A good winter road trip often involves a visit to the slopes where everything downhill can be fun: skiing, snowboarding, tubing, or even a good old fashioned snowball fight – just amongst yourselves. Sure, March starts Monday, but we have plenty of snow on those slopes. We’ve also had some milder weather leading to some thawing and spring snow conditions on some hills. Let’s peruse some options for letting gravity do the work (sometimes to your advantage, sometimes not) as you enjoy State Trunk Tour road trips around Wisconsin.
Wilmot Mountain is the southernmost ski hill in Wisconsin; in fact, it’s so far south that the start of one run spills into Illinois! Wilmot is one of the oldest ski areas in the Midwest, having started back in 1938. They offer 120 skiable acres, 23 trails, 7 lifts, 2 surface conveyor lifts, and progression terrain parks for all skill levels. The tubing area offers 22 lanes and two surface conveyor lifts.
Snow Report: (2/26) Tubing is open, and Wilmot reports good conditions with a 20+” base with 8 of 11 lifts open, 100% of total terrain, and all 25 trails open. All four terrain parks are open, too. Night skiing is still offered this season until 9pm. Advance ticket purchases are required. Watch for spring conditions, as temperatures are expected in the 40s during the day.
Alpine Valley isn’t just a famous music amphitheater; it’s also a big ski hill just off Highway 120 and I-43 near East Troy that offers over 90 skiable acres with 21 runs, and a vertical drop of 388 feet. The longest run is 3,000 feet, the steepest run is Big Thunder, the longest slope is Alpine, and the newest trail is called Snowdrift; it runs 1,400 feet. Alpine Valley also features on-site ski-in/ski-out rooms with a full-service Bistro for dining.
Snow Report: As of 2/26, Alpine Valley reports excellent conditions with a 10-25″ base. Spring-like conditions mean potential changes throughout the day all weekend. All 21 trails and runs are open, 4 of 8 chair lifts are operating, 3 of 5 carpet lifts are open, and the Fast Tracks Rope Tow is closed. Hours are 10am to 10pm.
Sunburst is called a “winter sports park” for a reason: they offer a wide variety of winter activities and even cross-country skiing is right across the road in the form of the Eisenbahn State Trail; the Ice Age Trail is nearby, too. Sunburst offers a vertical rise of 214 feet and 12 runs and 6 lifts across 40 skiable acres. The Das Chutes Tubing Area offers some great tubing opportunities; it’s a very popular destination for it. You’ll find Sunburst along U.S. 45 near Kewaskum, just north of West Bend. No reservations are needed – it’s walk-up sales only.
Snow Report: (2/26) Latest report showed a base depth of 12+” on the lower runs and 24+” in the upper areas, with all 10 runs and 10 lifts open. 2 of the 3 terrain parks are open. Ski hours are 9:30am-9:30pm Monday, 4pm – 9:30pm Tuesday – Thursday, seven days a week, 9:30am-9:30pm Friday & Saturday, and 9:30am-8pm Sunday. Tubing is open 4pm – 8pm Tuesday-Thursday, 9:30am-9:30pm Friday & Saturday, and 9:30am-7pm Sunday (closed Monday.)
Little Switzerland first opened on Pearl Harbor Day: December 7, 1941. Since then, it’s been making skiers – and more recently snowboarders – quite happy. “Little Switz” offers 18 trails and three terrain parks, plus a great chalet and yes, Swiss themes abound. You’ll find Little Switzerland just off I-41 near Highways 144 and 175 in Slinger, about 30 miles northwest of Milwaukee.
Snow Report: Latest report (2/26) was a 40″ base with spring-like conditions and soft snow. with 18 trails and eight lifts open with all three terrain parks open. They report “good” conditions overall.
Devil’s Head Resort is in the Baraboo Bluffs near Merrimac, with 30 runs – the longest trail being 3,500 feet – across 300 skiable acres and a 500 foot vertical drop; it’s the third largest such ski area in the Midwest.
