10 of the Best Ski Resorts in the Midwest

With destinations in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and more, these are 10 of the best ski resorts in the Midwest.

Group of skiers at Mad River Mountain, Wausau, Wisconsin

Courtesy of Mad River Mountain

Blessed with snowfall and cool wintry weather, the Midwest is ripe for skiing, whether your vice is zipping downhill or coasting along Nordic-style. If you’re a first-time skier or need more confidence, most resorts offer private or group lessons. Snow-making machines further the fun at these resorts, too, making a day at the slopes easily within reach. With destinations in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and more, here are 10 of the best ski resorts in the Midwest for your next winter getaway.

Related: These Are the 10 Coolest Ski Destinations in America Right Now — Plus Tips for the Perfect Trip

Granite Peak, Wausau, Wisconsin

Skier at Granite Peak, Wausau, Wisconsin

Courtesy of Granite Peak

Not only is this the second-highest point in the state, but skiing has taken place here — anchored by Rib Mountain — since the 1930s, with Fred Pabst (Pabst Brewing Company heir and a skier himself) as the first owner and operator. Within the 200-acre resort are 60 trails, 74 runs, and a 700-foot vertical drop. Fresh off $3 million in improvements last year, the resort also features a 10,000-square-foot Sundance Chalet and Grill for après-ski fare. 

Cascade Mountain, Portage, Wisconsin

Two skiers on chair lift at Cascade Mountain, Portage, Wisconsin

Courtesy of Cascade Mountain

An easy 45-minute drive north of Madison, Cascade Mountain celebrated its 60th anniversary in early 2022 and continues to be family-owned, now on its third generation. At the 175-acre park are four terrain areas that add up to 47 runs. An 800-foot-long snow-tubing chute is a wintry riff on waterslides at the nearby Water Park Capital of the World, Wisconsin Dells.

Mount Bohemia Ski Resort, Mohawk, Michigan

Skier at Mount Bohemia

Chris Guibert

Nestled along Michigan’s U.P. (local-speak for “Upper Peninsula”) in the Keweenaw Peninsula, where the annual snowfall means you don’t need snow-making equipment, Mount Bohemia ranks as the fifth-tallest point (at 1,465 feet). With 95 runs, this is among the Midwest’s newest ski resorts as it only opened in 2000. Mount Bohemia’s vertical drop of 900 feet ranks second in the Midwest. 

Chestnut Mountain Resort, Galena, Illinois

Skier at Chestnut Mountain Resort, Galena, Illinois

Topher Donahue/Getty Images

Perched near the banks overlooking the Mississippi River, the 220-acre Chestnut Mountain Resort boasts a 100-room hotel with an indoor pool and surf-and-turf fare at The Summit Food & Spirits. For this reason, it’s easy for Chicagoans to plan a weekend trip here (the Windy City is only a three-hour drive away). 19 trails are in two parks — Far Side Terrain Park (with a quarter pipe and two half pipes) and Chestnut (with a 475-foot vertical drop).

 Perfect North Slopes, Lawrenceburg, Indiana

Skiers at Perfect North Slopes, Indiana

Courtesy of Perfect North Slopes

Near the Kentucky and Ohio borders in southeastern Indiana, this resort features 23 trails across three parks that are a mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced. In a cool twist, this resort — which debuted in 1980 when a few local families founded it — was where Olympic-medal-winner freestyle skater Nick Goepper first learned to ski. Skiers can also imbibe or nosh at three different eateries, specializing in breakfast fare and grilled burgers.

Mad River Mountain, Zanesfield, Ohio

Family of skiers at Mad River Mountain, Ohio

Courtesy of Mad River Mountain

With its namesake mountain at 1,460-foot elevation, the shining star at this Central Ohio ski resort — the largest in Ohio — is the 300-foot vertical drop. Although it has been open since the late 1960s, Vail Resorts began managing it in 2019. A fun Olympic tie-in is that Putzi Frandl, a former alpine ski racer from Austria, once worked here as an instructor after competing in the 1956 and 1960 Winter Olympics. Mad River Loft Bar & Grill is joined by a quick-serve cafeteria for high-altitude dining.

Big Snow Resort, Wakefield, Michigan

Snowboarder at Indianhead Mountain, Big Snow Resort, Michigan

PaaschPhotography/Getty Images

Earlier this year, Granite Peak and Lutsen — two other Midwest ski resorts — acquired the 400-acre Big Snow Resort, in Michigan’s western U.P. The vertical drop on Indianhead Mountain is 638 feet, and Blackjack Mountain’s is 490 feet. Live cams give you a glimpse of the 60 runs' conditions so you can easily track and plan. Each mountain has three food-and-drink options, from ribeyes and Chicago-style stuffed pizza at Indianhead Mountain’s Elkhorn Dining Room to “pig candy” (seasoned and sweetened bacon) at Blackjack Mountain. 

Giants Ridge Recreation Area, Biwabik, Minnesota

Aerial view of Giants Ridge, Minnesota

Old Saw Media

Located 70 miles north of Duluth, this 202-acre resort’s 35 ski runs are joined by little luxuries — on-site lodging (a mix of 67 suites, from one to four bedrooms each, plus an indoor pool), restaurants, and a spa. While all suites boast a kitchen, The Sleeping Giant Restaurant & Bar’s specials — like all-you-can-eat walleye on Fridays — are enticing. A 500-foot vertical drop and Olympic-class, groomed Nordic ski trails are also at the resort.

Afton Alps, Hastings, Minnesota

Skier at Afton Alps, Minnesota

Courtesy of Afton Alps

Along the St. Croix River 33 miles from downtown Minneapolis, there are 36 trails — including a 350-foot vertical drop — at the 300-acre resort. Four chalets are a sweet spot to stay warm and toasty while grabbing a drink or a meal. Although a group of family farmers launched the resort in 1963, turning it into a popular winter getaway destination for the Twin Cities, Vail Resorts has owned it since 2012 and is in the process of adding $10 million in improvements.

Sundown Mountain Resort, Dubuque, Iowa

Skier at Sundown Mountain Resort, Dubuque, Iowa

Courtesy of Sundown Mountain Resort

Split into two parks, the 85-acre resort features 21 ski runs, along with lodges and warming stations (this is the Midwest, after all!) that include Tips Up Food & Spirits (with two fireplaces and bowls of hot chili), Molly’s Mountaintop Coffee (in lieu of making s’mores, order the s’mores latte) and The Barn (ski-in only, with a firepit).

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