Time to Hit the Slopes

  • The Hajdu Group
  • 01/7/22
 

Hit the Slopes at the Best Snowboarding and Skiing Resorts Near Chicago

Bunny hills, steep slopes, and breathtaking vistas—there’s a lot to love about the best ski resorts near Chicago.

Plunging temperatures might make you want to stay cozy inside, but the athletic and adventurous can take advantage of the winter weather and hit the slopes for some skiing and snowboarding near Chicago. Illinois may not have the mountains of Vail or Salt Lake City, but you can still find hills around Chicago and some more impressive peaks if you’re up for a day trip or weekend getaway to Wisconsin or Michigan. Ranging from park district facilities to posh resorts, the best hills for snowboarding and skiing near Chicago will teach you the basics or provide fresh challenges.

Skiing and snowboarding at these slopes are contingent upon weather conditions. Always call ahead or check resort websites.

Recommended: The best things to do outdoors this winter in Chicago.

The Best Ski and Snowboard Slopes Near Chicago

Photograph: Shutterstock Alpine Valley Resort

W2501 County Road, Elkhorn, WI, 800-227-9395.

Driving Time From Chicago: about two hours.

The Gist: Winter sports enthusiasts will find plenty of variety at this southern Wisconsin ski resort, which features 21 ski runs, a vertical drop of 388 feet, and three terrain parks.

Season Dates: Weather permitting.

Ticket to Ride: Daily slope tickets start at $60 ($40 for beginner hills only); equipment rentals are $40 for a half-day and $50 for a full day plus $10 for a helmet.

Photograph: Shutterstock Bittersweet Resort

600 River Rd, Otsego, MI, 269-694-2820.

Driving Time From Chicago: about 2.5 hours.

The Gist: Boasting 20 runs, seven chairlifts, two wonder carpets, and two rope tows, Bittersweet caters to skiers and snowboarders of all ages. The resort offers private and group lessons to teach the basics to first-timers or help more experienced skiers sharpen their skills and try racing.

Season Dates: Weather permitting.

Ticket to Ride: Weekday tickets $50 (beginner hill $40); Saturday and holiday tickets $65 (beginner hill $55), Sunday tickets $63 (beginner hill $53); reduced rates available in the evenings; equipment rentals $10–$40.

Photograph: Courtesy Cascade Mountain Cascade Mountain

W10441 Cascade Mountain Rd, Portage, WI, 608-742-5588.

Driving Time From Chicago: about three hours.

The Gist: Kids under the age of 12 skis for free at this Wisconsin resort as long as they’re accompanied by an adult—and if you’re looking for more family fun, the 900-foot-long snow tubing chute doesn’t disappoint.

Season Dates: December 18–March 19.

Ticket to Ride: Eight-hour ticket $82; day and night ticket $86; kids under 12 skis free with adult; equipment rentals $10–$119.

Photograph: Courtesy Chesnut Mountain Resort Chesnut Mountain Resort

8700 W Chestnut Rd, Galena, 800-397-1320.

Driving Time From Chicago: about three hours.

The Gist: This resort’s 100-room lodge is situated high on the bluff of Chestnut Mountain, offering breathtaking views of the Mississippi River. Its 475-foot vertical drop runs 3,500 feet through 19 slopes ranging from beginner to black diamond. Two conveyor lifts, two quad chairs, a surface lift, and four triple chairs zip you to the top of the mountain nearly as fast as you go down.

Season Dates: Weather permitting.

Ticket to Ride: Weekday tickets $45; weekend and holiday tickets $65; ski/board rental $35 and up.

Photograph: Courtesy Crystal Mountain Crystal Mountain

12500 Crystal Mountain Dr, Thompsonville, MI, 855-995-5146.

Driving Time From Chicago: about five hours.

The Gist: This northern Michigan destination has it all: 58 ski or snowboard slopes, eight lifts, five terrain parks, six wooded glade areas, and NASTAR racing Wednesday through Sunday. Accommodations include luxury suites, hotel rooms, condos, and resort homes.

Season Dates: Weather permitting through the first week of April.

Ticket to Ride: Day passes start at $35; equipment rentals $25–$50.

Photograph: Courtesy Devil’s Head Resort Devil’s Head Resort

S6330 Bluff Rd, Merrimac, WI, 608-493-2204.

Driving Time From Chicago: about three hours.

The Gist: This South Central Wisconsin ski resort located in the Baraboo Bluffs contains one of the highest mountains in Wisconsin, with a 500-foot vertical rise. At 300 acres, it’s also the third-largest resort of its kind in the Midwest.

Season Dates: Weather permitting.

Ticket to Ride: Weekday tickets $62; night tickets $40; weekends $72; equipment rental $39.