Snow Report: As of 2/26, Devil’s Head reports nearly 100% of terrain open, with a 30-40″ base, all 30 trails and runs open, and 3 of 9 lifts available.
The Mountain Top is part of the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, once the home of the Playboy Club. This sprawling resort includes a ski hill with over 20 runs and a 211-foot vertical drop, a 6-acre terrain park designed for users of all ages and skill levels, an ice skating rink, sledding runs, and over six miles of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Snow Report: As of 2/26, Grand Geneva reports a base depth between 33-55″ with all 20 runs and 6 lifts open! The terrain park is open. Sledding, cross country trails, and snowshoe trails are all open, while ice skating and fat tire bike trails are closed. Hours are currently Noon – 9pm Monday through Thursday and 9am – 10pm Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Mt. La Crosse is located just southeast of La Crosse and close to Stoddard in the heart of Wisconsin’s Driftless Area. They offer a 516-foot vertical drop, one of the largest in the Midwest. The Mileaway is one of the longest ski runs in the Midwest. Overall, Mt. La Crosse offers 19 runs, and a terrain park. The St. Bernard Bar is a popular spot for… refreshments… before or after!
Snow report (as of 2/26) Mt. La Crosse reports a 12-50″ base. 15 of 19 trails are open, 3 of 3 lifts open, and the tow rope is open. Watch for two races this weekend that will close Damnation, Thunderation, Rainy Day, White House, and Spotlight until around 3pm Saturday and Sunday. Hours: Monday – Thursday Noon – 8pm; Friday & Saturday 10am – 8pm; and Sunday 10am – 7pm.
Trollhaugen is in Dresser along Highway 35, not far from the beautiful topography of Interstate State Park near the Minnesota border. Popular with Twin Cities skiers, Trollhaugen offers 23 runs, four terrain parks, three chair lifts, and a rope tow. Trollhaugen, which originally opened back in 1950, added the tubing runs in 2004 and by 2012 added the Trollhaugen Adventure Park, which offers six zip lines and a 120 element aerial challenge course. Their three-phase multi-year terrain expansion project will begin this coming summer.
Snow Report: As of 2/26, Trollhaugen reports a 30″ base, groomed snow with spring conditions. All 24 trails and 9 lifts are open. Snow tubing is open, with reservations required. Daily lift tickets must be purchased online for Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays unless you’re a season pass holder or Indy pass holder. Weekday lift tickets can be purchased online or in-person when you get there. Friday nights they’re open late – so late (3am) it’s technically into Saturday! This Friday night (2/26), Trollhaugen is SOLD OUT for evening and late night skiing.
They also have a video report. so we thought we’d share:
Granite Peak is legendary, with 74 runs, 68 trails, 200+ acres of skiable area, four terrain parks, and a 700-foot vertical drop – the highest in the state. It’s one of the oldest ski areas in the country, having opened in 1937. Granite Peak spreads its trails across the north slope of Rib Mountain just outside Wausau, one of the highest points in the state and a prominent hill that can be seen for 15-20 miles around. While the northern slopes have the trail runs, the eastern slopes offer terrain parks; the west side of the hill is more for blue cruisers. Plenty of moguls and tree terrain dot the landscape as well. Granite Peak is aggressive with snowmaking, using 500 snow guns to assure enough snow from November through April. The modern and extensive lift systems include the state’s only high-speed six-pack and two high-speed quads.
Ski Report: At last report (2/26), conditions are excellent, with a reported base of 24-48″ base and 100% of terrain open. All 55+ trails are open. 5 of 7 lifts are open, and the Comet lift will open at 8am Saturday and Sunday, an hour earlier than the other lifts. All three terrain parks are open. They also have two new portable bathrooms. Chalets are at 25% capacity, by the way. They note their plan to stay fully open all throughout March. Please note lift tickets and rental must be purchased in advance on weekends, and tickets for Saturday, February 27th are SOLD OUT.
