The 6 Best Ski Resorts in Wisconsin

The 6 Best Ski Resorts in Wisconsin
Karl Sander
Written by Karl Sander / Photos by Jack Lee
Last updated September 15, 2020
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Known as “America’s Dairyland,” Wisconsin also has a reputation as a place with cold snowy winters. For many locals, that means snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, or getting out on the ice. But there’s plenty of downhill action to be had too, with more than 30 ski and snowboard resorts. Here are six of our favorites!

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Known for

Wisconsin’s biggest resort and highest vertical drop

Highlights

  • One of the best lift systems in the Midwest
  • Plenty of space for beginners
  • Good variety of terrain
  • Relatively expensive

Closest airports

Central Wisconsin Airport - 13 mi (15 minute drive)
Wisconsin's biggest and highest ski resort! (Photo credit: Granite Peak)

Bigger isn’t always better, but Granite Peak’s 700 ft vertical drop and 400 ac of terrain makes it Wisconsin’s biggest and tallest ski resort! The elevation and north-facing slopes generally mean lots of natural snow, plus there’s extensive snowmaking. Recent years have seen considerable investment and made it one of the Midwest’s largest-ever ski resorts. One of the region’s best lift networks serves 75 trails that are suitable for everyone: a dedicated beginners’ area and plenty of intermediate groomers as well as terrain parks, moguls, and glades. Three hours from Milwaukee and an hour and a half from Green Bay, it can be visited as a day trip, or you can stay in nearby Wausau.

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Known for

Some of the best terrain parks and longest runs in the Midwest

Highlights

  • Extensive terrain parks
  • Great location near Wisconsin Dells
  • Plenty of night skiing
  • Occasionally crowded

Closest airports

Milwaukee Mitchell Intl. Airport - 111 mi (2 hour drive)
Chicago Midway Intl. Airport - 185 mi (3 hour drive)
Slopes close to Chicago and the Twin Cities (Photo credit: Cascade Mountain)

Nestled close to Wisconsin Dells, a popular year-round tourist destination with something for everyone, Cascade Mountain is conveniently located in the center of the state and is even easy to get to from Chicago or the Twin Cities. Although its vertical is only 450 ft, it still manages to offer runs as long as 1 mi, a good selection of terrain on nearly 50 runs and four terrain parks. Kids 12 and under ski free which, along with the tubing park, make it a great choice for families. Wisconsin Dells offers plenty of off-slope activities including live entertainment and events throughout the winter.

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Known for

A full-service ski area with great views!

Highlights

  • Ski-in/ski-out accommodation
  • Great value
  • Variety of off-slope activities
  • Can be inconvenient to navigate between different parts of the resort

Closest airports

Dane County Regional Airport - 40 mi (50 minute drive)
Ski with views of the Wisconsin River! (Photo credit: Devil's Head)

In the Baraboo Hills with panoramic views of the Wisconsin River, Devil’s Head offers 30 trails and 500 ft of vertical. There are runs for all ability levels, mostly grouped together on separate parts of the mountain. That means beginners have their own area, including a long run from near the top of the mountain. A mere 20 minutes from Cascade Mountain and half an hour from Wisconsin Dells, it’s also convenient to get to for most of the state’s population centers. One of the only resorts with ski-in/ski-out accommodation on our list, it’s a great destination on its own or could be part of a bigger trip!

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Known for

Three mountains’ worth of skiing in a woodsy, lakeside setting

Highlights

  • Plenty of reliable “lake effect” snow
  • Uncrowded
  • Friendly, locals’ mountain atmosphere
  • Remote location

Closest airports

Gogebic–Iron County Airport - 19 mi (30 minute drive)
Minneapolis - 213 mi (4 hour drive)
Enjoy uncrowded slopes and lots of snow! (Photo credit: Whitecap Mountains Resort)

Tucked away in northern Wisconsin, Whitecap Mountains Resort is a long trip for many in the state (five hours from Milwaukee and four from Green Bay). But if you’re willing to make the trip, the resort—at the western end of the Lake Superior snow belt—often boasts the most snow in the state. Its 43 runs offer something for everyone and sprawl across three different peaks and 400 ac. The relative isolation means it’s rarely crowded and has a relaxed, deep woods vibe on the shores of Weber Lake. Sadly, the main lodge burned down in 2019, but the resort kept operating. There is still plenty of lodging and services available, with big plans for a new lodge in the works!

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Known for

A great place to learn conveniently close to Milwaukee!

Highlights

  • Convenient location
  • Reduced rates for beginners
  • Great place to learn
  • Relatively small size

Closest airports

Milwaukee Mitchell Intl. Airport - 37 mi (40 minute drive)
A great resort for beginners! (Photo credit: Alpine Valley)

Alpine Valley is one of southeast Wisconsin’s most conveniently located ski areas. Less than an hour from Milwaukee, it’s also a short trip from Madison and Chicago’s northern suburbs. With only about 90 ac of skiable terrain, there’s not a lot of real estate, but high-speed lifts will help you get the most out of the mountain. There's also a dedicated beginner area and the resort offers a reduced-price ticket for its three chairs and four surface lifts, making it a great place to learn. Adult learners can even take Friday and Saturday evening lessons that include a drink ticket!

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Known for

A lot of variety in a small package, nestled in the north woods

Highlights

  • Great value
  • Family friendly
  • Snow tubing park
  • Limited number of runs

Closest airports

Minneapolis - 130 mi (2.5 hour drive)
Terrain for all abilities! (Photo credit: Christie Mountain)

Perched in northern Wisconsin’s Blue Hills, Christie Mountain tucks 21 runs and four terrain parks into its 43 ac. While that isn’t a large number of trails, there’s a nice variety across ability levels so there’s something for everyone, including some winding runs through the woods as long as 4,000 ft -impressive for such a small resort! Not as far as Whitecap Mountains, it’s still a long drive from many parts of Wisconsin, but only a couple hours away from Minnesota’s Twin Cities. Amenities at the hill are limited to a charming chalet, but there are rental cabins and quaint motels in the nearby towns.

The 6 Best Ski Resorts in Wisconsin
Granite Peak
Cascade Mountain
Devils Head
Whitecap
Alpine Valley
Christie Mountain
Granite Peak