Photograph: Courtesy Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

444 Eagle Ridge Drive, Galena, 815-777-5000.

Driving Time From Chicago: about 2.5 hours.

The Gist: This resort offers complimentary transportation to the nearby Chestnut Mountain for skiing, though if you want to have some winter fun onsite you can take advantage of the Nordic Center, which offers sledding, ice skating, and snowshoeing. Warm up around a bonfire or with a relaxing spa treatment.

Season Dates: Weather permitting.

Ticket to Ride: Equipment rentals $8 for sleds, $10 for skates, $25 for snowshoes.

Photograph: Shutterstock Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports

5750 Lakeside Dr, Lisle, 630-964-2550.

Driving Time From Chicago: about one hour.

The Gist: With an “anyone can do it” method, beginners can learn to navigate the slopes in no time. These hills in the western ’burbs consist of two bunny slopes, a terrain park, an intermediate trail and an advanced learn to the race program.

Season Dates: December–March.

Ticket to Ride: Daily slope tickets starting at $24; equipment rentals $20 (skis), $30 (boards).

Photograph: Courtesy Grand Geneva Resort & SpaThe Mountain Top at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa

7036 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, WI, 262-248-8811.

Driving Time From Chicago: about 1.5 hours.

The Gist: The beginner- and family-friendly resort offers 21 runs, a 211-foot vertical, a six-acre terrain park, three chairlifts, two carpet lifts, and skiing and snowboarding lessons. You can also enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and sledding. Warm-up by the fireplace at the mountaintop lodge while watching other skiers rush past.

Season Dates: Opens Dec 13.

Ticket to Ride: $50 weekdays, $65 weekends and holidays ($45 evenings); rentals $10 for helmets, $40 for skis or snowboards.

Photograph: Shutterstock Sundown Mountain Resort

16991 Asbury Rd, Dubuque, IA, 563-556-6676.

Driving Time From Chicago: about 3.5 hours.

The Gist: This beautiful mountain, which overlooks 100 square miles of countryside, takes you down through a century-old cedar forest reminiscent of Colorado or Wyoming. With 21 trails, two terrain parks, a kid's park, and ski and snowboarding lessons, you’ll find something fun for any age or skill level.

Season Dates: Weather permitting.

Ticket to Ride: Weekday tickets $32; weekends and holidays $34–$50; equipment rentals $5–$34.

Photograph: Mason HaineySwiss Valley Ski & Snowboard Area

13421 Mann St, Jones, MI, 269-244-5635.

Driving Time From Chicago: about two hours.

The Gist: This southwestern Michigan mainstay (it’s been in business for more than 50 years) features 11 slopes, two terrain parks, a 225-foot vertical drop, and a fireside lounge. Swiss Valley also offers race programs, lessons, and Skibanas, heated slopeside tents where small groups can store their gear, eat and warm up between runs.

Season Dates: Weather permitting.

Ticket to Ride: Weekday tickets $38 (evenings $30); weekends and holidays $49; equipment rental $10–$25.

Photograph: Shutterstock Timber Ridge

07500 23 1/2 St, Gobles, MI, 269-694-9449.

Driving Time From Chicago: about 2.5 hours.

The Gist: This Michigan ski hill has been around for 60 years. Visitors can relax with drinks and some grub at the Snowshoe Bar and take advantage of multiple beginner hills, wooded trails, a snow tubing park, and two terrain parks.

Season Dates: Weather permitting.

Ticket to Ride: Weekday tickets $45; evening tickets $40; weekend and holiday tickets $55; equipment rentals $10–$30.

Photograph: Joe Orban Villa Olivia

1401 W Lake St, Bartlett, 630-289-1000.

Driving Time From Chicago: about an hour.

The Gist: This local slope run by the Bartlett Park District, which makes its own snow, features seven downhill runs, a quad chair lift, and six rope tows, plus snow tubing.

Season Dates: December 17–March 6.

Ticket to Ride: Weekend/winter break/holiday (9am–10pm) $44; night slope (Thursday, Friday and Sunday after 5pm, Saturday 5–10pm) $33; equipment rental $8–$42.

Photograph: Michael Moenning / Wilmot Mountain Wilmot Mountain

11931 W Fox River Rd, Wilmot, WI 630-289-1000.

Driving Time From Chicago: about 1.5 hours.

The Gist: Wilmot Mountain offers 120 acres outfitted with 25 trails, four terrain parks, seven lifts, and two conveyor lifts, ensuring that beginners and experts alike will feel at home. Not so keen on skiing and snowboarding? Try out the resort’s 22-lane snow tubing setup.

Season Dates: December through March.

Ticket to Ride: Epic Day Passes, which grant visitors half off of lift tickets, start at $119. Read more.

 

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