A little north of Mt. Horeb near the Blue Mound – the highest point in southern Wisconsin, you’ll find Tyrol Basin. It offers 16 runs and a vertical of 260 feet. Three terrain parks are very popular with snowboarders, and the slopes offer everything from beginner level to a double black diamond expert run. NASTAR racing tournaments are held at Tyrol Basin frequently; they also host the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association. Snow tubing is also available.
Snow Report: (2/26) Tyrol reported a base of 36″. All 18 runs are open, with 4 of 5 lifts available – all except the Barnyard Rope Tow. For Terrain Parks, 4 of 5 parks are open: the Sunrise, Hans Down, The Barnyard, and the Progression Park. Watch for spring-like conditions.
Established in 1976, Nordic Mountain offers 18 trails and 3 terrain park runs, along with the Camp Luwisomo Tubing Park. The vertical drop is 265 feet and the runs are fairly well distributed among the Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert levels. Increased snowmaking capacity has extended the seasons at Nordic Mountain, and their snow sports school is highly regarded. You’ll find Nordic Mountain near Waupaca and Wild Rose, not far from the end of Highway 152, off the junctions of Highways 21, 22, and 73.
Snow Report: As of 2/26, Nordic reports that everything is open with “excellent” conditions. The base is 24″; 18 trails and all 7 lifts are open. All three terrain parks are open, and tubing is open, too!
Here’s a sample of snowboarding at Nordic, from boarder Johnathan Buckhouse:
Sporting 47 trails, 4 terrain parks, a 350-foot vertical, and an 800 foot long chute for tubing, Cascade Mountain has a high capacity for winter sports activities. The Tech Shop at Cascade can also get your equipment at its highest performance level. Right now during COVID, advance ticket sales are required and tubing is being done in sessions. Located right along I-90/94 near Portage at Highway 33, Cascade offers easy access.
Snow Report: Latest report (2/26) shows a 18-36″ base with 6 of 11 lifts open along with all 47 trails. Tube Town is also open! Cascade is reporting being at full capacity all this weekend; go online or call them at 608-742-5588 for the latest. Lift Hours are 11am – 8pm; Tubing Hours are currently 4pm – 8:15pm but often vary by day. Weekends and Holidays are PRE-PURCHASE only.
in the beautiful Blue Hills near Bruce, Christie Mountain offers 30 trails with 26 lighted runs, the longest of which is 5,000 feet. The vertical drop is 350 feet and six lifts, one double and five surface, bring you back up. They also offer a ski school, tubing, and extensive rentals for both skiers and snowboarders. Christie Mountain does not require advanced purchase or registration. For COVID, they’ve added an outdoor ticket booth, outdoor food options, and even six fire rings to help you warm up. They are open Fridays – Sundays only; hours for skiing are 10am – 10pm Friday & Saturday, 10am – 6pm Sunday. Tubing hours are 5pm – 10pm Friday, Noon – 10pm Saturday, and Noon – 5pm Sunday.
Snow Report: As of 2/26, Christie is open for the weekend with a 41″ upper base, machine groomed, and a lower 43″ base with packed powder. All 45 acres are open, with 27 of 30 runs available, 5 of 6 lifts, and all 4 terrain parks open, too!
Downhill skiing, tubing
8061 West J Street, Fort McCoy, WI 54656, 608-388-4498
Whitetail Ridge is located on the grounds of Fort McCoy, between Sparta and Tomah. Supported by National Ski Patrol, Whitetail Ridge offers slopes with a vertical drop over 185′ in the heart of the Driftless Area. The longest run is 1,300 feet and you can ride up using their T-Bar. Tubers can access multiple runs up to 800 feet long. Whitetail Ridge also maintains and grooms 5 miles of cross-country ski trails which are free to use; equipment can be rented for $10/day. The Chalet and Ten Point Pub offers a chance to warm up and grab food and drinks.
Snow Report: As of 2/26 Whitetail Run reports good conditions with a base of 36-48″, 4 open runs for skiing and 6 lanes open for tubing.
