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Wisconsin Ski Area Guide -- Very Complete

  • Alpine Valley Resort, White Lake (Milwaukee Metro) • 90 skiable acres on 388' vertical
    Specs: 14 Lifts: 1 quad, 5 triples, 3 doubles, 5 surface. Uphill capacity: 15,000/hr. Terrain Mix: 40-40-20. Longest Run: 3000'. Season: usually December to March. Night skiing 7 days. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 80". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: Proximity to Chicago and Milwaukee means that Alpine Valley is pretty much what you might expect: Overcrowded, flying bodies, liftline rudeness. On the positive side, it does have a legitimate 380+ feet of vertical, and the lifts keep people chugging up the hill fairly well. Considering the suburban location and everything else working against it, you have to give Alpine Valley credit for running a half decent ski resort.


  • Mt. Ashwabay, Bayfield (Northwest) • 65 skiable acres on 317' vertical
    Specs: 5 Lifts: 1 t-bar, 4 rope tows. Uphill capacity: 5,500/hr. Terrain Mix: 30-30-40. Longest Run: 3000'. Season: usually December to March; Weds. and weekends. Night skiing. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 120".
    The SKInny: Ashwabay is a local secret with a 1500' t-bar. It's a full-fledged ski resort -- albeit small -- that lives on Lake Superior snowfalls. Prices are unbelievably cheap -- a fantastic ski bargain. Link provided here is for official State of Wisconsin snow report, which has current info on Mount Ashwabay.


  • Ausblick Ski Club, Sussex (Milwaukee metro) • 10 skiable acres on 150' vertical
    Specs: 1 triple, 1 surface lift. Snowmaking. Private ski club; no other specifications known.
    The SKInny: Ski club with membership open to virtually anyone, but be warned the waiting list grows. Membership limited to 365 families/couples etc. Very well run group.


  • Bruce Mound, Black River Falls (I-94 near Eau Claire) • 40 skiable acres on 375' vertical
    Specs: 3 Lifts: 2 t-bars, 1 rope tow. Uphill capacity: 1100/hr. Terrain Mix: 29-29-42. Longest Run: 3000'. Season: usually December to mid-March, Fri-Sun plus holidays. Night skiing on Fridays. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 45". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: Opened by a ski club in 1948, this is a community hill operated by Clark County. Prices are reasonable, terrain is fun, expansion is planned. Definitely worth a visit.
    Signature Trail: Old Main.


  • Camp 10, Rhinelander (Northern) • 120 skiable acres on 240' vertical
    Camp 10 lodge back in the day Specs: 4 Lifts: 1 double, 2 t-bars, 1 rope tow. Uphill capacity: 2500/hr. Terrain Mix: 40-40-20. Longest Run: 1800'. Season: usually early December to mid-March. Night skiing Thu-Sat. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 60". Snowmaking: 40%.
    The SKInny: Upper midwest stalwart, Camp 10 boasts a handful of easy runs in nicely wooded terrain. Area has seen some tough times, but manages to hang on. The 35 year old photo gives you a feel for the atmosphere -- we could use more ski areas like this. A true classic.


  • Cascade Mountain, Portage (Madison Metro) • 135 skiable acres on 460' vertical
    Cascade Mountain ski area Portage Wisconsin Specs: Summit elevation: 1280'; Base elevation: 820'. 10 Lifts: 3 quads, 3 triples, 2 doubles, 1 rope tow, 1 magic carpet. Uphill capacity: 15,300/hr. Terrain Mix: 37-19-44. Longest Run: 1800'. Season: usually late November to mid-March. Night skiing 7 days. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 80". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: Has a reputation for being crowded, although their stated capacity would belie that. Known for being the best skiing in the state, with the slowest lines on the planet -- from lift ticket purchases to rentals to liftlines -- you'll do much better at Cascade during the week, or plan on arriving before 9:00 AM on Saturdays. Nice mogul trail for hotshots, best layout in WI for wanderers. All around good ski area...not great...good.
    Signature Trail: North Wall or Mogul Monster.


