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Best ski area in the MIDWEST???

post #1 of 85
Thread Starter 
I'd probably go with Indianhead in the UP (Upper Pennisula of Michigan) or Boyne Highlands. I've never skiied outside of Michigan, other than outwest, so i'd be interested in other good spots in the midwest. Thanks
post #2 of 85
Chestnut Ski Area in IL is pretty cool. Nice facilities and a decent hill.
post #3 of 85
Sundown in Dubuque is like Chestnut, only better. And I wouldn't recommend either of them.

There's Afton Alps, I hear that's really nice. What about Tyrol. SLATZ?
post #4 of 85
Go to Nubs Nob, end of story. Best snow and grooming in the midwest and much shorter lines than the Boynes. They also cut some new glades and added a couple new trails this year. Lastly, Nubs has fewer out-of-control dangerous newbies (and occasionally just dangerous idiots) than the Boynes attract.
post #5 of 85
I'd go down the road to Blackjack WAY before I'd hit Indianhead. And across the street to Nubs Nob before the Highlands.

Here is my unqualified, opinion-based rankings of Michigan ski areas:

U.P.
1. Marquette Mountain
2. Blackjack
3. Powderhorn
4. Mont Ripley
5. Indianhead

(I didn't include Bohemia because it is untraditional.... purely lift accessed backcountry. No snowmaking or grooming. A great place, but a totally different category. You probably already know if you want to go there.)

Lower Peninsula:
1. Boyne Mountain
2. Nubs Nob
3. Crystal Mountain
4. Boyne Highlands
5. Schuss Mountain

OK, why not include Wisconsin and Minnesota, too?

Wisconsin:
1. Mount Lacrosse
2. Ski Brule (actually just across the border in Michigan, but it would be last on the U.P list, and they always have mostly wisconsin skiers there)
3. Granite Peak

Minnesota:
1. Lutsen
2. Giants Ridge
3. Welch Village
4. Spirit Mountain

Afton Alps sucks. More chairlifts than runs, and more people than you can fit on the hill. Oh, and probably 300 feet of vertical.
post #6 of 85
Check out www.goski.com select United States and then resorts and the state. You can see the verticals, number of trails and percentage of expert runs, etc. When we lived in Chicago, we always liked Devil's Head in Wisconsin with 500' vertical, but we weren't willing to drive much further than that (4 hours).


Have fun.
post #7 of 85
Tyrol's a really small(300 ft) area. We've got some good variety but lots of "reps" is our strong point.
The bar in the lodge is really nice and Josh, the bar manager, does some pretty good things. (like his F-1 Bloody Marys and his jars of peppered vodka) Did DJ ever give you a sample of those Bloody Marys I left him U.P.?
post #8 of 85
Nubs Nob in Harbor Springs, MI is the best small ski area in America.

Boyne Highlands is the best destination, family resort in the Midwest.

Indianhead is the best in the UP although financial woes have limited investment in the area in recent years and it is in need of some.

Mt Bohemia if you are looking for off piste skiing in the midwest....but it is a long way from everything with no facilities.

Granite Peak is the old Rib Mtn and has undergone a massive expansion and improvement...most vertical short of the UP.

Areas close to Chicago that are decent are Cascade, Chestnut Mountain, and Sundown. Chestnut is a destination resort.

Many areas are overly crowded on weekends.
post #9 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by nhskier
Check out www.goski.com select United States and then resorts and the state. You can see the verticals, number of trails and percentage of expert runs, etc. When we lived in Chicago, we always liked Devil's Head in Wisconsin with 500' vertical, but we weren't willing to drive much further than that (4 hours).


Have fun.
You must have driven really slow....we make it to DH in less than 3 hours unless slowed by traffic or weather. 4 hours gets you to Wausau and Granite Peak with 700 feet of vertical. Weekend crowds at DH can be daunting.

Of course, coming home from DH can be slow with the I90 bottleneck traffic of skiers and snowmobilers. Not much snow this year so the snowmobiler traffic has been light.
post #10 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by SLATZ
Did DJ ever give you a sample of those Bloody Marys I left him U.P.?

Nope. Make sure you bring some up next time......
post #11 of 85
I've only been to Wisconsin and UP resorts but of those I like :

Cascade - Yes, it can be crowded on weekends, but if you make your way over to the group of black runs on the far left (looking up from the base) the lift lines are way shorter...and on good days you can just keep skiing right up to the lift. The snowboarders like to hang out on the other side of the resort by the terrain park.

Whitecap Mountain - It has a little more of the feel of a Western resort (at least by Wisconsin standards). They have a good variety of runs. The lodging isn't bad and the people are friendly.

My daughter the snowboarder loves Tyrol Basin.

I'd like Granite Peak if we could actually be there sometime when they have more than half the runs open. The last two years we went on a Friday night in January and both times (even with decent snow conditions) between a third and half the runs were closed.

This season we'd like to check out Ski Brule for a weekend and maybe next season hit a few of the Michigan resorts.
post #12 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsimeral
You must have driven really slow....we make it to DH in less than 3 hours unless slowed by traffic or weather. 4 hours gets you to Wausau and Granite Peak with 700 feet of vertical. Weekend crowds at DH can be daunting.

