Tubing Is Popular In The Midwest

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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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Heartland Ski Resorts Celebrating Significant Milestones

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No less than seven Heartland ski areas are celebrating significant milestones this season. All have been in business at least 65 years and a couple started 85 years ago, according to the International Skiing History Association.

Pine Mountain in Michigan's UP and Wisconsin’s Wilmot Mountain, near Chicago, both opened in 1938. Wilmot has arguably produced more Midwest skiers than any other ski hill in the Heartland. Terry Peak in the Black Hills of South Dakota was the first ski resort to open in the Midwest. It opened two years earlier in 1936 followed closely by Granite Peak in the Badger State and the Wolverine State's Caberfae in 1937.

A decade later Wisconsin’s Mont Du Lac, Lutsen Mountains in Minnesota and Boyne Mountain in Michigan all opened in 1948. The Mountain also brought the first chairlift to the Midwest. Both are celebrating 75 years of hosting heartland skiers.

In 1958 Wisconsin’s Tyrol Basin and Michigan's Nubs Nob opened and are celebrating 65 years this season.

Midwest skiing has a long proud history. It’s developed at a pace with the rest of the country. Heartland ski areas have attitude and terrain to match, and these eight ski areas and resorts are great examples of the regions diversity. You don’t have to go far to find skiing and riding across this broad region. It’s been around for a few decades. An added bonus for Heartland skiers is that many of the ski areas also offer night skiing, which you don't find at many western ski resorts.

There are over 120 ski areas scattered across the Heartlands with the most grouped around the Great Lakes states. Michigan has the most ski areas with a little over 40 followed by 30 in Wisconsin and 19 in Minnesota. Michigan's Mount Bohemia in Michigan's UP was recently voted as the top ski resort in the United States by USA Today readers in it's annual poll.

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Trollhaugen Nears Completion On New Chairlift

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Trollhaugen, one of the Badger State's oldest ski areas is nearing completion on its latest improvements. It was the fourth ski area to open in Wisconsin in 1950. Only Granite Peak,1937, Wilmot Mountain 1938, and Mont Du Lac in 1948 opened earlier. 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.

“The Summit Expansion is getting closer to the finish line! New chair, new trails, new snowmaking, new lights, new memories to be made. Bring on the cold. SKOL,” is a current post on the ski area's Facebook page.

Two summers ago they removed the old two-person single-speed chair 1 and installed a new variable speed four-person chairlift that greatly improved uphill capacity. They also began clearing three new trails on the east side of the summit area and added snowmaking. The following summer saw them finish that project with lighting added to the new runs. This past summer 2023 they started construction on another new, variable three-person chairlift on the southeast side of the summit area and added more new trails in that area.

Trollhaugen currently offers 30 runs, four quad chairs, four surface tows, three terrain parks, 10 snow tubing lanes, and a 2.5km cross country trail.. On Friday nights throughout the season, they remain open until 3 am. with live music in the lounge.

They were able to open a couple of runs for about three days earlier last weekend, one of the first to open in the Heartland. That drew some snowboarders from Chicago, over a five hour drive, to make the trip and kickoff the season. They are currently making snow when temperatures allow and anticipate reopening before Thanksgiving for the season. They are offering a Thanksgiving race camp November 24-26.

It's been called a time machine, hearkening back to the Heartland's older, smaller ski areas, and a true Midwest gem.

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Handful Of Midwest Ski Areas Celebrating Milestones This Season

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Five Heartland ski areas are celebrating significant milestones this season. All have been in business at least 65 years and a couple started in 85 and one 75 years ago, according to the National Ski Areas Association.

Pine Mountain, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and Wilmot Mountain, just north of Chicago along the Wisconsin border, opened in 1938, and celebrate 85 years this season. They opened just a couple of years after Sun Valley in the west and Bromley Mountain opened in the east, both credited with kicking off the North American ski resort industry. That first chairlift installed at Sun Valley 87 years ago was purchased by Everett Kircher in 1947, moved to Boyne Mountain and introduced the modern era of skiing to the Heartland. It's still in use hauling visitors to the top of Mountain to hike across the world's longest timber towered suspension bridge that was opened last fall. It's available to walk across year round.

