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Best Midwest Ski Resorts to Visit with Kids (2024)

The Midwest might not be the first destination that comes to mind when planning winter ski trips, but there are plenty of places in the area to hit the slopes. Most Midwest ski resorts have a wide variety of runs, making them perfect for all levels of ski enthusiasts.

The hills may not be as steep as their competitors out West, but they have the perfect conditions for getting kids started on skis and families looking to spend quality time together in the snow. This winter, pack your ski gear and take the family to some of the best Midwest ski resorts!

Best Ski Resorts in the Midwest for Families - Kids Are A Trip

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Where to Ski in the Midwest with Kids

If you’ve never considered the Midwest when looking for the best ski resorts for families, you might be shocked just how many there are!

There are a variety of good options across the Midwest, from Minnesota to Illinois and Michigan. And while The Wisconsin Dells is a top summer destination for families, did you know that Wisconsin also boasts a variety of amazing ski resorts?

They offer family-friendly slopes, a winter wonderland for all skill levels, and the perfect place for your family ski trip! Check out the best Midwest ski resorts below.

Skiing in Minnesota

Lutsen Mountains

Located in the northernmost part of Minnesota, about 90 miles north of Duluth, 4 interconnected peaks form a magical ski retreat in the Midwest, Lutsen Mountains.

Here, visitors will find 4 mountains, over 60 runs, and a 1,088-foot vertical rise overlooking beautiful Lake Superior. The longest run is 2 miles long. There are 60 acres of groomed runs, and they have at least 10 feet of snow annually! It’s the best place to ski in Minnesota.

best places to ski in the midwest with kids lutsen-kids are a trip
Photo credit: Visit Cook County, MN

There is an 8-passenger gondola, along with 6 other lift chairs that can transport up to 10,000 riders per hour! Lutsen has 5 progressive terrain parks for snowboarding and classes for all levels. Nearby there’s also ice climbing, sledding, and cross-country skiing!

The Lutsen Ski Resort is Minnesota’s oldest resort. It was founded by Swedish immigrants in 1885, and the entire place exudes Scandinavian charm. Families can stay in the lodge, or at townhomes, cabins, or condos nearby.

The resort offers additional activities including cross-country ski and snowshoe tours, campfires, and nightly music or meals at the pub. It is a quick shuttle from here to the Lutsen Mountains.

Caribou Highlands Lodge at Lutsen Mountains is a ski-in/ski-out lodge, with all rooms offering mountain views. The property offers evening bonfires and s’mores, access to snowmobile and snowshoeing trails, dog sledding, and family games and movies at their Mountain Kids Camp.

Afton Alps Ski & Snowboard

Set in the rolling hills of Minnesota, Afton Alps Ski Resort is another premier winter destination that’s perfect for families. Boasting 300 skiable acres and a vertical drop of 350 feet, this resort offers a diverse range of terrain suitable for all skill levels. It’s perfect for everyone from beginners to seasoned pros.

With 48 trails and 18 lifts, guests can enjoy a variety of slopes while taking in breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.

Afton Alps is a Vail Resort that’s renowned for its family-friendly atmosphere. The resort provides skiing and snowboarding lessons for all ages, so even the littlest members of your clan can confidently hit the slopes!

The dedicated family area, with specially designed runs and a conveyor lift, makes it an ideal spot for beginners and children to learn and play.

Photo credit: Afton Alps | Vail Resorts

If you’re looking for other winter activities, Afton Alps offers snow tubing and terrain parks for snowboarders. The resort’s proximity to the Twin Cities metropolitan area adds to its appeal! It’s a convenient escape for families looking for a quick winter getaway.

And make sure to take advantage of the cozy slope-side chalets for a variety of dining options and equipment rentals. All of this and more makes Afton Alps a top choice for families seeking a well-rounded and enjoyable winter adventure in the Midwest.

Plus, Afton Alps is part of the Epic Pass family, which means you can use the app to plan your trip, check line status, find resort maps, and more!

Skiing in Wisconsin

Grand Geneva

Grand Geneva is located just outside Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. It’s about an hour from Milwaukee and 90 minutes from Chicago. This is a great place for families with young children to come and learn the basics of skiing and snowboarding.

The mountain sits on just over 30 acres, featuring 3 lifts, 20 runs, and a new 6-acre terrain park with a dedicated lift. The vertical rise here is 211 feet, but that’s perfect for families.

Grand Geneva Resort and Spa
Photo credit: Grand Geneva Resort & Spa

The mountain offers nighttime skiing, snowshoeing, skating, and sledding. Non-skiers can relax at Leinenkugel’s Mountaintop Lodge or at the adjacent resort, Grand Geneva Resort & Spa (with emphasis on the spa).