  • Christie Mountain, Bruce (Northwest) • 20 skiable acres on 350' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 1650'; Base elevation: 1300'. 5 Lifts: 1 double, 1 t-bar, 1 handle tow, 2 rope tows. Uphill capacity: 8,800/hr. Terrain Mix: 40-25-35. Longest Run: 4000'. Season: usually November to mid-March, Wed-Sun. Night skiing Wed-Sat. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 60". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: Small, uncrowded family oriented ski area. Nothing here for the true hotshot, and definitely nothing of interest for the wanderer. Great area for beginners and developing skiers, frequently has great snow conditions.
    Signature Trail: Whitetail.


  • Christmas Mountain Village, Wisconsin Dells (Madison Area) • 40 skiable acres on 250' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 1250'; Base elevation: 1000'. 3 Lifts: 2 doubles, 1 surface. Uphill capacity: 3,000/hr. Terrain Mix: 40-40-20. Longest Run: 2640'. Season: usually mid-December to mid-March. Night skiing 7 days. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 40". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: Another of those golf/condo/shopping resorts that happens to offer skiing, mainly to entice you into the restaurant, sign up for timeshares, etc. Couple of trails, not bad for what it is. Serious skiers needn't bother.
    Signature Trail: Chute.


  • Crystal Ridge, Franklin (Milwaukee Metro) • 75 skiable acres on 225' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 290'; Base elevation: 65'. 5 Lifts: 2 doubles, 3 surface. Uphill capacity: 2500/hr. Terrain Mix: 20-50-30. Longest Run: 2100'. Season: usually January to mid-March. Night skiing 7 days. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 50". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: Known locally as "The Ditch," Crystal Ridge is built atop a former garbage dump that the ski area leases from the county. The ski area and the county sue each other over taxes. Ain't that America? It's small, the conditions can be tough, but they sure try hard. Great for beginners, close to the city, affordable. Layout is sort of upside-down; except there's not much up...not much down. Kind of, well, kind of like a ditch. Regulars swear by it, in a "yeah it sucks, but it's ours" sort of way.
    Signature Trail: Bulldozer.


  • Devil's Head Lodge, Merrimac (Madison Area) • 260 skiable acres on 500' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 995'; Base elevation: 495'. 16 Lifts: 3 quads, 1 triple, 6 doubles, 5 surface, 1 magic carpet. Uphill capacity: 15,800/hr. Terrain Mix: 30-40-30. Longest Run: 8245'. Season: usually late November to mid-March. Night skiing 7 days. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 70". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: With a little more vertical and interesting pitch than Cascade, Devil's Head should be tops in the state, but alas, suffers from dated infrastructure. Slow lifts, lousy snowmaking equipment, old facilities, bladdy blah blah. Anyway, some of the trails are terrific. Some of the pitches will get your blood pumping. The layout is straightforward: Novices on the left side of the mountain, intermediates in the middle, experts on the right. Has plans to expand, but, we'll see. A few detachable quads would do more for this operation than increased terrain.
    Signature Trail: Cyclops.


  • Grand Geneva Resort, Lake Geneva (Milwaukee Area) • 20 skiable acres on 211' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 1086'; Base elevation: 874'. 5 Lifts: 3 doubles, 2 rope tows. Uphill capacity: 4,200/hr. Terrain Mix: 30-40-30. Longest Run: 1320'. Season: usually December to mid-March. Night skiing 7 days. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 46". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: The first time you see the ski hills at Grand Geneva you'll wonder why you bothered. You'll ski anyway, because that's what true skiers do. After your first run you'll say, "wow, that was a lot better than I expected." Then you'll look back at the small hill, scratch your head, and wonder. Ask anybody who skis GG and they'll tell you that it's small, but for some reason they can't explain, it's a blast. Well, here's a bit of a history lesson. The current configuration of the ski slopes are virtually identical to the original 1960s plan, when the Playboy Club took over the site and revamped and re-molded the modest hills into something skiable. While many small resort ski areas sprung up all around the country in the 1960s, the fact that this one still survives is testament to the fact that it has always been an interesting and enjoyable ski experience, on hills that really have no right to even be a ski area. Ask any family or developing skier about Grand Geneva, and they'll tell you it's a blast, because it is. The terrain is intermediate at best, and the slopes are very short, but everybody smiles at the bottom of the hill. I wonder if anyone remembers the Snow Bunnies?
    Signature Trail:


  • Granite Peak at Rib Mountain, Wausau (Northern) • 400 skiable acres on 700' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 1924'; Base elevation: 1224'. 7 Lifts: 1 six-pack, 1 quad, 2 triples, 2 doubles, 1 surface. Uphill capacity: 9,200/hr. Terrain Mix: 35-30-35. Longest Run: 5288'. Season: usually late November to early April. Night skiing 7 days. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 75". Snowmaking: 100%.
    Granite Peak Ski area near Wausau WisconsinThe SKInny: With 700' vertical, Rib Mountain was always thought of as "what could be." With recent improvements, double the terrain, quadrupled snowmaking, new chairs, and a new look, Granite has to be a contender for best in the state. It's also bound to make a few less cars head to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. As a skier, you have to be excited when good stuff like this happens. Maybe some will yearn for the days of Rib's $10 lift ticket, but even at much higher pricing, the current Granite is a much better value. Something for everyone: Plenty of easy terrain, hot drops for the hotshot, and now, lots of room for the wanderer.
    Signature Trail: Exhibition.


  • Mt. Hardscrabble, Rice Lake (northern) • 20 skiable acres on 150' vertical
    Specs: 1 chairlift, 1 t-bar, 1 rope tow. Snowmaking. Longest run 420'. A pleasant little farm field; low costs, decent snow, fun place. Beware that the website is pop-up heaven.


  • Heiliger Huegel Ski Club, Northwest (Milwaukee metro) • 20 skiable acres on 200' vertical
    Specs: 1 chairlift, 1 surface lift. Private ski club; no other specifications known. Season: usually December to March.
    The SKInny: This is a hill most Wisconsin skiers would love to try, but it is only open to members and guests. New memberships are available, via applications, sponsorship, etc. Very well done club ski operation.


  • Highlands of Olympia, Oconomowoc (Milwaukee area) • 25 skiable acres on 205' vertical
    Specs: 3 Lifts: 2 doubles, 1 surface. Uphill capacity: 2,000/hr. Terrain Mix: 50-30-20. Longest Run: 2500'. Season: usually mid-December to mid-March. Night skiing 7 days. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 50". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: This is a golf/racquet club type place that provides a nice little ski area, midway between Madison and Milwaukee. Nice little place, family atmosphere. Not much of a hill, but regulars take their skiing seriously here.


  • Keyes Peak Ski Hill, Florence (Northern) • 15 skiable acres on 230' vertical
    Specs: 3 rope tows. Uphill capacity: 1,000/hr. Terrain Mix: 20-60-20. Longest Run: 450'. Season: usually late December to mid-March; Fri-Sun. Night skiing. Rentals. Annual Snowfall: 60". Snowmaking: 40%.
    The SKInny:Small, local tow run by Florence County Forestry and Parks Department. Nice little operation. With so much bigger nearby, you're not likely to stop, but the ski enthusiast should check in and support little deals like this every now and then. This is an absolute asset to the community.


  • Mt. LaCrosse, LaCrosse (Northern) • 100 skiable acres on 516' vertical
    Mt LaCrosse ski area WisconsinSpecs: Summit elevation: 1110'; Base elevation: 594'. 4 Lifts: 3 doubles, 1 rope tow. Uphill capacity: 3,500/hr. Terrain Mix: 30-40-30. Longest Run: 5300'. Season: usually late November to March. Night skiing 7 days. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 30". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: Older ski area, lifts and infrastructure a bit dated, so you may wait on line at times. Runs are short, but it is a fun ski area with varied terrain. Unique geological formation creates a natural bluff, and the trail on the face of that bluff (Damnation) is a legendary midwest slope that all dedicated skiers should attempt at least once. "Feels" like a much bigger ski area. By using either of the longest routes -- Mileaway or Thunderation/Loop -- you can enjoy two cruisers that replicate skiing at much larger hills.
    Signature Trail: Damnation.


  • Little Switzerland Ski Area & Lodge, Slinger (Southeast) • 50 skiable acres on 200' vertical • CURRENTLY CLOSED
    Little Switzerland ski area WisconsinSpecs: 7 Lifts: 1 quad, 4 doubles, 2 rope tows. Uphill capacity: 4,500/hr. Terrain Mix: 20-50-30. Longest Run: 1800'. Season: usually December to March. Night skiing 7 days. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 45". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: Was a nice little ski hill, strong family environment, but they don't shy away from snowboarder programs, etc. Somehow they made it work, it was a well run resort, but the family isn't able to continue. If you're interested in preserving this fantastic bit of Wisconsin skiing, please click here.
    Signature Trail: Big Deal.