Wisconsin’s northwestern-most ski destination, Mont du Lac actually requires driving into the southern neighborhoods of Duluth, Minnesota before you can access it. Minnesota Highway 23 ducks into Wisconsin for less than one mile due to the road’s angle and the state line shifting from a water boundary on the St. Louis River to a land boundary that runs straight north-south. It’s strange, but once you’re in that little Wisconsin “zone” on Minnesota 23, you can hit Mont du Lac Drive and enjoy some great skiing in Superior. Mont du Lac offers 8 trails and 3 lifts with a vertical drop of 320 feet. The expert runs include a western-style bowl covering over 10 acres, plus mogul runs, un-groomed terrain, and tree skiing. Thursday nights are tele-skiing nights with instructors available for lessons. The Outta Bounds Tubing Park is available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and all-day passes run $19.99. Mont du Lac also features two restaurants and two bars, and plenty of activities in other seasons, from mountain biking and disc golf to archery.
Snow Report: As of 2/26, slopes are open with good conditions and a 28-35″ base. 10 runs are open and the trails are all open along with Outta Bounds Tubing. Also, The Mont du Lac Adult Race League and NASTAR, with racing on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Skating will also be open on Saturday from 4pm – 8pm.
Offering a 317 foot vertical drop in the vicinity of Lake Superior – the views are stellar – Mt. Ashwabay is where you’ll find Big Top Chautauqua in the summer, and 12 downhill ski and snowboard runs, 25 miles’ worth of groomed trails for cross country skiing, and Fat Tire bike riding in winter. Tubing will be closed for this season. For dog lovers, skijoring is also available. And this is cool: Mt. Ashwabay is one of two Tier 1 “Virtual Birkie” sites in the nation!
Snow Report: Mt. Ashwabay reports (as of 2/26) excellent conditions with a 12-18″ base with 13 open runs.. Fat Tire biking conditions are also excellent on the trails!
Located in the Lake Superior snowbelt, the three peaks of the Whitecap Mountains get plenty of natural snow annually – often over 200 inches! The extensive complex offers 43 runs, 4 double chair lifts, one triple, and one quad; vertical drop is about 400 feet into an Austrian-style ski village below. The runs are well-distributed across ability levels, and cover around 400 acres; a ski map is recommended. There’s also a terrain park, lessons, lodging, and more. You can get to Whitecap Mountain via Highway 122, north of Highway 77, west of U.S. 51, and south of U.S. 2 – all a little west of Hurley and southeast from Ashland.
Snow Report: As of 2/26, Whitecap reported a 14″ upper base with packed powder and 14″ base machine groomed on the lower. 43 of 44 runs are open with 5 of 6 lifts open, two terrain parks and about 75% of terrain available (300 of 400 acres.) Even the Wine Hut is open! You can also get updated details by calling them at 715-561-2227 or checking their Facebook Page.
Just outside Hudson is in its 51st season, Badlands Sno-Park offers a variety of tubing hills across 25 acres for plenty of social distancing: in all, they offer seven hills and five rope tows. All slopes except Tunnel Vision are open (as of 1/15) and sessions are $20. Tickets must be purchased in advance and can be purchased up to three days in advance, starting Wednesday at noon. Hours are 5pm – 8pm Friday; 10am – 1pm, 1:30 – 4:30pm, and 5pm – 8pm Saturday; and 10am – 1pm, 2pm – 5pm Sunday. Masks are required as they are following COVID protocols strictly. It’s along Kinney Road east of Hudson, near I-94, U.S. 12, and Highway 35.
The Rock is a four-season sports complex in Franklin, just south of Milwaukee, along Highway 36. In winter, the 230-foot hill offers downhill ski runs with numerous trails, plenty of snowboarding room, and a series of tubing runs. A double chair lift and a series of rope tows will bring you back to the top.
