Elevation is hard to come by in the Midwest. That’s why you’ll find skiers and snowboarders flocking west to popular spots like Mammoth and Jackson Hole, excited to fly down 3,000 vertical foot runs.
While the slopes in the Midwest may only boast a fraction of that altitude with drops of 300 to 900 feet, you’ll find numerous ski resorts that offer great runs and a few benefits you won’t find out West.
Perks of Skiing Midwest Slopes
Perhaps the biggest benefit of staying away from the Rockies and the Tetons is the price tag. Season tickets out West can cost thousands of dollars, with Telluride’s Unlimited Season Pass for one adult costing $2,600 or just over $200 for a day pass.
Between booking your flight, accommodations, parking costs at the mountain, and any après-ski indulgences, even a short ski trip can add up quickly.
Comparatively, a season pass at Minnesota’s Lutsen Mountains will only run you $899, and a weekday pass costs $95 for one adult, making skiing in the Midwest more affordable, especially for families and young skiers.
Midwest slopes are also great for beginner skiers. The smaller hills are less intimidating to learn the fundamentals, and with fewer crowds than out West, young kids and older novices can feel more comfortable practicing new skills without fear of running into other skiers.
Fewer crowds, short lines, and shorter runs also bode well for experienced skiers. They can get in more laps to hone their skill set or practice a tricky technique.
New Renovations and Upgrades
To keep more skiers on the local slopes, many Midwest ski resorts have invested in major renovations and upgrades. New amenities, facilities, and terrain mimic what people love out West.
Lutsen Mountains already offers skiers 1,000 acres over four mountains, 825-foot lift, 95 runs, the only Gondola in the region, five on-site restaurants, lessons, events, and more.
With Lutsen’s recent expansion plan, the ski resort is looking to add eight new chairlifts, hundreds of acres of new cleared and gladed ski terrain, two new base facilities with food and bar services, restrooms, as well as space for administrative offices, storage, and ski patrol, additional parking spots, and a new chalet on top of Moose Mountain.
Lutsen also draws in skiers because of the beautiful and convenient lodging surrounding the area.
Caribou Highlands Lodge, for instance, is a slope-side, full-amenity ski-in/ski-out resort, making access to the mountain quick and the return after a long, full day a short and easy one.
Other great lodging options for skiers include Eagle Ridge Resort, another ski-in/ski-out resort, or Lutsen Resort, situated on the shores of Lake Superior, offering spectacular scenery and a classic North Shore experience.
Mount Bohemia on Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula also made new upgrades, adding two new trails, Fireball and Triton, to their expansive terrain, which includes the highest run in the Midwest at 900 feet and exhilarating cliff drops and steep chutes.
Mount Bohemia also offers a Nordic spa, restaurant, and diverse accommodations such as a yurt, cabins, lodge, camping, or an affordable hostel.
With new improvements and convenient lodging, skiers and snowboarders can enjoy upgraded and more diverse terrain right in their backyard.
Afton Alps provides Midwest skiers with a unique opportunity.
Owned by Vail Resorts, Afton Alps offers the Epic Pass, an unlimited all-access pass to not only Afton but all Vail Resorts, including Vail, Breck, Park City, Whistler, and more. Plus, pass holders can get 20% off food, lodging, lessons, and rentals.
So, for those already planning a trip out West, why not stop at Afton first and get warmed up? Afton offers 300 acres of varied terrain, 50 runs, 18 lifts, five chalets, an acclaimed ski and ride school, and night skiing where both beginners and experienced skiers can have a great time out on the slopes.
Epic Mix Racing App
In addition to the Epic Pass, you can get the EpicMix Racing app which uses RFID technology, allowing skiers and snowboarders to track their experience online or race against Minnesota native Lindsey Vonn’s race times.
Midwest ski resorts are creating more and more incentives to ski locally, where skiers can take advantage of upgraded terrain, technology, and amenities at a fraction of the price of a trip out West.