  • Mont du Lac, Superior (Northwest) • 55 skiable acres on 300' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 917'; Base elevation: 617'. 2 Lifts: 1 double, 1 rope tow. Uphill capacity: 2,500/hr. Terrain Mix: 33-34-33. Longest Run: 2400'. Season: usually late November to late March/early April. Closed Mondays. Night skiing Tues-Sat. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 95". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: Look, I'll tell you why I like this place. First off, it has lots of white stuff, and it stays COLD. Secondly, the most expensive lift ticket is $15; the highest priced rental is $13...you do the math. The terrain isn't great, but it isn't bad. Pleasant countryside, decent (if short) runs. As small hills go, this is a top-notch operation.
    Signature Trail: The Bowl.


  • Navarino Slopes, Navarino (Northeast Central) • unknown skiable acres on 109' vertical
    Specs: 2 Lifts: 1 double, 1 rope tow. Terrain Mix: 40-20-40. Season: usually December to late March. Open Fri-Sat-Sun. Open Thursdays by reservation only. Night skiing. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 50". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: Don't have much info on this place, only know that prices are dirt cheap and they do their darndest to provide a good skiing experience. There are five designated runs, ranging from bunny hill to extreme (which is only open when conditions permit). Navarino Here's a field report: I am a ski patroller at a small hill in Wisconsin called Navarino Slopes. It is a little known hill, open to the skiing public of eastern Wisconsin. We service beginner to intermediate level skiers and snowboarders and in the winter of '05 we will be adding a tube lift and run. It is a great hill to get the beginners out and plant that skiing/snowboarding seed in their hearts. So there you have it. Here's our opinion: It's covered in snow, it's priced right, and it isn't crowded. What's not to like?


  • Nordic Mountain, Mt. Morris (Northern) • 85 skiable acres on 265' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 1137'; Base elevation: 872'. 6 Lifts: 1 triple, 1 double, 4 surface. Uphill capacity: 6000/hr. Terrain Mix: 15-50-35. Longest Run: 5280'. Season: usually December to March. Night skiing. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 80". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: Another small, homey ski area. Uphill capacity indeed delivers; this area has a reputation for having very short liftlines. Unfortunately it has very short runs, but hey, this is Wisconsin. 90 minutes from Green Bay. Conditions are usually decent.
    Signature Trail: Nitro.


  • Nutt Ski Hill, Plymouth (Sheboygan Area) • 7 skiable acres on 125' vertical
    Specs: 2 rope tows, snowmaking.
    The SKInny: Community ski hill, operated by parks dept., formerly known as City of Plymouth Ski Area. As skiers, we absolutely must support these operations.


  • Ski Sunburst, Kewaskum (Milwaukee area) • 35 skiable acres on 214' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 1100'; Base elevation: 866'. 7 Lifts: 3 doubles, 4 surface, 1 magic carpet. Uphill capacity: 3500/hr. Terrain Mix: 20-35-45. Longest Run: 1300'. Season: usually late November to March; Fri-Sun. Night skiing. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 50". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: Smallish area with very little elbow room, seems to cater to snowboarders. Between the tubing area and the terrain park (snowboarders only) actual skiing terrain is about 15 acres.
    Signature Trail: Exhibition.


  • Standing Rocks Park, Stevens Point (Northern) • 30 skiable acres on 125' vertical
    Specs: 3 rope tows. Uphill capacity: 1000/hr. Terrain Mix: 25-50-25. Longest Run: 1200'. Season: usually December-March. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 45".
    The SKInny: Operated by Portage County Parks Department from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. during the season. Lodge and ski shop on site. These places won't get your heart pumping too much, but everybody smiles and has a good day at community tows like this.


  • Sylvan Hill, Wausau (North Central) • 54 skiable acres on 110' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 1190'; Base elevation: 1300'. 4 Lifts: 4 rope tows. Uphill capacity: 2700/hr. Terrain Mix: 60-40-0. Longest Run: 1800'. Season: usually January-March; Fri-Sun. Night skiing. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 50".
    The SKInny: Nice little community tow, operated by Marathon County Parks & Recreation, appears to have gone exclusively to tubing. Will update.