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Grand Geneva Resort & Spa offers holiday events throughout the season like holiday tea, a trolley tour of lights around the property, and elf mail runs. Each week different family-friendly activities are offered for guests. And if you want to explore a little bit, the town of Lake Geneva is less than 10 minutes away by car!

Those looking for something extra for the kids might want to consider the Timber Ridge Lodge, with its indoor water park. It’s a quick shuttle ride to the slopes. Either one is a good option for families looking for a ski weekend.

Cascade Mountain

Not far from Milwaukee, Cascade Mountain is a hidden gem among the best ski resorts in the Midwest, whether you’re an experienced skier or a family interested in a new experience!

Offering visitors 160 skiable acres and a vertical drop of 460 feet, Cascade Mountain provides diverse terrain with 47 trails serviced by 10 lifts. The beautiful setting, characterized by central Wisconsin’s rolling hills and scenic beauty, only enhances your skiing experience.

Cascade Mountain is a go-to destination for winter adventures with loved ones. The resort offers skiing and snowboarding lessons for everyone ages 4 and up, including family lessons and a dedicated kids program. You can also go snow tubing and check out different terrain parks (but they’re cashless, so be prepared to pay by card!).

While you’re at Cascade Mountain, enjoy the all-inclusive amenities. Shop the Ski Shop for all your skiing and snowboarding gear, or head to the Tech Shop for tuning and repairs. It’s a pretty basic and casual resort, but that’s part of the fun! Snacks are available, but food is limited otherwise.

Granite Peak

When our family goes skiing in Wisconsin, we head to the Granite Peak ski area. Granite Peak is located in Rib Mountain State Park in Wausau, Wisconsin, about 90 minutes northwest of Green Bay. There isn’t a resort on the slopes, but there are many hotels in Rothschild and Wausau as well.

best places to ski in the midwest with kids-kids are a trip
Photo credit: Granite Peak

There’s a large variety of terrain at Granite Peak, and it has the largest vertical rise in Wisconsin at 700 feet. There are 75 runs, 4 terrain parks, and the two longest/highest high-speed chairlifts in the Midwest.

The park has 265 skiable acres, a ski school, snowshoeing, and night skiing. Those who don’t want to hit the slopes can hang out in the recently renovated Sundance Chalet, a landmark that has been around since 1939. Or head to Wausau for shopping and other dining options.

Wilmot Mountain Ski Resort

One of the best Midwest ski resorts (and one of the top Vail Resorts in the region as well) is Wilmot Mountain Ski Resort. Nestled on the Wisconsin/Illinois border, Wilmot Mountain is a blast for families.

With a vertical drop of 230 feet and 120 skiable acres featuring 25 trails serviced by 10 lifts, Wilmot provides a diverse range of slopes suitable for beginners and seasoned skiers alike.

Wilmot Mountain is known for its family-friendly environment. Families can enjoy quality time together by booking private group skiing and snowboarding lessons.

Photo credit: Wilmot Mountain | Vail Resorts

The resort’s four terrain parks offer a satisfying experience for every skill level. You can even work your way up from the beginner park to the more advanced parks that feature rails, jumps, boxes, and more!

Snow tubing at Wilmot Mountain is fun for both adults and kids. And you’ll love the resort’s modern amenities, which include rental services, casual restaurants, and trail-side concessions, creating a welcoming après-ski atmosphere.

While the resort doesn’t offer onsite lodging, there are a variety of options located just a few miles away in Antioch. Plus, the resort is conveniently located close to Chicago, making it an accessible escape for families that need a quick getaway!

Skiing in Illinois

Chestnut Mountain Resort

Chestnut Mountain is located in Galena, Illinois, high up on a ridge overlooking the Mississippi River along the western edge of the state. The resort is perfect for all ages and skill levels, so families can feel comfortable on the slopes.

The highest point is a 475-foot vertical drop that weaves in and out of 19 runs, ranging from bunny hills to black diamonds. All your family has to do is choose the right one!

For snowboarders, there’s Chestnut Mountain’s 7-acre terrain park, which was named the top Midwest Snowboard Park by Transworld for 3 consecutive years! It has its own triple chair and surface lift with more than 25 rails and jumps. It’s also the largest terrain park in the Midwest.

While the resort offers cozy lodging options for families, you might also consider the Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa, only a 25-minute drive away! It has a Nordic Center with a 1.5-mile skating pond and also offers its own cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Galena’s charming historic old town has unique dining experiences, great shopping, and charming boutique hotels. It’s a beautiful place to visit after a day on the slopes.

Skiing in Michigan

Crystal Mountain

Crystal Mountain is located in Thompsonville, Michigan, about 30 miles southwest of Traverse City and mere miles from the shores of Lake Michigan. It’s one of our favorite places to go skiing in Michigan.

