Vail Resorts’ Midwest Resorts 2023/24 Winter Tip Sheet
SKI, SNOWBOARD, AND TUBE AT PREMIER RESORTS IN THE MIDWEST!
Welcome to where it all begins - learning to carve perfect turns, race down a slalom course, or master a trick in the terrain park. A place to bring your kids and introduce them to your love of the mountain. An identity, a part of you that you’ll never lose, and a lifelong passion that takes you all over the country and all around the world. An experience of a lifetime – an Epic adventure. And it starts right here. This is Where Epic Begins.
Winter Wanderlust: Why Close-to-Home Resorts Are the Best Place to Learn!
Easy Access from Large Metro Areas
Midwest resorts and the proximity to large metro areas are the perfect place to welcome new guests into the sport. We believe this access is the key to diversifying the sport. This close-to-home model helps make skiing and riding more accessible for people who don’t live in the mountains and less intimidating for those new to the sport. These hometown hills are where people learn to ski in a familiar environment and where the passion for skiing blooms before venturing to destination resorts like Vail Mountain or Breckenridge.
The Value of the Epic Pass
Through Epic Pass products, including Epic Day Pass, skiing and riding at a suburban hill is less expensive than big mountain skiing, making it more affordable to try the sport. Epic Day Pass is the perfect product for new to the sport guests, providing the option to ski or ride between 1-7 days, saving as much as 60% compared to lift tickets. Insider Tip: Epic Pass products include Epic Mountain Rewards. Epic Pass holders can treat themself to a group lesson at a 20% discount.
Learning to ski with less vertical helps newbies quickly build confidence. Learn to carve and turn on a smaller footprint, and before you know it, you will confidently tackle longer runs and mountain steeps. Midwest Ski Resorts offers World Class Ski and Ride Schools that cater to newbies and seasoned skiers and riders. From beginner group and multi-week lessons to private options, guests will find turnkey opportunities to evolve their skills. Also, a great opportunity for bold journalists looking to learn and share their experience!
Winter Highlights Spanning the Midwest
Slope Days-After School Ski School
This year, bring your school or youth group to the slopes to learn to ski and ride or enhance your skills! Our new program is designed to welcome new kids into the sport, by giving students the experience of a lifetime in a three or five-week program. This is an all-inclusive program that includes a day-specific lift ticket, rental package, and an hour-long lesson, all at a value rate. Learn more about this program here.
Epic For Everyone: SOS Outreach + The Katz Amsterdam Charitable Trust
With the support of the Katz Amsterdam Charitable Trust and Vail Resorts Epic Promise, we are excited to share the continued growth of our partnership with SOS Outreach. Epic for Everyone is a youth access program that provides free lessons, equipment rentals, and meals to youth who would not otherwise have access to skiing and riding. These services are combined with mentorship, including an introduction to career opportunities like snowmaking, operations, and ski and snowboard instruction. The impact is quantified well above the number of skiers and riders we serve; we are creating lifelong connections to sport and to the outdoors. Last season, we had a participant share his reaction to seeing stars for the first time. (Light pollution in Chicago makes it challenging for the stars to shine as bright as they do at Wilmot Mountain.)
Dew After Dark Night Skiing
Expand your hill access after the sun goes down. Skiing and riding under the lights is a unique experience across the Midwest resort portfolio. Where the sunsets, the fun is just getting started, and is as included as part of our operations. Bonus: during select nights in January and February 2024, grab some MTN DEW samples and exclusive Dew After Dark swag. Night Skiing is family-friendly but also pairs perfectly with the College ID Nights. Besides Alpine Valley and Wilmot Mountain, college students can ski under the lights on a discounted lift ticket. Just flash your ID for the offer, including $5 rental packages and unique food and beverage options. Lift ticket and dining offers vary, and the resort websites will have the details.
Secure Your Epic Pass!
