12 Wonderful Places to Go Snowboarding and Skiing near Milwaukee
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While it may not be natural to think of the Midwest as a hotspot for snow sports, there are actually several fantastic resorts in the region for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. In Wisconsin, you can find several of these ski resorts near Milwaukee and the surrounding areas. Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned practitioner, you can definitely find a resort that caters to your ability level and skills. We created this guide to the best places for snowboarding and skiing near Milwaukee to help you plan your next wonderful winter escape!

Best Ski Resorts Near Milwaukee

The Rock Snowpark

  • Distance from Milwaukee: 15 miles (20 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site
  • Experience levels: Beginner & intermediate

Located just 20 minutes from downtown, The Rock Snowpark is a great local option for skiing near Milwaukee. With just 8 runs, it’s a fairly tiny ski resort, but what it lacks in number, it makes up for in quality. Locals love skiing here often because of its convenience to the city, its night skiing opportunities (perfect for a post-work ski trip) and its low-key atmosphere. Trails tend to be well-groomed and area especially fantastic after a recent snowfall in the city. Additionally, the park offers tubing for extra fun on the slopes.

Little Switzerland

  • Distance from Milwaukee: 35 miles (35 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site
  • Experience levels: Beginner & intermediate

If you’re on a time crunch but are looking for something with a bit more diversity than The Rock, Little Switzerland is a fantastic option for snowboarding and skiing near Milwaukee! This small mountain has two sides – a front side with a beginner area for first-timers, and a back side that has more trail variety ranging in ability level. There’s also a large portion of the resort dedicated to terrain parks. With on site dining and night skiing available, it’s a great spot to head on weekday evenings or to spend a day outside in the Wisconsin winter.

Sunburst

  • Distance from Milwaukee: 40 miles (40 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site
  • Experience levels: All levels

Sunburst‘s 11 trails might seem limiting at first glance, but they range in difficulty from easy green slopes to double black diamond rated terrain. While skiing and snowboarding is great at Sunburst, the biggest draw is actually its tubing hill, which they boast as the largest in the world. It’s got 45 chutes with a 90 foot drop over 1200 feet of length, and if you’re seeing an adrenaline rush, you can reach speeds of over 30 miles per hour. Sunburst is a great spot to ski/ride and tube, all within one hour of Milwaukee.

Alpine Valley

  • Distance from Milwaukee: 40 miles (40 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Yes, at Alpine Valley Resort
  • Experience levels: Beginner & intermediate

If you’re looking for an easy getaway, Alpine Valley is a quaint spot for snowboarding and skiing near Milwaukee. With around 20 trails largely suitable for beginner and intermediate practitioners, Alpine Valley caters to beginners who want to level up in an easy, friendly environment. They’ve got an on-site lodge where you can stay for the weekend, but since it’s only 40 minutes away from Milwaukee, half- and full-day trips here are easy too.

A quiet day at Wilmot Mountain. Photo Credit: Jhon H. Nova (Flickr CC)

Wilmot Mountain

  • Distance from Milwaukee: 50 miles (1 hour)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site, but you can stay nearby at The Abbey Resort
  • Experience levels: All levels

Wilmot Mountain is one of the most popular ski resorts near Milwaukee and Chicago. At around 1 hour away, it’s an easily accessible day trip for Milwaukee dwellers craving some slope time. There are 23 different ski trails to explore on the 120-acre campus, with options ranging from bunny hills to single black diamonds. New to skiing or snowboarding? No problem! There’s an entire beginner-friendly area of Wilmot Mountain with bunny hills for practice. Additionally, guests can rent gear, take lessons, and go tubing.

Grand Geneva

  • Distance from Milwaukee: 50 miles (1 hour)
  • Accommodation available? Yes, at Grand Geneva Resort
  • Experience levels: Beginner & intermediate

For beginners looking for friendly ski resorts near Milwaukee to learn, Grand Geneva is a fantastic option. Many visitors to the resort say that it’s a great, supportive environment for beginners to learn and grow in the sport, as the resort is located on a smaller hill. Guests boast friendly staff and a family-friendly atmosphere that’s perfect for groups or individuals who want to learn and progress. In addition to the snow sports area, Grand Geneva has an entire lodge and resort attached to it that’s open year round, so there’s plenty to do on and off the slopes.

Cascade Mountain

  • Distance from Milwaukee: 105 miles (1.5 hours)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site; the closest hotel is Best Western Portage
  • Experience levels: All levels

So you want to spend a long weekend at a ski resort, shredding the slopes and sharpening your skills? Sounds like you need to get over to Cascade Mountain Resort! This large ski resort in Portage, Wisconsin has 47 trails for skiers of all levels, offering all of the main amenities like rentals, lessons, and season passes.