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The mountain has multiple options for lodging, from hotel rooms at the base of the mountain to condos and resort residences throughout the property.

The mountain has 59 slopes, with 27 of them lit for night skiing, and 3 terrain areas. There’s also cross-country skiing available and lessons for all levels of skiing. There are 8 lifts and 103 skiable acres, with plenty of room to explore!

Crystal Mountain Michigan- Kids Are A Trip
Photo credit: Crystal Mountain

Crystal Mountain offers extra activities as well. There’s fat tire snow biking, ice skating, snowshoeing, and horse-drawn carriage rides! Michigan Legacy Art Park is a nearby outdoor sculpture trail that’s worth checking out.

Each week during the winter there are special activities. Check the online TWAC (This Week At Crystal) schedule so you don’t miss out on laser tag, movie night, archery, and family crafts.

Guests might enjoy trying the Crystal Spa at the end of the day, sitting by the family campfire, or grabbing a bite at The Thistle. One thing’s for sure, families will not complain of boredom with all there is to do at Crystal Mountain!

Mount Bohemia Ski Resort

Mount Bohemia, the 5th highest point on Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, is another ski resort that’s worth mentioning for the more experienced skiing family!

Spanning 585 acres with a significant vertical drop of 900 feet, it offers an extensive and exhilarating terrain. Departing from conventional groomed trails, Mount Bohemia sets itself apart as a haven for backcountry enthusiasts, offering challenging slopes and tree-lined routes for a unique skiing experience.

Benefiting from the unique weather conditions of the Keweenaw Peninsula, Mount Bohemia receives an annual snowfall exceeding 270 inches, ensuring a super-long winter season. It’s one of the reasons this resort is so popular!

Not an experienced skier? Not a problem! While recognized for its advanced slopes, Mount Bohemia is accessible to visitors of all skill levels, providing a beginner-friendly terrain to ease you into the world of skiing.

Much like the name implies, Mount Bohemia appeals to the more free-spirited snow bunny. There’s a casual atmosphere, basic amenities (and some unique ones, like the Nordic Spa), as well as cozy dining options. You can even find a variety of lodging options, from log cabins and house rentals to yurts and hostels! 

Boyne Mountain Resort

Nestled in the heart of Michigan, Boyne Mountain Resort is the ultimate family retreat, blending top-notch amenities with a welcoming atmosphere. Spanning 415 skiable acres with a respectable vertical drop of 500 feet, it caters to all skill levels, making it an ideal spot for families who love the slopes.

For those new to skiing, the resort offers lessons, so you can be sure that everyone is ready to tackle the trails! The resort’s diverse terrain, featuring 60 runs and 12 lifts, means that there’s something for every family member. You’ll find everything, from gentle slopes for beginners to challenging runs for the more experienced.

Beyond skiing and snowboarding, Boyne Mountain Resort elevates the family experience with additional winter activities. The Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark provides a perfect break from the cold, offering aquatic adventures for all ages.

BOYNE_best midwest ski resorts
Photo credit: Boyne Mountain Resort

Boyne Mountain enjoys a luxurious range of places to stay. There are cozy slopeside cabins, spacious mountain villas, and even a ritzy lodge and spa, so you’re sure to find the perfect place for your family. And in the village area, you can enjoy different eateries and retail stores, as well as a childcare center for kids ages 3 months to 12 years old.

With its family-friendly focus, diverse winter activities, and comfortable lodgings, Boyne Mountain Resort is not just a ski destination! It’s a gorgeous winter retreat where families can create lasting memories against the frosty backdrop of a Michigan winter.

Ski Brule

Nestled in hills outside of Iron River, Michigan, Ski Brule is a must-visit destination and one of the best Midwest ski resorts for families. The casual ski area boasts 17 trails spread across 150 acres and a welcoming vertical of 500 feet, making it an excellent choice for families looking for both adventure and accessibility!

This is definitely one of the best ski spots in Michigan if you have younger kids. The staff at the Kids Center are amazing with kids and offer skiing and snowboarding lessons for kids 4 and up. The family area, complete with specially designed runs and a conveyor lift, adds an extra layer of convenience and reassurance for those with young or beginner skiers.

If you’re looking for more winter activities, Ski Brule doesn’t disappoint. The resort offers popular snow tubing, as well as a Nordic trail system for cross-country skiing. There’s snowmobiling, fat tire bike rentals, and special events all winter. After a day in the snow, you can thaw out in the classic lodge where you can enjoy a range of restaurants, cafes, and even a bar!

Conveniently located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Ski Brule is the perfect family vacation opportunity, with vacation rentals and a full condo lodge offering a variety of accommodations that are sure to fit your family.

Looking for more ski vacation ideas? Check out the best family ski resorts in Europe and the best places to ski with teens.