  • Tyrol Basin, Mt. Horeb(Madison area) • 24 skiable acres on 300' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 1160'; Base elevation: 860'. 6 Lifts: 3 triples, 2 rope tows, 1 handle tow. Uphill capacity: 5100/hr. Terrain Mix: 32-28-40. Longest Run: 2640'. Season: usually late November to early April. Night skiing 7 days. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 50". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: Small as full-fledged ski areas go, nice ticket options, great atmosphere. Also has unusual lift/trail configuration on the right hand side (looking at the mountain) that lends an added dimension and makes it feel a bit bigger than it is. Excellent deals for beginners, some challenging stuff for experts. All-around top notch little ski area.


  • Trollhaugen, Dresser (Northern) • 80 skiable acres on 280' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 1200'; Base elevation: 920'. 10 Lifts: 2 quads, 1 double, 7 rope tows. Uphill capacity: 10,000/hr. Terrain Mix: 29-43-28. Longest Run: 2500'. Season: usually late November to March. Night skiing 7 days. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 50". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: Has an old-fashioned skiing feel, which is great for easy, low stress ski days. Let's face it, none of the trails at the Troll will cause stress (although the weekend lines might). Pleasant -- if a bit short -- terrain.
    Signature Trail: Lee's Run or Bjorkedahl.


  • Whitecap Mountains Resort, Montreal (Northern) • 500 skiable acres on 400' vertical
    Specs: Summit elevation: 1750'; Base elevation: 1350'. 9 Lifts: 1 quad, 1 triple, 4 doubles, 2 rope tows, 1 magic carpet. Uphill capacity: 9400/hr. Terrain Mix: 33-34-33. Longest Run: 5280'. Season: usually December to March. Some night skiing. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 200". Snowmaking: 90%.
    The SKInny: The wanderer will say this is the best ski resort in Wisconsin; the beginnner just might call it the worst. It's actually neither one...just a big, and at times confusing, place. Usually great conditions, although east of Colorado everything gets icy now and then. Has one of the most bizarre lifts in the western hemisphere. Something here for everyone -- all around good ski area.
    Signature Trail: The Dragon.


  • Wilmot Mountain, Wilmot (Milwaukee area) • 120 skiable acres on 230' vertical
    Specs: 14 Lifts: 1 quad, 3 triples, 4 doubles, 6 surface. Uphill capacity: 12,500/hr. Terrain Mix: 30-30-40. Longest Run: 2500'. Season: usually December to March. Night skiing 7 days. Rentals & Lessons. Annual Snowfall: 35". Snowmaking: 100%.
    The SKInny: Think about it: This is a small hill located close to two urban centers. It gets very little natural snow, is under constant pressure to be developed as something other than a ski slope, and relies on semi-antiquated equipment. Considering all that, the fact that Wilmot provides runs up to a half mile, short liftlines, and acceptable snow cover, you have to give them a lot of credit (heh heh). Yeah, it's a beginner's hill. The expert can use it to limber up for the season, but will quickly be bored. Knowing that, Wilmot gets high marks due to the odds stacked against it and provides a darned fine skiing product, all things considered.
    Signature Trail: Sidewinder.


  • Woodside Ranch, Mauston (Central) • 5 skiable acres on 100' vertical
    Specs: 1 rope tow. Longest run 1000'. Lessons & Rentals; all free for guests of the Woodside Ranch, a "dude ranch" type operation.


Status Unknown:

  • Wintergreen Ski Hill, Wisconsin Dells (Central) • 25 skiable acres on 410' vertical Now believed to be a "lost" ski area.
    Specs: 3 lifts. Longest run 1300'. No snowmaking, rentals or lessons. Affiliated with Spring Green.


  • Winter Park Recreation Area, Kewaunee (Northern)
    Specs: Operated by the County Parks Dept., verified to be a tubing hill with sporadic operations; skiing status unknown.


Feedback

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Best all-around Skiing Guide for Women...

Mom has a pretty raw deal on the average ski trip. They're expected to make sure every child is geared up and ready to go...settle the arguments, feed the family, prepare the snacks, pack the chapstick, and so on...and then ski the black diamonds with dad after the second lesson.

Sound familiar?