Snow Report: The latest report (2/26) showed a 20-40″ base with excellent conditions. tubing runs are open, and 9 trails with 6 lifts open. All three terrain parks are open. Hours are 4pm – 9pm Monday – Thursday, 10am – 9pm Friday & Saturday, and 10am – 8pm Sunday.
Situated between Antigo and Lily along Highway 52 in Langlade County, Kettlebowl offers weekend skiing from Noon – 4pm when weather cooperates and volunteers are available – this is very much a community ski area. With 5 trails, they are family- and beginner-friendly, with 4 of them slated for beginners and one for intermediate-skill skiiers. The vertical drop from the top hill is 325 feet. Kettlebowl is a great value; they offer low-priced lift tickets topping out at $5, along with a five rope tows and a nice chalet for warming and refreshments. Kettlebowl opened for the season on Saturday, February 13th, and will now be open weekends as long as Mother Nature allows.
Snow Report: The latest report (2/26) showed a 5-6″ base but excellent conditions, with all 5 trails open. Hours are Noon-4pm Saturday and Sunday.
Camp 10 is a family-oriented ski and snowboard area southwest of Rhinelander that offers a total of 15 runs, a chair lift, two T-Bar lifts, and a beginner tow for downhill activities. You can snowshoe on trails, learn at their ski and snowboard school, rent needed equipment, or eat and drink in the cafeteria.
Snow Report: Camp 10 is now on a weekend-only operating schedule, with hours 9:30am – 4pm Saturday and Sunday. Latest report (2/26) was a base of 14-34″ with 12 open runs.
Winter Park Ski Hill is just outside of Kewaunee, taking advantage of the Niagara Escarpment’s hills. They offer several tubing runs and a ski and snowboard hill with a 160′ vertical drop; the 5 tubing runs offer a 70′ vertical. Winter Park offers rental and uses a T-Bar lift system. You cannot reserve space there in advance; Winter Park is first-come, first-served.
Snow Report: As of 2/26, Winter Park reports fair conditions with an 8-12″ base and all 5 runs open. The park is open for tubing 10am – 6pm Saturday and 11am – 5pm Sunday. Hours for skiing and snowboarding are 10am-8pm Saturday (with a break from 4 to 4:30) and 11am – 4pm Sunday.
A county-owned park and ski area, Keyes Peak (pronounced “Kai-yez”) offers a 230 foot vertical from the highest point in Florence County. It opened in 1964 as a ski hill but now also has tubing runs and room for snowboarding along with cross country ski trails. There are 5 trails, 3 lifts, and night skiing is offered. They also have the Keyes Peak Truck Drags coming up on March 13th! New hours are 3pm – 9pm Thursday, Noon – 9pm Friday, 11am – 9pm Saturday, and Noon – 7pm Sunday.
Snow Report: Keyes Peak is open for skiing with a base of 14-21″ and 5 runs open, as of 2/26.
Located halfway between Wisconsin Rapids and Marshfield in Wood County, Powers Bluff rises above the relatively flat terrain to 1,472 feet above sea level, making it the 13th highest point in Wisconsin. The bluff is the centerpiece of Powers Bluff County Park, which offers trails year-round. In winter, Powers Bluff has a very popular tubing hill. A 250-foot vertical drop offers winter fun for tubers, along with downhill skiers and snowboarders.
Snow Report: As of 2/26, Powers Bluff report a 3-4″ base and three open runs for tubing along with open ski trails.
Christmas Mountain is a golf and ski resort, part of the Ascend group, offering 15 trails and 5 lifts across its total vertical drop of about 250 feet. While the trails are spread out over 40 acres, their total length is five miles long. They’re located just outside Wisconsin Dells to the west, and you can get deals to stay in conjunction with Mt. Olympus in nearby Lake Delton. Christmas Mountain is accessible via County H, a little west of where Highway 13 terminates at I-90/94 (Exit 87).
Frequent updates will continue. And we welcome your feedback and input on any of these locations – anything we can do to enhance your road trips, especially in winter!