As the winter season draws near, so does the last chance for skiers and riders to get the lowest price on the 2023/24 Epic Pass products. This includes access to the Epic Day Pass, a product designed for guests interested in skiing for 1 – 7 days. Save up to 60% off when compared to purchasing a daily lift ticket.
Epic Pass products provide significant savings on the rest of the mountain experience. Epic Mountain Rewards offers pass holders the best ski trip deals, including 20 percent off on-mountain dining, lodging, group ski and ride school lessons, equipment rentals, and more at Vail Resorts’ 40 North American-owned and operated resorts.
Your Pass, now on your phone with the new My Epic app
New this season, the My Epic app with Mobile Pass and Mobile Lift Tickets is now available to download, allowing guests to use their phone as their ticket to the slopes.
Mobile Pass and Mobile Lift Tickets is a hands-free option for skiers and riders to use at all 36 of Vail Resorts’ owned and operated U.S. resorts for the 2023/24 season, with availability at Whistler Blackcomb to follow in future seasons. It allows guests to buy their pass or lift ticket online, activate it in the new My Epic app, put their phone in their pocket, and get scanned, hands free in the lift line using Bluetooth® technology designed for low energy usage to minimize the impact on a phone’s battery life. This season, to ensure a smooth transition, the company will continue to provide physical cards for passes and lift tickets to all guests. For guests choosing to use Mobile Pass this season, watch this video for some tips.
The My Epic app also offers a range of guest-favorite features, including interactive trail maps with GPS location tracking, and mountain and resort alerts, including operational information like grooming updates, terrain status, snow reports and conditions.
Ski Northern Midwest
Afton Alps: Celebrating 60 Years
Nearest Major City: Minneapolis/ St. Paul
Afton Alps is the largest resort in the Twin Cities area, offering 300 acres. Established in 1963, local farmers had a vision and passion to turn their land into a vibrant ski retreat. Encompassed by the beautiful Afton State Park, guests enjoy breathtaking valley views from above in the Meadows or ski down through the tunnel (yes, Afton has a tunnel) to the Highland steeps. Dodge the weekend crowds by parking “up top” and launching from multiple access points. Truly a retreat only 25 minutes from the busy capital of St. Paul, Minnesota. Accessible, affordable, and fun, this big-time resort with a small-town feel has converted thousands of first-timers into lifelong skiers and riders.
Afton Alps loves events! Kick off the season at ULLR Fest, enjoy Epic Pass Holder exclusive First Tracks events, or ski across the pond at Spring Fling. Guests can enjoy weekly afternoon s’mores at the Valley S’mores Gondola fire pit at the bottom of the ‘bowl’ run just outside the main chalet. Complimentary on Saturdays and Sundays 1 pm – 2 pm.
A wide variety of dining and patio options is a defining feature that creates the resort feel that Afton Alps offers. Whether you enjoy a Bloody Mary on the highlands patio, a table by the fireplace at Paul’s Pub, a view of the signature bowl run patio side in the Alps Chalet, or grabbing a quick bite at the Meadow’s Chalet, you will find something to fuel the needs. Afton Alps is the official “locally sourced snow,” ensuring the World’s Largest Snow Sculpting Competition artists have perfect snow to work with.
Mt Brighton: How Detroit residents ‘Brighton’ winter
Nearest Major City: Detroit
Locals love to escape the city and Brighton their winter. Mt Brighton celebrated 60 years in 2021; Mt Brighton fuels the family’s passion for an active, outdoor lifestyle. Mt Brighton claims to fame: A cameo in the mid-80s cult classic, Aspen Extreme, and in the early 1980's Mt. Brighton was known as the Snowmaking Capital with the Schneehex ‘Snow Witch,’ the world’s largest snow gun. Locals know that one of the highest points in Livingston County can be found at Mt. Brighton, take in amazing sunsets from the top of chair 2 or 3.