The book, Skiing: A Woman's Guide by Maggie Loring and Molly Mulhern Gross ought to be mandatory reading for every ski mom. It not only provides the basics for managing the gang, it also gives a step-by-step instructional guide from a woman's point-of-view. This link is to amazon.com, where you can usually pick up a used copy for about two bucks. Mom, it's the best two bucks you'll spend all winter.

Key

Hotshots are skiers who can ski anywhere, anytime, in any conditions, and generally enjoy showing off those skills. Wanderers are skiers who like to go exploring, to essentially get "lost" and move from face to face, seldom skiing the same trail twice. Newbies are the girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband who has never skied before, but gamely insists on going along. Obviously, Blues represents intermediate skiers, while Blacks refers to experts.

A note about ski area statistics: Although it's hard to believe, some ski areas are (gasp!) less than truthful with their numbers. Like the guy who lies about his, uh, shoe size, some ski areas believe that inflated numbers make their resort sound more appealling. When these numbers are obviously questionable, we put a note: (?!) and will attempt to verify the legitimacy of the claim.

A Signature Trail Is mostly subjective. Whether it's history, reputation, the view, or degree of difficulty...it's the run you have to do, even if it isn't necessarily the best the resort has to offer. If a ski area calls a trail by two names (one at the top, and another at the bottom) in an effort to claim more trails, we go by the upper name. If a trail is called "Upper Whatever" and "Lower Whatever," we simply list it as "Whatever" in this index.

More

Use this to get Lift Tickets at Discount: There is a "clearinghouse" of sorts that many ski areas use to raise cash by selling discount tickets in advance, called Liftopia . If you haven't used this service, it is usually best to know for certain that you are going on a specific date. The deeply discounted tickets must be purchased in advance; generally up to two days out. The sticking point is that some ski resorts only make a limited number of tickets available to Liftopia for any given day, so they might be sold out if you wait too long...so, as soon as you are absolutely, positively sure that you will be skiing on a certain day, click this link to get deeply discounted tickets . I've used this service many times, usually when I am absolutely certain I will be skiing on a specific date. Some resorts offer "flex" tickets with which you can specify the date, and some have a few different tiers of pricing. In other words, you might be able to get a lift ticket that can be used on different days, but you'll pay a little more for that privilege. You need to have access to a printer to print out your receipt, and you have to take identification with you to the mountain. I've knocked a third off -- even half off -- the price of some tickets. Not every area participates, but it's well worth checking before you head to the slopes.

A tiny portion of your Liftopia purchase helps fund this website, at no added cost.

If the ski resort business interests you, I strongly recommend a book by Hal Clifford called Downhill Slide: Why the Corporate Ski Industry is Bad for Skiing, Ski Towns, and the Environment. It provides an inside look at the marketing logic behind clocktower villages, and the dubious practices of the US Forest Service that enables these resorts to be built. Fascinating reading.

Ski Movies for Mere Mortals

Did you ever feel like those big money ski movies are often a big let-down? You get all pumped up for the new release from some ski film company, and it's mostly incredible footage of guys jumping out of helicopters and shredding down some un-named mountain on the far side of the globe. They're neck deep in powder, skiing lines that you'll never, ever see. If you want ski movies you could actually relate to, a bunch of guys called The Meatheads, from Burlington, VT have made a series of "Ski The East" films. They film at real resorts like Sugarloaf, Blue Mountain, Big Boulder, Mount Snow, Ski Sundown, Stowe, Jay, Mountain Creek, Killington, Sunday River...urban locations ranging from Virginia to Quebec...mogul skiing with The Hammer and Radio Ron...and backcountry throughout New York, New England, and the Chic Chocs. It's simply fantastic -- and since it's the same terrain we can get to, it's inspirational!

Their most popular current release is No Matter What , which received the ski equivalent of an Oscar for the Jay Peak powder segment, filmed during 2012 of all things. One that is probably their best is from a year ago, called Prime Cut . Another favorite is Wanderland: An East Coast Ski Thriller. All Meatheads DVDs have hours of "bonus" footage, so it's like getting three ski movies for the price of one. The links go to Amazon.com, which enables you to order and return if you don't like them. And a small percentage of the sale helps us pay the expenses of this website, at no extra cost to you.

Here's a preview, courtesy Youtube...




Masthead photo Muir Knoll ski jump by Del Dessens, from the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections. Used by permission.