The 8 Best Midwest Ski Resorts for Families

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Skiing couple on a chair lift.
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The Midwest may not be the first place that comes to mind when planning a family ski trip. But with cold winters and plenty of snow you can be sure to find several great ski resorts. In fact, you’ll find some of the best Midwest ski resorts in places like Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, many of these resorts offer fun winter activities like tubing, snow biking and scenic gondola rides.

So for your next ski trip, consider our picks for the 8 best Midwest ski resorts.

1. Granite Peak, Wausau, Wisconsin

Strap on your skis or snowboard and swoosh down the slopes of Granite Peak – Wisconsin’s largest ski resort. Located in the Rib Mountain State Park in the Town of Rib Mountain, Granite Peak Ski Resort has 60 runs, four terrain parks and a 700-foot vertical drop. Natural snow and snowmaking ensure good coverage. Plus, a high-speed, six-seater chairlift means shorter lines and more time on the slopes!

Why It’s Family Friendly

The ski resort offers ski and snowboard lessons for all ages and levels. In addition, the resort features children’s ski and snowboard lesson camps. Kids are grouped by age and ability. Live music and seasonal events round out mountain fun. And while Granite Peak doesn’t offer onsite lodging, you can book Ski and Stay packages with hotels in downtown Wausau – a ski town about 10 minutes away. The ski resort is about a 90-minute drive from both Green Bay and Eau Claire, and less than a 3-hour drive from Madison.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Did you know that you can rent your ski gear? The Ski KITs are rented at 90% off of the retail cost and shipped directly to your destination with free shipping and returns. This is a great option for families with kids who grow out of their ski gear each season. Kit’s include jackets, pants, goggles, gloves, and optional snow boots. See all rental options here.

Après Ski

For après-ski refreshments and entertainment, head to The Sundance Chalet for food, drinks and entertainment. And nearby Wassau offers even more options for dining and apres-ski activities.

Things to Know

Winter season is from November to early April.

  • Fastest chairlift in the Midwest
  • Hours of operation vary by season and weather
  • Central Wisconsin Airport is the closest airport. It’s 13 miles from the resort

2. Cascade Mountain, Portage Wisconsin

This family-owned ski resort has 11 lifts, nearly 50 runs, four terrain parks, night skiing and snow tubing. Proximity to Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison make Cascade Mountain a popular Midwest getaway. While some trails are challenging, others are over a mile long and fun for everyone.

Why It’s Family Friendly

Kids ages 12 and younger ski free when accompanied by a paying adult. Plus, kids ages 5 – 10 can learn to ski or snowboard in the two-hour Cascade Kids beginner program. A lift ticket is included in the lesson. Rentals are extra.

For off-slope fun there’s snow tubing in Wisconsin Dells at Tube Town with 15, 800-foot long chutes. Although Cascade Mountain doesn’t have its own lodging, you’ll find hotel and dining options at nearby Wisconsin Dells.

Après-Ski

  • Grab a bite to eat at the Peak Cafe in the Peak Lodge
  • After a day on the slopes, relax with a warm beverage at the Peak Bar
  • The Snackbar is located on the lower level of the Peak Lodge and serves hot and cold food

Things to Know

Winter season is from late November to mid-March.

  • The family-friendly mountain has 37% beginner runs, 40% intermediate runs and 23% advanced runs
  • Grab a bite to eat at the Peak Cafe in the Peak Lodge or the Snackbar on the lower level of the lodge
  • As a cashless resort, Cascade only accepts card and digital payment

3. Crystal Mountain, Michigan

Located southwest of Traverse City, the 1,500-acre Crystal Mountain is a four-season resort with lodging, dining and numerous activities. In winter, activities include skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing. Enjoy more time on the slopes with night skiing.

Why It’s Family Friendly

Families will find special offers for skiing and lodging. The family-owned resort welcomes parents and kids with private and group lessons for ages 3 and older. Make it a family ski day with a personal mountain tour led by a certified instructor. It’s a great way to hone your skills as you check out green runs and terrain parks. The tours require that family members are on the same equipment – either skis or snowboards. The tour is for ages 6 and older. Not for beginners. When you’re ready for a little rest or snack, stop by the mountain Yurt for hot drinks, chili and other food items.

In addition to skiing and snowboarding, the resort offers fat tire snow biking, ice skating and snowshoeing.

Après-Ski

Crystal Mountain has several onsite restaurants, like the kid-friendly Wild Tomato.

Things to Know

Winter season is from November to early April.

  • Crystal Mountain is a year-round, full-service resort
  • 48 % of the runs are intermediate
  • Kids 7-17 ski free Sunday – Thursday (excludes peak season dates). Two kids ages 7-17 ski free per paying adult. There is a charge for additional children ages 7-17
  •  Kids 6 and under Sleep, Ski and Eat Breakfast free (up to two kids eat free, per paying adult.)
  • For lodging, kids 17 and under sleep free anytime

4. Perfect North Slopes, Lawrenceburg, Indiana

Perfect North Slopes is a congenial family ski resort in southeast Indiana. You can buy your tickets, book ski or snowboard lessons and pick up your rentals at the lodge. Perfect North Slopes has 23 trails for beginner, intermediate and expert skiers and riders.

In addition, there’s a fun snow tubing area with magic carpets to bring you to the top of the hill.

