin coverage, man made obstructions and other spooky impediments. Tickets are $25 and season passes are valid (Night Passes start at 4 pm. as usual). They say on their Facebook page they plan to remain open daily 1-7pm as they keep expanding terrain or the snow melts.

 They have had the distinction of being the first area in the Midwest to open for several years running, and a couple of times the first ski area in the nation to open in early October. They guarantee season pass holders at least 100 days of skiing and riding during the season. When fully open the ski area offers 26 trails, including the double-black Wall and an easy trail from top of the Mountain, four terrain parks, and eight lifts including four quads. It has a 300-foot vertical.

 Other planned openings in November include Lutsen Mountains, which has a target date of opening the weekend of November 18-19. They will be open Thanksgiving weekend and the first weekend in December with December 8 as their target date for staying open on a daily basis.

 Ski Brule, in Michigan's UP, has also kicked off their snowmaking with a target date of November 10 to open daily for the season.

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Wild Mountain Keeps Improving Under New Owners


Minnesota's Wild Mountain, which came under new ownership two seasons ago, has announced plans for improvements again this summer to be done in time for the 2023/24 season.

This summer they are installing a new Skytrac four-person chairlift, which will replace the tired old Chairlift 3 as the main way up the slopes. It was Wild's very first lift installed in 1972. It has served the ski area well, and, in response to several inquiries, they plan on selling the individual chairs to the public. Details aren't available yet as to when and how that will take place. Keep checking the Wild Mountain Facebook page.

They also plan on updating the entrance in a big way. Plans are to modify the entrance into the base lodge with larger doors, windows and a new modern exterior. They also plan on adding landscaping and removing the old schoolhouse building creating a new guest drop-off zone and roundabout.

Last summer the added the new Corduroy Club Bar, a large sun deck and patio. They also proudly announced that they had become a carbon neutral company.

Wild offers 26 trails, including the double-black Wall and an easy trail from top of the Mountain, four terrain parks, and eight lifts including four quads. Season passes are currently on sale through April 3. An adult pass is $314, and will be going up $85 on April 4. For those that are currently not existing pass holders they can ski the remainder of this season for $59 with a new purchase. They make $1 donation for each season pass sold to help environmental causes in the area.

Presently they are 100-percent open and don't plan on closing until March 20. If conditions remain prime they may extend the season, which will be determined at a later date. They were one of the first ski areas to open in the Midwest this season, and normally are one of the last to close.

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Skiing Will Be Available In Upper Midwest For Thanksgiving Holidays


Recent snow and cold weather are providing an early start to the Heartlands ski season, which is a nice departure from last year when ski areas mostly remained closed over Thanksgiving weekend and had a rough start even in December making enough snow to be fully open over the Christmas holidays.

An early arrival of winter and temperatures cold enough for snowmaking across the upper Midwest are going to allow some ski areas to be open for the Thanksgiving holidays. Minnesota will be offering the most openings with a few in northern Wisconsin and a couple in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The Lower Peninsula ski areas at this point have not announced opening dates, but some have already fired up the snowmaking and hopefully that will come soon.

A couple of ski areas, Wild Mountain in Minnesota and nearby Trollhaugen across the border in Wisconsin have already opened for the season. Afton Alps, Powder Ridge, Andes Towers Hills and Lutsen Mountains are planning on being open this weekend Nov. 18 and 19. Buck Hill is opening on Nov. 22, with Spirit Mountain and Giants Ridge scheduled Nov. 25.

A couple of other Wisconsin ski areas, Cascade Mountain and Christie Mountain are planning on opening over Thanksgiving weekend.

 n the Wolverine State's UP both Snowriver Mountain Resort and Ski Brule are planning to open this coming weekend, Nov. 19, for the season.

Huff Hills Ski Area, located near Bismarck in North Dakota, is opening for the season on Nov. 20, which will mark their earliest opening ever in the 30 years it has been a ski area. Illinois' Chestnut Mountain plans to open Nov. 26, also one of their earliest openings.

In early season it's always a good idea to check the ski area for conditions before making a long drive. Weather can change in just a few days. You can also log onto Snoountry Snow Reports for an up to date review of what's open and conditions.


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Midwest Ski Season Openings Slated For November


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.

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SnoCast: Will March Come in Like a Lion or Lamb?



This first weekend of March features a more "lion-like" and snowy setup across the West, while the East sees lamb-like signs of spring time weather. Let's dig into the forecast in this week's SnoCast.

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Wild Mountain Continues Making Improvements


Wild Mountain, Minnesota's long-time ski area, continues to make improvements since it was purchased two years ago by new owners. It first opened in 1972 and has had only two owners.

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SnoCast: Comfortable Mid-February Conditions With At Least Three Storms


Know what I love about this Valentine’s Day weekend outlook? The fact that skiing and riding conditions will be comfy for mid-February, plus we have a few storms (or more) to watch!

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Female Snowsports Clinics Being Held Across Midwest


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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Three More Upper Midwest Ski Areas To Open


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.


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SnoCountry SnoCast: Season's First Blizzard Blasts Midwest


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.

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SnoCast: Snow and Chilly Temps Kick Off November


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. 

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Fire Takes Wild Mountain's Maintenance Barn


A fire broke out in Wild Mountain's maintenance barn on March 30 destroying the structure, according to the Minnesota ski area in a Facebook post.

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Wild Mountain Makes Improvements For Next Season


Minnesota's Wild Mountain, under new ownership this season, has announced plans for improvements over the summer and proudly announced they are a carbon-neutral company.

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Minnesota Has Most Midwest Ski Areas Open


If you want to go skiing in early December in the Midwest, think Minnesota. The Gopher State has the most ski areas open around the Great Lakes, nine open to the public and one currently season pass holders only.

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Minnesota's Wild Mountain Opens Front Stage Terrain Park


Wild Mountain, about an hour northeast of the Twin Cities along the Minnesota/Wisconsin border, has opened the Front Stage terrain park with four to six terrain park features and rope tow uphill access.

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Longtime Midwest Ski Area Under New Ownership


Wild Mountain, which Dennis Raedeke opened in 1972, will be under new ownership this coming season. The sale was completed this past summer. The ski area was most recently under co-ownership of Raedeke's children, Amy Frischmon and Dan Raedeke.

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Two Midwest States Offer Grade School Passports


The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) and Minnesota Ski Areas Association offer passport programs that allow elementary-age kids to give skiing and snowboarding a try for free. In Michigan, it covers both fourth and fifth graders. Minnesota’s program covers just fourth graders. Surprisingly Wisconsin, the Heartland state just behind Michigan for a number of ski areas doesn't offer such a program.

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More Midwest Ski Areas Opening Over Next Couple Of Weeks


With the winter-like cold air that's settled in over the Great Lakes, three more Midwest ski areas plan to open later this week with a couple more scheduled to open the following weekend.

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