Brighton Early Coffee Shop is the perfect pit stop to warm up with a specialty coffee before, after, or during your ski day. If après is more your style, grab a beer at Bruhn’s Bar, or kick off your ski boots and enjoy a burger at the Ski Hill Grill.
Mt Brighton knows how to have a good time! Add one of our signature events to your calendar to ensure you truly Brighton Your Winter. Enter the Duct Tape Derby, where guests can build the sled of their dreams using cardboard, duct tape, and lots of creativity. Grab a sweet treat every Sunday at the fire pit for Sunday S’mores. Close out the season by pushing your limits at Mt Brighton's beloved Slush Cup; you may soak wet in the pond skim – but you will create memories of a lifetime.
Mt Brighton is the proud snow provider at a local community celebration, Winterblast. Using hundreds of pounds of snow built over five days, Vail Resorts and Mt Brighton are bringing the joy of skiing and snowboarding to young people in a Detroit suburb – literally – by building a ski hill right in their backyard. The resort isn’t just providing the snow: it’s also providing free rental equipment, access to instructors, and beginner lessons – a community festival aimed at expanding access to the sport. At the 2023 event, Mt Brighton skied more than 3,000 never-ever skiers over the weekend.
Wilmot Mountain: The Heart of the Heartland
Nearest Major City: Chicago + Milwaukee
For 86 seasons, Wilmot Mountain has been the heart of the heartland, the warm hug on a cold day, the place for thousands to play, ski, learn, and tube and toast each other of a hot toddy and high-five over a warm fire.
Weekend Kringle Afternoons - Tying into the Wisconsin roots in the pastry world and love of food and friendship, watch for trays of this Wisconsin treasure every Saturday and Sunday afternoon. A Kringle, brought to Wisconsin by Danish immigrants, has been declared the official pastry of the State of Wisconsin. Declare your love for this delicious pastry by joining us for this fun nod to our culinary history.
Walt’s Tavern offers elevated tavern food with all the Midwest classics– Beers, Brats, Bloody’s, Tots, and many other food choices. We can’t think of a heartier way to warm up during one of our brisk ski days. If Friday night Fish Fry is your Wisconsin passion, fear not; Walt’s offers the Wisconsin staple throughout the season.
Wilmot Mountain offers 22 lanes of tubing, each lane over 1,000 ft long – if you do the math, that is an exhilarating amount of fun. New this season, thanks to a partnership with bubly, our tubing park will receive new tubes and a ‘refreshing’ new look.
We don’t want to rush the ski season, but it is notable to call out the fun way that Wilmot Mountain ends. Spring Fling closes the season with a SPLASH, train all season, and sign up for the pond skim.
Southern Midwest Resorts
Hidden Valley, MO: The Hidden Gem of St. Louis, where every day is a snow day
Nearest Major City: St. Louis
This local secret and regional destination is a fun attraction for the entire family that quickly sparks passion and turns guests into lifelong enthusiasts. It is truly unique to ski in Missouri, but state-of-the-art snowmaking provides the perfect base when (often) Mother Nature has warmer plans – a winter wonderland is waiting to be explored.
Another Hidden fact? Hidden Valley is the home hill to highly decorated US Ski Team athletes. Rapper Nelly used to live down the street and filmed part of his show, Nellyville, at Hidden Valley. And, on a clear day, guests can see the St. Louis Arch and skyline from the top.
Our guests voted, and we listened. Enjoy skiing and snowboarding on the newly rebranded trail ‘T-Rav Way,’ named fondly after the legendary St. Louis invention, Toasted Raviolis. Bonus: Toasted ravioli will be added to the menu this season if you have an appetite. We were long overdue to add this St. Louis classic to our dining option. To round out your winter adventure, Hidden Valley also offers tubing.
New this season, Mountain Mardi Gras. Start to plan your costumes now!
