Snowboarding and skiing near Chicago (Midwest)

Illinois ski and snowboard slopes


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

Travel time from Chicago: about an hour drive

The gist: This local slope run by the Bartlett Park District features seven downhill runs, the perfect options to cut your teeth on the snow.

Ticket to ride: Weeknight tickets (4:30 – 10pm) $30; weekends and holidays $40; equipment rental $14 – $39.


19-265 Western Ave, Algonquin, 847-836-7243

Travel time from Chicago: about an hour drive

The gist: You don’t even have to leave the ’burbs to find a hill dedicated to the oh-so-trendy sport of snowboarding. Raging Buffalo, near the Fox River in the northwest suburbs, offers half-pipes, kickers, table tops and other rad features, plus a “magic carpet” (basically a slanted moving sidewalk) on the beginner hill.

Chestnut Mountain Resort

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

Travel time from Chicago: about a three-hour drive

The gist: This resort’s 120-room lodge is situated high on the bluff of Chestnut Mountain, offering breathtaking views of the Mississippi River. And even though indoor activities include a pool, sauna and game room, the real reason for visiting is to take advantage of the hill. The seven-acre winter terrain is constantly covered with the white stuff, enticing skiers and boarders of all levels. Its 475-foot vertical drop runs 3,500 feet through 19 slopes ranging from beginning to black diamond. Two Sunkid conveyor belts, two quad chairs and four triple chairs zip you to the top of the mountain as fast as you go down.

Ticket to ride: Weekday tickets $40; weekend tickets $52; holidays $52; ski/board rental $35.

Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports

5750 Lakeside Dr, Lisle, 630-964-2550

Travel time from Chicago: about a 40-minute drive

The gist: With an “Anyone Can Do” 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, and two intermediate inclines, each accessible by tow ropes.

Ticket to ride: Daily slope tickets $28; equipment rentals $20 – $38. 

Michigan ski and snowboard slopes

Bittersweet Ski Resort

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

Travel time from Chicago: about two-and-a-half hours by car

The gist: Boasting 20 runs and seven chairlifts, Bittersweet caters to intermediate shredders of all ages. The resort offers a ski school and a Wonder Carpet lift on the beginner hill, which makes it easy for first-time skiers to get to the top of the slope.

Ticket to ride: Weekday tickets $34; weekends and holidays $43; equipment rentals $26.


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

Travel time from Chicago: about a five-hour drive

The gist: Said to have the best terrain in the Midwest, this destination has it all: 58 ski or snowboard slopes, eight lifts, four terrain parks, snow-sports school and daily NASTAR racing. Accommodations include 250 luxury suites, hotel rooms, condos and resort homes, with amenities such as an outdoor 20-person hot tub, a fitness center and a spa.

Ticket to ride: Weekday tickets $52; weekends $67; holidays $72; equipment rentals $38.

Swiss Valley Ski & Snowboard Area

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

Travel time from Chicago: about a two-hour drive

The gist: This southwestern Michigan mainstay (it’s been in business for more than 40 years) features 11 slopes, a 225-foot vertical drop and a fireside lounge. Swiss Valley also offers race programs, lessons and group rates.

Ticket to ride: Weekday tickets $30; weekends $38–$40; holidays $20–$40; “super rental” for all ages, any day $40.

Timber Ridge

7500 23 1/2 St, Gobles, MI, 269-694-9449

Travel time from Chicago: about a two-and-a-half-hour drive

The gist: This Michigan ski hill has been around for more than 50 years, beginning with a single tow rope before expanding to four lifts. Visitors can relax with drink and some grub at the Snowshoe Bar or take advantage of 15 trails and two terrain parks.

Ticket to ride: Weekday tickets $29; Saturdays and holidays $39; Sundays $37; equipment rentals $18 – $20.

 Iowa ski and snowboard slopes

Sundown Mountain Resort

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

Travel time from Chicago: less than a four-hour drive

The gist: The only Midwest ski slope to receive the National Ski Areas Association Award of Excellence six years in a row, this beautiful mountain takes you down a century-old cedar forest reminiscent of Colorado or Wyoming. With 21 trails, two terrain parks and six lifts, this resort will have you up and down the hills in no time.

Ticket to ride: Weekday tickets $36; weekends and holidays $44; equipment rentals $30


Alpine Valley Ski Resort

W2501 County Rd D, Elkhorn, WI, 262-642-7374

Travel time from Chicago: about a two-hour drive

The gist: Touting itself as the only resort in the Midwest with three high-speed quads and four Wonder Carpets (a type of conveyor lift), this Wisconsin resort’s longest run is 2,500 feet while its vertical drop is 388 feet.

Ticket to ride: Weekday tickets $38; weekends and holidays $48; equipment rental $27.

Cascade Mountain

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

Travel time from Chicago: about a three-hour drive

The gist: Cascade maintains a top rep with snowboarders, catering to radicals with four terrain parks outfitted with obstacles, a superpipe and half-pipe, and also to families with a snow-tubing park, beginner slopes and a modest hill (460 feet). The combination of manmade and natural snow keeps the north-facing side of the Baraboo Bluffs at a happy medium – neither too slushy nor fluffy. For its size, the mountain sports 36 diverse runs – most painfully short. Ten black-diamond runs won’t wow West Coasters, but should keep skiers entertained between the mogul fields and sharp descents.

Ticket to ride: Eight-hour ticket $50; day and night ticket $55; kids under 12 ski free with adult; equipment rentals $25 – $44.


S6330 Bluff Rd, Merrimac, WI, 608-493-2251

Travel time from Chicago: about a three-hour drive

The gist: This South Central Wisconsin ski resort is only three hours from Chicago and contains one of the highest mountains in Wisconsin. The resort takes care of its slopes just as well as its guests; the ski slopes are hotel rooms, bars, restaurants all onsite to make the ride down the mountain even more exhilarating.

Ticket to ride: Weekday tickets are $49; weekends and holidays $54; equipment rental $29.

Justin Trails Resort

7452 Kathryn Ave, Sparta, WI, 800-488-4521

Travel time from Chicago: about a four-hour drive

The gist: You could easily spend an entire weekend vegging out fireside in one of Justin Trails Resort’s cozy cabins. But if you’re determined to be active, try tackling an 1,000 foot long hill on an inner tube, getting pulled on skis by dogs (it’s called skijoring) and cross-country skiing through Wisconsin’s gorgeous wide-open spaces.

Ticket to ride: Cabin rentals $125 – $425; cross country skiing $5, ski rental $10, snowshoeing $5, snowshoe rental $5.


Lutsen Mountains

467 Ski Hill Rd, Lutsen, MN 55612

(800) 360-7666

Lutsen Mountains is a ski area in the north central United States; an alpine area located on the North Shore region of Cook County in northeastern Minnesota. Lutsen is one of the northernmost ski areas in the United States outside of Alaska.

Longest run: 10,560′ 0″

Runs: 92