Wilmot Mountain, located just north of Chicago along Wisconsin’s border, also turned 85 this season. Its unassuming vertical drop of 230 feet is offset by its stature with the million or so skiers that have skied here since it opened in 1938. It offers 25 trails, seven lifts and two surface tows to accommodate the large weekend crowds.

Pine Mountain is also home to the Kiwanis Ski Club jumping tournament that draws the best jumpers worldwide every year. Jump Weekend is where the US jumping record was set at 140 meters/459 feet and is still held here. The ski area offers a 500-foot vertical, 27 runs, three chairlifts and two surface tows.

Lutsen Mountains, 75 years old, opened in 1948. It's the largest ski resort around the Great Lakes with a nearly 900-foot vertical, the only gondola in the Heartland, and 95 runs scattered across four mountains. It lives up to its namesake “Mountains of the Midwest.” It's located in Minnesota's Arrowhead offering gorgeous views of Lake Superior from most of it's trails.

Michigan's Nubs Nob and Wisconsin’s Tyrol BasinPine both opened in 1958 and celebrated 65 years in business this season.

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Wisconsin's Trollhaugen Making Major Improvements

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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.

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Vail's Midwest Ski Areas Lower Season Pass Rates

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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.

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Require Reservations For Vail Resort's Midwest Ski Areas

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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.

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Three Midwest Ski Areas Celebrating Milestones

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One of the Heartland's oldest ski areas, Wisconsin's Wilmot Mountain, is celebrating its 82nd year in business in 2020. Indianhead, part of the UP's Big Snow Resort, is celebrating 60 this spring and Mt. Bohemia, also located in Michigan's UP is turning 20.

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Several Heartland Female Ski Clinics Through February

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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.

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A Couple of Midwest Ski Associations Offer Savings On Lift Tickets

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What skier or snowboarder isn't looking for a way to save a buck or two on a daily lift ticket?

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New Season Pass Options For Heartlanders

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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.

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Midwest Passes That Offer Multiple Ski Areas

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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.

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Tubing Is Popular In Midwest

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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.

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Romancing The Midwest Slopes

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Love is on the slopes. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but why not consider the whole month of February for a romantic getaway with a little skiing and riding mixed in. Here are some of the best choices around the Great Lakes.

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Female Ski Clinics Taking Place Across Heartland

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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.

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Michigan, Wisconsin Associations Offer Ways To Reduce Lift Ticket Costs

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The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) is offering a White Gold Card that allows you to ski or snowboard a full day at 33 Michigan ski areas, and Skiing Wisconsin offers a coupon book allowing you a day at 17 participating Badger State ski areas. It keeps your lift ticket cost for the day to around $8.

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Hi-Tech Ski Resort Wayfinding In The Digital Age

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When visiting a ski resort for the first time, most people check out the trail map to plan their day. But whereas 30 years ago it was a paper map, today it is likely to be on a smartphone or computer. 

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Some Old Midwest Standbys Turned 80 This Winter

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Wilmot Mountain in the early days. (Wilmot/Facebook) 

Three of the Heartland’s oldest ski areas, Granite Peak and Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin, and Caberfae Peaks in Michigan, turned 80 this winter, and all are thriving well. 

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SnoCountry SnoCast: Rockies Still Snowy, East Gets Everything

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Aspen Snowmass in a sweet spot this week. (Jordan Curet)

The Eastern United States will see it all this week from snow and cold to warmth and rain. The West will be consistently snowy, especially across the Rockies.

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Several Heartland Female Ski Clinics Taking Place

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Ski Girl's Rock on Afton Alps' slopes. (Afton Alps/Facebook)

Over the next few weeks seven Midwest ski areas are hosting women’s ski and snowboard clinics. Two ski areas are located in Indiana, and one each in Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.

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