Paoli Peaks: Just North Enough
Nearest Major City: Louisville
Where the South looks for winter, learn and play in an ideal climate for skiing, riding, and tubing, all thanks to our abundant snow making capabilities! Paoli Peaks is celebrating 45 years! Guests can look forward to complimentary Indiana Popcorn on the weekends, the return of college ID nights, and other guest surprise and delights throughout the season.
A newly reimagined beginner area will be rolled out in the 2023-24 seasons. New skiers can learn on progressive terrain and access as they continue to build confidence from our experienced ski instructors. The best part is to sit on the deck, which has a perfect view of the learning zone. It is a truly unique opportunity to watch your children grow. This area is friendly to learners of all ages!
Snow Creek: Gateway to the West
Nearest Major City: Kansas City
Snow Creek is your Winter Outpost for outdoor recreation in the Kansas City Area (and an 8-hour drive to Keystone Ski Resort!). Nestled in Weston, MO, Snow Creek recently celebrated its 35th season. Fun Fact: A tornado touched down on site in 2003 where the tube park sits. Hence the name Tornado Alley Tube Park. Tell your friends you learned to ski in the Flatlands, trekked across the Oregon Trail, shot down Six Shooter, and zipped through Tornado Alley! Being the farthest west of all our Midwest locations, it is the last one before you genuinely hit the mountains. Snow Creek is the Gateway to the West.
Boston Mills | Brandywine: Celebrating 60 Years
Nearest Major City: Cleveland
Celebrating 60 Years! Both resorts were founded in 1963, Boston Mills and Brandywine are located in the scenic Cuyahoga Valley National Park, one of the country's most highly visited national parks; the Valley is treasured for its rare beauty. Featuring a dual resort complex, guests can visit two ski resorts in one day with a single lift ticket.
Boston Mills boasts the steepest pitch in Ohio with the trail 'Tiger.' In 2022, two new lifts at Boston Bills Brandywine enhanced reliability and the overall guest experience. Vail Resorts invested in the Buena Vista lift at Boston Mills, a new fixed-grip, 4-person chair to replace the former Lift 5 double. At Brandywine, the new RAM Quad is a fixed-grip, 4-person chair that replaced the Lift 3 triple.
Mad River Mountain: The Largest Ski Resort in Ohio
Nearest Major City: Columbus
Mad River Mtn. is the largest ski resort in Ohio. Mad River offers a full breadth of on-snow challenges, ranging from gentle beginner areas to steeper pitches and a terrain park. Guests can enjoy Live Music! in the Loft Bar. The bar area features a stellar view of the ski hill out of the top floor windows – Après anyone? The bubly Tubing Park is Ohio's largest tubing park and offers an adrenaline-rushing experience that is both family-friendly and exhilarating at the same time.
Alpine Valley: Perfect Learning Terrain
Nearest Major City: Cleveland
Located in a region nicknamed Snow Belt, Alpine Valley receives the most natural snowfall of any Ohio ski resort. Ideal for beginners, offering perfect gentle pitches to introduce you to the sport. Alpine Valley's terrain is designed to spread out guests and allow them to have ample space during their ski excursion.
Alpine Valley recently installed a handle tow at the top of Upper Exhibition. This will give you access to The Meadows, Exhibition, Main Street, and 322 Park. It also means a 180 view from the top and access without hiking.
Pam Hoye: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional Story Ideas
Skiing for the First Time
- Tips for getting started
- Travel and location ideas
- Gear checklists
- Insider tips such as ways to save!
- Learn from local pros
- Understanding ski school options
- Night Skiing in the Midwest
Understanding the Ski Lifestyle
- How to après + (what is après?)
- Embracing the outdoors (skip the bowling alley and the movie theater)
- Fashion and clothing tips
- 2023-24 Resort Events
- Snowmaking and Snow Grooming 101 (aka how we make our weather)
We want to extend an invitation to you. Reach out to customize your experience. The ideas are endless, from learning something new (have you ever been on a ski race course or learned a trick in the terrain park?) to taking in a new view. We have a snowy playground for you to explore.