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. It took a while for the snow to really get going this year, but now that it has, let’s peruse some options for letting gravity do the work (sometimes to your advantage, sometimes not) as you enjoy State Trunk Tour roadtrips 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: (1/15) Tubing is open, and Wilmot reports a 20″ base with 7 of 11 lifts open, 72% of total terrain, and 20 of 25 trails are open. The Gully is open, the other three terrain parks are closed. Night skiing is still offered this season. Advance ticket purchases are required.
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 Friday 1/15, Alpine Valley reports an 8-18″ base, all 21 trails and runs open, 5 of 8 chair lifts operating, and 4 of 5 carpet lifts open. Overall, Alpine reports good conditions for skiing and snowboarding but watch for some icy areas due to recent mild high temperatures.
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: (1/15) Latest report showed a base depth of 12″ on the lower runs and 24″ in the upper areas, 8 of 10 runs and 8 of 10 lifts open. Lift hours are 4pm – 9:30pm seven days a week, with additional lift hours 9:30am – 9:30pm Friday and 10am – 4pm Saturday & Sunday. Tubing is open 4pm – 8pm.
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 (1/15) was a 36″ base with 18 trails and eight lifts open with all three terrain parks open. They report “excellent” conditions overall, but watch for icy patches due to the recent mild temperatures and rain showers.
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 1/15, Devil’s Head reports being closer to 100% of terrain being open, with a 14-30″ base, 21 trails and runs open, and five of nine lifts available. While the snow is machine groomed and generally well maintained, watch for potential “spring skiing conditions” at times of the day into the evening due to above-freezing high temperatures.
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 1/15, Grand Geneva reports a base depth between 12-39″ with all 20 runs open, all 6 lifts open. Terrain park is open, sledding is SOLD OUT Saturday and Sunday. Ice skating, cross country trails, and snowshoe trails are temporarily closed, as are fat tire bike trails. Hours are currently 9am – 10pm Friday through Monday, Noon – 9pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
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 1/15) Watch for variable conditions, but the latest shows a 12-40″ base, 4 of 19 trails open (three Beginner, one Intermediate), 2 of 3 chair lifts, and the tow rope is open. 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.
Snow Report: As of 1/15, Trollhaugen reports a 6-30″ base, both groomed and packed powder, with 19 of 24 runs open, including Lee’s Run, Jumping Judy, and The Chute. 6 of 9 lifts are open. Check out their new beginners’ trail, called Güttenhaugen! Snow tubing is open, reservations are 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.
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 (1/15), Granite Peak conditions are great despite only picking up “a dusting” of snow overnight Thursday into Friday. They currently report 95% of terrain open, a base ranging from 18-36″. Five of 7 lifts are open (some are undergoing maintenance), as are 50 of the available 55 trails and three terrain parks. Please note lift tickets and rental must be purchased in advance on weekends! They are approaching a sellout for this Saturday & Sunday, so hurry.
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: (1/15) Tyrol reported a base of 10-12″ and on the rise with 13 runs open, 3 of 5 parks (the Sunrise, Hans Down, and The Barnyard are the open ones) and 4 of 5 lifts available.
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 1/15, Nordic reports a 24″ base after one inch of new snow overnight, with 16 trails and 8 lifts open. Tubing lanes are open, as well as all three terrain parks.
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 (1/15) shows a 18-30″ base with one inch of new snow, 7 of 11 lifts open, and 39 of 47 trails open. Tube Town is also open! They have been at capacity at times, so go online or call them at 608-742-5588 for the latest. Lift Hours are 9am – 10pm; Tubing Hours are 9am – 9pm but 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 1/15, Christie reports 17 runs are open (8 Easiest, 4 More Difficult, 3 Most Difficult, and 2 Extremely Difficult), with 3 of 4 terrain parks also open for the coming holiday weekend.
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: Slopes are open but specific snow depth and lift details were hard to find. We can tell you snowshoeing trails are now open, as is The Mont du Lac Adult Race League and NASTAR, with racing on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Also, Outta Bounds Tubing begins this Saturday (1/16)! 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!
Snow Report: Mt. Ashwabay reported 12-24″ of base snow on the slopes with all slopes and lifts open. Also open and in full swing are the groomed trails for cross-country skiing, along with “excellent” conditions for fat tire biking.
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: On Thursday, January 14th, Whitecap reported a 12+” upper base, 35 of 44 runs open, 5 of 6 lifts open, and about 75% of terrain available. Even the Wine Hut is open! A Winter Storm Watch/POW Alert continues into Saturday morning, we’ll see how much additional snow they get. You can also get updated details by calling them at 715-561-2227 or checking their Facebook Page.
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 in March! 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 snow on the Bunny Hill and the Intermediate Hill. Tubing is not available yet.
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).
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. Hours are 5pm – 8pm Friday; 10am – 1pm, 2pm – 5pm, and 6pm – 9pm Saturday; and 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 5pm Sunday, with a 6pm – 9pm session available this Sunday night (1/17) as well. 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 (1/15) showed a 30″ base, tubing runs are open (however, they may be sold out for this Saturday and Sunday), 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.
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, as well as this Monday (1/18, MLK Day) and the Monday of Presidents’ weekend. We don’t have specific measurements, but enough snow is on the ground – both natural and manmade – to enjoy the runs and trails and more snow is in the forecast Thursday and Friday prior to the weekend.
More updates to come! And we welcome your feedback and input on any of these locations – anything we can do to enhance your road trips, especially in winter!