Of course, coming home from DH can be slow with the I90 bottleneck traffic of skiers and snowmobilers. Not much snow this year so the snowmobiler traffic has been light.
I haven't been to Devil's Head in years, but I never remember going without lots of traffic. We came from Hinsdale, so were probably even closer than Wheaton. But, when you go north on 294 on a Friday night, it could take even longer than 4 hours. Sometimes it would take close to 2 hours just to get to the Wisconsin border.: Maybe the tollways are better now that the cost of tolls has doubled!

I live in New Hampshire now where I can get to 800 foot verticals in 30 minutes and over 2000 ft. verticals in 1.5 hrs! Of course, conditions are generally the same icy stuff that I used to ski at Devil's Head and Alpine Valley as a kid, so I feel right at home! My legs just hurt a lot more at the end of the day.
post #13 of 85
The problem i have with Granite Peak is when i went there, i found that they might have the vert they claim, but all that vert isn't put on the run. On on run (it was to the way right, and way left) i remember that you went over the edge had mabey about 1000ish (i cant really judge distance from memory very well but it was about the top 1/3rd or the run) feet of good angle, then the rest (the bottom 2/3rds) of the run were less sloped then bunny hills i've been on.
i remember that once i did too many tturns, and ended up having to skate to the lift. but the upside is that it has the best mix of terrain ive been on tree's park w/ good jumps, good enough bumps, a small chute (even though i thought it was too big) and if you skiied the way sides of the run there was even some deepish snow!
i have skiied devils, chestnut, and cascade. but that was awhile ago when i was still learning groomers so i wasn't really looking for terrain. IMHO if you are driving 3-4 hours from chicago go to 'the Peak'
post #14 of 85
Also I found that to my dissapointment, Granite doesn't really and truely have 72 runs, they divided most of their runs into 3 parts, 'the steep part', 'the not steep part' and 'the part you have to skate on to get to the lift part'
post #15 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsimeral
You must have driven really slow....we make it to DH in less than 3 hours unless slowed by traffic or weather. 4 hours gets you to Wausau and Granite Peak with 700 feet of vertical. Weekend crowds at DH can be daunting.

Of course, coming home from DH can be slow with the I90 bottleneck traffic of skiers and snowmobilers. Not much snow this year so the snowmobiler traffic has been light.
Less than 3 hrs to Devil's Head and 4 to Granite Peak? What kind of radar detectore are you using? I typically average 75mph and it took me 4hrs from Chicago to get to Devil's Head.

Forget Granite Peak's claim of 700ft of vertical unless you inlude the parking lot.
post #16 of 85
I'll vote for Mt. Bohemia followed by Searchmont then Lusten then Mont. Rockly eh.
post #17 of 85
The parking lot and the balloon on top of the lift tower
post #18 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski_steep
Less than 3 hrs to Devil's Head and 4 to Granite Peak? What kind of radar detectore are you using? I typically average 75mph and it took me 4hrs from Chicago to get to Devil's Head.
Thanks Ski Steep, I was beginning to wonder if middle age was getting the best of my memory!
post #19 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski_steep
Less than 3 hrs to Devil's Head and 4 to Granite Peak? What kind of radar detectore are you using? I typically average 75mph and it took me 4hrs from Chicago to get to Devil's Head.

Forget Granite Peak's claim of 700ft of vertical unless you inlude the parking lot.
Escort. But I don't drive faster than 75 normally. It is 2 1/2 hours or a little less (without traffic) from Wheaton to Madison, and then 35-40 minutes to DH. Of course, with traffic or weather it is more.

From my house we often take I88 to I39 to Rockford and Then I90 the rest of the way. Never go by way of I294. This way is a little longer but traffic is usually light unless you hit rush hour and then it is bad from Naperville thru Aurora.
post #20 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre
I'll vote for Mt. Bohemia followed by Searchmont then Lusten then Mont. Rockly eh.
Searchmont is a nice area. Forgot about it. It is 500 miles from Wheaton and a long drive. Usually go there when staying in Petosky (Nubs Knob and Boyne Highlands) for 4-5 days. Make a day trip out of it from there and doesn't seem like it is so far away. Cold place but nice mountain and scenery.
post #21 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by nhskier
I haven't been to Devil's Head in years, but I never remember going without lots of traffic. We came from Hinsdale, so were probably even closer than Wheaton. But, when you go north on 294 on a Friday night, it could take even longer than 4 hours. Sometimes it would take close to 2 hours just to get to the Wisconsin border.: Maybe the tollways are better now that the cost of tolls has doubled!

I live in New Hampshire now where I can get to 800 foot verticals in 30 minutes and over 2000 ft. verticals in 1.5 hrs! Of course, conditions are generally the same icy stuff that I used to ski at Devil's Head and Alpine Valley as a kid, so I feel right at home! My legs just hurt a lot more at the end of the day.
I was raised in Hinsdale, owned a business there for many years, and work in the ski shop there now.

