By Isabelle Konopacki
Every year 9.2 million people ski or snowboard in the U.S, according to Statista. Ski resorts are a great place to take your family or friends for a fun winter getaway. While there are many ski resorts around the U.S, we are only focusing on the Midwest in this list. Out of all ski resorts in the Midwest, the top two places to ski or snowboard are Crystal Mountain coming in at number one, followed by Cascade Mountain as a close second.
Crystal Mountain is the best ski resort because of the pricing, lessons, variety of runs, lessons, rentals, and seclusion. Crystal Mountain is in upper Michigan and has a rating of 4.5 stars. The resort opened last year on Dec. 11, 2021, and will close for the year on April 19, 2022. Even though the drive is on the longer side at 5 hours and 15 minutes Crystal Mountain has a large variety of cabins and hotel rooms to stay in, so you can get in as much skiing and snowboarding as possible.
The day passes cost $35 dollars and equipment rentals cost anywhere from $25 to $50. Crystal Mountain has a huge number of runs with 58, ranging from difficult black diamond, moderate blue squares, easy green circles to even two bunny hills. There are eight chair lifts to bring you and your family to anywhere on the mountain and there is a secluded area for the bunny hills so the beginners can learn separately from the fast-going advanced skiers and snowboarders.
Speaking of learning, Crystal Mountain offers a wide variety of lessons that beginners can take to learn the ropes of skiing and snowboarding. There are two-hour-long private lessons that are $280, a longer half-day one-on-one lesson that is $399, and a full-day private lesson for $699. Even though this pricing may be high, it gives you the attention needed to be a very good skier or snowboarder.
Even long-time skier Mark Konopacki, who has been skiing for more than 30 years, agrees that Crystal Mountain is the best.
“It is a great place to bring your family with so much variety in the runs everyone will have a great time,” he said. “And they can stay multiple days with the ski lodges and restaurants.”
The second best ski resort is Cascade Mountain near Madison, Wis. which has a rating of four stars. It opened on Dec. 3, 2021, and will close on March 20, 2022. The drive is much shorter than Crystal Mountains being only two and a half hours away. However, there is no on-site place to stay but since it is near Wisconsin Dells there are many options nearby.
An all-day pass at Cascade Mountain costs $86 but kids under 12 ski or snowboard free. Equipment rentals are anywhere from $10 to $119. While Cascade Mountain does not have as many runs as Crystal Mountain, they still have a very high amount with 47. There are also 11 chair lifts that can take you to any of the variety of runs from black diamonds all the way to bunny hills.
There are lessons at Cascade Mountain, as well. While there are no private lessons or an option to do the lesson for a long period of time, there are $150 group lessons that can have up to five learners in them. However, every learner in the group must be related or be traveling together. While this price may be cheaper in comparison to Crystal Mountain, there is no variety in the lessons you can take and you will not have your instructor’s undivided attention.
While Cascade Mountain may be a cheaper and still a fun option in comparison to Crystal Mountain, it does not offer as much variety and the same secluded experience that Crystal Mountain does, so that is why it is number two on the list.
Both resorts are a great place to go on a weekend getaway with activities to fit everyone’s needs. You should consider going to one of these this winter.