Perhaps the coolest thing about Cascade Mountain is that you’ll find skiers of all levels here, as well as a ski shop and tech shop to purchase gear. Additionally, there are tubing slopes for folks who would rather fly down the slopes without all that technical know-how.

Tyrol Basin

  • Distance from Milwaukee: 110 miles (1 hour, 40 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site
  • Experience levels: All levels

Terrain lovers, Tyrol Basin is a great spot for you! With 17 trails and a huge section of the resort dedicated to terrain parks, adrenaline junkie riders and skiers will have a blast at this small Wisconsin resort. In addition to recreational skiing and riding, Tyrol Basin also offers racing programs for kids and adults. On weekdays, you can get an all day lift ticket for under $20, a steal among the other options on our list.

Photo Credit: winny lucas (Flickr CC)

Devil’s Head

  • Distance from Milwaukee: 110 miles (1 hour, 45 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site
  • Experience levels: All levels

Devil’s Head Resort is famous around Chicago for a lot of things, and skiing in certainly one of them. While the resort does offer slopes for all levels, including beginners, the real draws here are for more experienced skiers. The resort area’s 500-foot vertical drop boasts 30 runs of varying steepness, including some extra-challenging double black diamond slopes. Needless to say, Devil’s Head is one of the largest and most thrilling ski resorts on our list.

Where to Stay Near Devil’s Head: Best Western Portage

Nordic Mountain

  • Distance from Milwaukee: 120 miles (2 hours)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site
  • Experience levels: All levels

If you’re looking for a small resort that also offers a challenge, Nordic Mountain is a great option for skiing near Milwaukee. There’s an entire dedicated learning area, with several other trails ranging from gentle green slopes to challenging double black diamond glades. Additionally, there’s a whole section of the resort specifically filled with terrain park areas for some thrilling adventures. For families, the park also offers several tubing runs for those wanting to enjoy the snow without skiing or snowboarding.

Christmas Mountain Village

  • Distance from Milwaukee: 125 miles (2 hours)
  • Accommodation available? Yes, at Christmas Mountain Village
  • Experience levels: All levels

One of Wisconsin’s most beloved ski resorts is Christmas Mountain Village, which is a small park home to 16 trails. They’re also open until 9 PM on weekdays and 10 PM on weekends, and night skiing here is one of the regulars’ favorite activities. However, because it’s such a small resort and it’s so popular, lines here can get long and the trails can be crowded. We’d recommend arriving as soon as it opens on weekends or going on weekdays when the crowds are considerably smaller.

Granite Peak

  • Distance from Milwaukee: 186 miles (2 hours, 45 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site
  • Experience levels: All levels

As one of the largest winter sports recreation areas in Wisconsin, Granite Peak is a MUST for skiers and riders in the Milwaukee area. Compared to other ski resorts near Milwaukee, the whopping 68 trails across over 200 acres at Granite Peak offer skiers the opportunity to try lots of new runs over a long weekend or a winter getaway. It’s also the highest vertical drop in Wisconsin, with over 700 feet of elevation.

Skiers and riders of all levels will enjoy the variety of trails at Granite peak, ranging from beginner-friendly green runs and hills to double black diamond thrillers. Regulars to Granite Peak love it for being the most comprehensive and well-run ski resort in Wisconsin; some even say you might forget you’re skiing in the Midwest here!

Additional Resources for Snowboarding & Skiing Near Milwaukee

What to Pack

  • Waterproof outerwear – Possibly the most critical pieces of clothing for your ski trip packing list is durable, waterproof outerwear. Burton and Helly Hansen are famous ski brands for having best-in-class clothing that will keep you warm in the coldest, snowiest conditions. Click here to shop ski jackets and compare prices.
  • Thermal layers – Thermal baselayers are absolutely critical for a smooth skiing experience, as these will keep you warm and dry underneath your outerwear. The best kinds of thermal baselayers are made of Merino wool, which is moisture-wicking and comfortable. Our favorite brand of thermal layers is SmartWool – their tops and leggings are soft, lightweight, but warm and durable for all kinds of outdoor activities, including skiing. Click here to shop thermal tops and leggings and compare prices.
  • Ski goggles – No ski trip packing list would be complete without a pair of fog-resistant ski goggles, especially if you’re going somewhere that makes artificial snow. Ski slopes often have snow blowing into the air several times a day and it can be hard to keep freezing snowflakes out of your eyes, even during clear days. We use and recommend these ski goggles. However, you can shop ski goggles and compare reviews/prices here.

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Kay Rodriguez is the Chicago-based travel writer and photographer behind Jetfarer and Skyline Adventurer. When she's not blogging furiously on her laptop or editing photos, you can find Kay running, hiking, or paddling in a new city.

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