If you take I294 north on a Friday night it is slow with lots of crazy drivers. As I said in another post we usually go I88 to I30 to US20 to I90 and NOT at rush hour. It would be longer than 3 hours...maybe a lot. We go earlier in the day on Friday or early Saturday or even during the week. That is where our driving times are in conflict.

NH is a much better place for skiers. My son lives in Franklin, MA and skis NH often. Will join him one of these days now that his move is permanent.
post #22 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsimeral
I was raised in Hinsdale, owned a business there for many years, and work in the ski shop there now.
I too was raised in Hinsdale, born there too, and was a Hinsdale Central graduate in 1986. I bought all of my equipment from King Keyser's (is that where you work?) and was in the Troll's program which took us to Wilmot Mountain (hill) every weekend. It was a great place to learn. And Keyser's was a great store. Too bad we didn't know the back roads when I was living there.

Wait awhile to visit your son if you are coming for the skiing. Conditions are horrid. I heard that 6" should be falling in Lincoln, NH in the next day, but I won't believe it until I see it. Plus, it will probably be followed by rain which will wipe it all out!!
post #23 of 85
So I see Searchmont listed. Does that mean Blue Mtn might qualify? (Never been there myself.) What about Holiday Valley in New York? From somewhere like Ann Arbor, Michigan I bet Holiday Valley would be closer than Boyne. Just curious. I grew up in Michigan and lived in Toledo, OH ("The armpit of America") for 3 years. I always sorta considered Holiday Valley and Peak 'n Peak midwest areas.

My personal favorite in Michigan was Boyne Highlands, though I had quite a few fun days at Schuss/Shanty Creek and Crystal.
post #24 of 85
If you're skiing weekends and in Michigan's NW LP, Schuss has the smallest crowds. The Boynes, Nubs and Crystal draw much larger crowds. Over the holidays, the Boynes had two days of record ticket sales. They set a record one day and broke it the next. Crystal does a teriffic job of marketing to families and draws huge numbers for the amount of facilities there. Nubs, of course, has a huge following of regulars from all over the state because of the reputation for snow farming. The terrain and lift capacity at Nubs isn't near as good as Boyne Mtn. unless you're into dodging trees, and Boyne has been working on getting better with its snow. Still a ways to go, however. I'd only go to Highlands over Nubs because it's free for me :~).
post #25 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by nhskier
I too was raised in Hinsdale, born there too, and was a Hinsdale Central graduate in 1986. I bought all of my equipment from King Keyser's (is that where you work?) and was in the Troll's program which took us to Wilmot Mountain (hill) every weekend. It was a great place to learn. And Keyser's was a great store. Too bad we didn't know the back roads when I was living there.

Wait awhile to visit your son if you are coming for the skiing. Conditions are horrid. I heard that 6" should be falling in Lincoln, NH in the next day, but I won't believe it until I see it. Plus, it will probably be followed by rain which will wipe it all out!!
There was no Hinsdale Central when I went to school there.....only Hinsdale. You are about the age of our youngest son who lives in Reno. We will probably visit him instead of the Boston branch....the Reno "kid" and his wife just had our 6th grandchild.

KK is still a going business and that is where I work part time. Trolls still buses about 400 kids every Sat to Wilmot....except this year. No snow....worst ever. In the early 80s **** Keyser sold out to one of the partners who has since retired and sold the shop to 2 guys about your age. They are going on the internet soon to expand the business.
post #26 of 85
yeah Kneale I'd have to agree with you, its tough to beat Boyne mt for lift cap. You can almost always get away from the crowd. Boyne mt. also has more steep terrain. As far as grooming goes Nubs is smooth if thats what you like, I kind of like some terrain features to mess with. Of course being about eleven min. from home to my locker gives me abit of a bias.
see you soon. art
post #27 of 85
I use to go to Boyne Mt. because it had a runway next to it.
post #28 of 85
I ski in Minnesota and U.P.Racer is pretty much right on. These are the top 4. Welch Village is definitely the best area in the Twin Cities and Afton Alps does truely suck. While I agree Lutsen has the best terrain, it is poorly laid out, confused and somehow not as much fun as it should be. On an uncrowded day, Giants Ridge is more fun.
post #29 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsimeral
There was no Hinsdale Central when I went to school there.....only Hinsdale. You are about the age of our youngest son who lives in Reno. We will probably visit him instead of the Boston branch....the Reno "kid" and his wife just had our 6th grandchild.

KK is still a going business and that is where I work part time. Trolls still buses about 400 kids every Sat to Wilmot....except this year. No snow....worst ever. In the early 80s **** Keyser sold out to one of the partners who has since retired and sold the shop to 2 guys about your age. They are going on the internet soon to expand the business.
Why the censorship?
post #30 of 85
Lutsen.com

It has issues with the layout, but with 1000' vertical, 5' of snow in the last 5 weeks, and newly opened tree skiing, it is the place to be.

I have not been to Bohemia, but the others don't stand up to Lutsen.

On sunday there was 9" of freshies, and you could find untracked snow all day.
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