Why It’s Family Friendly

Families will enjoy the convenience of the one-stop lodge for a day on the slopes as well as dining. The mountain is easy to navigate and has plenty of green and blue trails. Ski and snowboard lessons are available for kids and adults. And the snow tubing area is popular with families as well. Snow tubing is for ages 4 and older. But, when there’s enough snow, there’s a separate smaller snow tube area for ages 3 – 6.

Après-Ski

After a day on the slopes, head to the ski lodge to relax and enjoy a hot meal while sharing stories about your day on the snow.

Things to Know

Winter season is mid-December to early March.

  • Daily lessons are offered at the top of the hour starting at 10 a.m. and lasting 50 minutes
  • Lodging packages are available

5. Boyne Mountain Resort, Boyne Falls, Michigan

There’s no shortage of winter activities at Boyne Mountain Resort, making this one of the best Midwest ski resorts. Skiers and snowboarders will be impressed with the 415 acres of skiable terrain, 60 trails and seven terrain parks. In addition, the resort offers cross-country skiing, sno-go bikes, fat tire snow biking, ice skating, snow tubing, snowshoeing, horseback riding and ziplining! Plus, the ski resort is home to Avalanche Bay, Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark. It’s open year-round.

And when it comes to lodging, the array of options include chalets, cabins, villas and hotel suites.

Why It’s Family Friendly

The full-service Boyne Mountain Resort has an abundance of family-friendly adventures to keep everyone happy. In fact, there are probably more winter activities than you can do in one trip. Skiing, snowboarding, biking, snowshoeing, snow tubing and horseback riding are among the many activities. Plus, full-day childcare is available at the Helga Haus Children’s Learning Center for children ages 3 months-12 years old.

Après-Ski

The family-friendly Après Ski Pub is located inside the Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark. Pizza, wings and burgers as well as cocktails and mocktails are the perfect way to end a day on the slopes or slides.

Things to Know

Winter season is early December to mid-April.

  • Buy lift tickets in advance for this popular resort
  • Book a room at Boyne Mountain for lift ticket discounts
  • Night skiing from 5 – 9 p.m.

6. Lutsen Mountains, Lutsen, Minnesota

Located in northeastern Minnesota, the Lutsen Mountains ski area is home to 95 runs and backcountry trails across four mountains. Skiers and snowboarders can enjoy views of Lake Superior. A variety of lodging options include ski-in/ski-out resorts, cabins, condos and villas.

Why It’s Family Friendly

Lutsen Mountains Snowsports Center offers youth and adult ski and snowboard lessons. Slope-side equipment rentals make it easy to strap on your gear and get on the snow. A variety of dining and lodging options accommodate all group sizes and budgets.

Après-Ski

Lutsen’s five on-mountain restaurants are the perfect place to stop for a meal while on the slopes or for après-ski dining and drinks.

Things to Know

Winter season is from the end of November through the end of April.

  • Save with two- to -five-night Ski & Stay packages in April
  • Lutsen offers some of the best spring conditions in North America
  • The Mountain Meltdown Festival celebrates spring skiing with live music and 40 % off on lift and lodging

7. Chestnut Mountain Resort, Galena, Illinois

Chestnut Mountain Resort is an easily accessible ski resort in Galena, Illinois (near the Iowa and Wisconsin state borders). And as skiers and snowboarders swoosh along the mountain’s 19 trails they’ll be treated to views of the Mississippi River. There’s also a terrain park with a number of features. Lodging options include a lodge with two restaurants and an indoor pool as well as additional places to stay in the town of Galena.

Why It’s Family Friendly

Kids ages 6 and younger ski free. Families have a choice of lodging options. Stay at the lodge, which has an indoor pool, for quick access to the mountain. Or choose a hotel in nearby Galena.

Après-Ski

Stop by the Summit Food & Spirits or Sunset Grille for food and drinks. If you’re staying the night, enjoy the indoor pool and arcade room.

Things to Know

The winter season is from the end of November to March.

  • Kids ages 6 and under get a free lift ticket
  • Opening day tickets are about $20
  • The Midwest Premier Pass allows you to ski and snowboard at Lutsen Mountain Resort in Minnesota and Granite at Peak Rib Mountain State Park in Wausau, Wisconsin

8. Mount Bohemia, Michigan

Located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Mount Bohemia gets a lot of snow, making it one of the best Midwest ski resorts for seasoned skiers and snowboarders. In fact, with an average snowfall of 273 inches, it doesn’t require snow-making machines and has nice powder similar to western ski resorts. Mount Bohemia’s vertical drop of 900 feet ranks second in the Midwest.

Why it’s Family Friendly

Mount Bohemia is best for active families who are upper intermediate or expert skiers and snowboarders. Why? The ski resort has the longest runs with the highest vertical and deepest powder in the Midwest. And for this reason, it’s a favorite with backcountry skiers and snowboarders. And keep in mind the trails are not groomed. So, if your family loves steep trails with powder skiing, then this ski resort is for you. While there aren’t children’s amenities (no lessons, no childcare), the laid-back ski resort is friendly and accommodating.

Après-Ski

After a ski day of tackling those steep runs, relax in one of the base restaurants where you’ll find wood-fired pizza and drinks. The Log Cabin Bar serves craft beer, mixed drinks, wine and non-alcoholic drinks. Adults can enjoy the Nordic Spa’s steam room, outdoor hot tub and pool.

Season Things to Know

The winter season is from December to March or April depending on the weather.

  • Saturday tickets are reserved for season pass holders only, so plan your trip accordingly

One response


  1. Thank you for suggestions! Can’t wait to go skiing with my family!

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