Chicago-Area Ski Guide

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Chicago-Area Ski Guide
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Four Lakes Ski Resort. (Photo courtesy of Janoa Taylor.)

Despite some recent help from Nemo, overall, there hasn't been much significant snowfall yet this year, so it's hard to believe that it'll even be possible to enjoy snow sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and tubing in the greater Chicago area. But thanks to manmade snow, this year won't be an entire letdown. Here are the picks this year for the best snow to ski on close to Chicago:

Wilmot Mountain

11931 Fox River Road, Wilmot, WI

Season passes: $555

262-862-2301

Although Wilmot Mountain is located in Wisconsin, it is one of Chicago's best skiing, boarding, and tubing options, considering it is only an hour away from the city. Their ski lifts opened on November 28, 2012, and their snow tubing is now open, as well. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for the latest events and closings, or call them before heading up.

Chestnut Mountain

8700 W. Chestnut Mountain Road, Galena, IL

Season passes: $250-$450

800-397-1320

With 22 trails open, Chestnut Mountain is 100-percent ready for you. Chestnut Mountain is in Galena, Illinois, which will take you about three hours to travel to from Chicago. Boasting the largest terrain park in the Midwest, their runs cater to beginner, intermediate, and advanced skiers. It may not be a day trip, but parents have it easy with their Powder Playcare. The program will cost you a reasonable $10 per hour and offers cribs for naptime, a romper room, and a room for activities. They don't accept kids who haven't yet been potty-trained, though. For more information about their child care, call 815-777-4650.

Granite Peak

3605 N. Mountain Road, Wausau, WI

Season passes: $354-$454

715-845-2846

Snow sports are underway at the Midwest's most "reliable" ski mountain, Granite Peak. With most of Chicago's closest ski resorts struggling to make snow, who cares if Granite Peak is four and a half hours away? At least they are producing enough snow to provide you with 74 runs to glide down. The 700-foot mountain has a run for every level of skier or snowboarder. They offer tree-skiing glades, jumps, hits, rails, and more.

Devil's Head Resort

6330 Bluff Road, Merrimac, WI

Season passes: $175-$449

800-472-6670

A three and a half-hour trip will get you to snow skiing destination Devil's Head Resort. This year, they have made some snow but also have been blessed with the real stuff. They have 30 runs off of their 500-foot peak. Their longest run is one and a half miles, with the majority of their runs being intermediate. Devil's Head has an equal number of beginner and advanced trails, though. They also offer classes with instructors who are part of the Professional Ski Instructors of America.

Lisle Four Lakes Resort

5750 Lakeside Drive, Lisle, IL

Season passes: $375

630-964-2550

The city of Lisle is a quick journey for Chicagoans. It only takes 45 minutes to an hour driving from the city. The Four Lakes Ski Resort had a late open this season, but is a great place to get some recreational skiing or snowboarding in. It's not exactly for professionals, since it is comparable to a bunny hill, but it's a good time close to Chicago. They use manmade snow to make up for the lack of snow Chicago has been seeing in recent years, so definitely call ahead before making the trip to make sure all runs are open.

Janoa Taylor is a freelance writer with a background in business and finance. She offers a unique local perspective gained from years as a Chicago resident.

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