Now that winter weather has officially arrived, it’s time to make the most of the snow. Hit the road to enjoy skiing, snowboarding, tubing and more at slopes throughout the area. Whether you’re a beginner or are looking to introduce the kids to some active seasonal fun, these facilities offer options for a wide range of skills and great ways to warm up and relax after spending the day outside.
Note that fees and times may vary based on weather and holidays.
Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports
- 5750 Lakeside Drive, Lisle, (630) 964-2550, fourlakessnowsports.com
- Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and holidays
- Slope tickets: $17-$28
- Lessons: $50 for private lessons, $35 for semiprivate lessons, $16-$20 for group classes
- Rental fees: $20 for skis, $38 for snowboards, $10 for helmets
Celebrating its 55th anniversary this year, Four Lakes provides a wide variety of lessons ranging from a school for first-time skiers ages 5-8 to an advanced racing program where you’ll learn how to navigate a slalom course. Seven tow ropes will take you up the hill, which offers beginner, intermediate and advanced trails plus a terrain park where the boxes, rails and pipes are rearranged and adjusted throughout the season to keep things interesting. The spot also has a restaurant and bar, making it popular for birthday parties, family reunions and other gatherings.
- 1401 W. Lake St., Bartlett, (630) 289-1000, villaolivia.com
- Hours: 5 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
- Lift tickets: $35-$40; $25-$29 for kids 7-11; $13-$17 for kids younger than 7 and seniors; discounted tickets available after 4:30 p.m.
- Lessons: $16-$18 for skiing, $22-$24 for snowboarding, $45-$50 for private lessons, $135-$160 for kids
- Rental fees: Skis: $27 for adults, $23 for kids 7-11, $20 for kids younger than 7 and seniors; $39 for snowboards; $6 for helmets
A chairlift and six rope tows will take you up the hill where you can go tubing or ski or snowboard down the seven runs, which range from beginner to advanced, including a terrain park where you can test your skills. Lessons are available for kids 4 and older. The Ski Café gives you a place to take a break and grab coffee, hot chocolate or a meal from a menu including pizza, burgers and chili.
Chestnut Mountain Resort
- 8700 W. Chestnut Mountain Road, Galena, Illinois, (800) 397-1320, chestnutmtn.com
- Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
- Lift tickets: $40-$52, $32-$40 for kids younger than 12 and seniors, $35 after 4 p.m.
- Lessons: $60-$110 for kids, $20 for group classes, $50 for private lessons
- Rental fees: $35 for skis and snowboards and $8 for helmets before 4 p.m. or $25 and $6 after 4 p.m.
Chestnut Mountain offers 19 runs across 3,500 feet, providing something for all levels of skiers and boarders. A mix of chair, conveyor and surface lifts will take you to the top of the 475-foot slope, which also boasts the biggest snowboarding terrain park in the Midwest. Kids as young as 4 can learn basic moves at their Powder Pups class and lessons for kids 7-12 are grouped by ability and age. You can even bring your toddler for a day Powder Playcare. Grab lunch and dinner at the 400-seat Mountain Top Café, which is located just off the bunny slope; enjoy steak and seafood at the resort’s Sunset Grille; or have a beer while watching sports at The Summit bar. Make a weekend out of your trip by staying on-site, where you can warm up in the sauna and whirlpool.
The Mountain Top at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa
- 7036 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, (800) 558-3417, grandgeneva.com
- Hours: Noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday
- Lift tickets: $28-$53, half price for seniors, $23-$41 for kids 7-11, $10 for kids younger than 7 or free with a paired adult ticket
- Lessons: $25 to $30 for group lessons, $60 for private lessons
- Rental fees: $10 for helmets, $34 for adult skis or snowboards, $25 for kids skis or snowboards
Three chairlifts and two carpet lifts will take you to up to the resort’s 30 acres of downhill ski runs, which feature easy, intermediate and difficult options. Snowboarders can take advantage of the new terrain park, which has its own dedicated lifts. Lessons are available for beginner skiers, with classes devoted to kids 4-6 and 6-14. If you’re looking for other winter fun, The Mountain Top also rents snowshoes, sleds, cross-country skis and ice skates. The rink is located near Leinenkugel’s Mountain Top Lodge, so after doing some laps you can have a meal while you warm up at the fireplace inside or watch the action on the slopes from the outdoor fire pit. If you’re just looking for a bite before heading out to the slopes, visit the cafeteria-style Timbers Grill, which also serves coffee and hot chocolate.
- 11931 Fox River Road, Wilmot, Wisconsin, (262) 862-2301, wilmotmountain.com
- Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
- Lift tickets: $54-$64; $49-$59 for kids and seniors; $5 off after 3 p.m.
- Lessons: $45-$85 for kids, $25 for group lessons, $75 for private lessons
- Rental fees: $32 for skis and snowboards, $10 for helmets
Wilmot Mountain recently underwent $13 million in renovations, adding new four-person chairlifts, high-speed rope tows in the expanded terrain park and surface conveyor lifts for beginners that helps skiers and snowboarders get to the top of the mountain faster. Kids have their own dedicated ski and snowboard center where lessons are offered for ages 3 through teen. There’s also snow tubing, where conveyor belts will take you to the top of the hill so you won’t be too tired to enjoy the trip down. The renovations also extend to the base area, so swing by the new Walt’s Tavern, a 400-seat full-service bar and restaurant equipped with Wi-Fi.
Alpine Valley Resort
- W2501 County Road D, Elkhorn, Wisconsin, (262) 642-7374, alpinevalleyresort.com
- Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends
- Lift tickets: $29-$64; half-price for kids younger than 6; $5 off for seniors and active military
- Lessons: $70 for private lessons, $15 for group lessons, $40 for kids
- Rental fees: $28 for adult skis and snowboards, $14 for kids skis and snowboards, $10 for helmets
Alpine Valley recently expanded its beginner area, giving first-time skiers and snowboarders a place to practice on gentle slopes and use conveyor lifts. The ski school offers lessons for kids 5 and older; kids 8 and older can try snowboarding. There are also updated chairlifts to get you on the slopes faster and take advantage of the 90 acres of skiable terrain spread across 20 runs, the longest of which is 3,000 feet. If you stay on-site, you can take advantage of ski-in/ski-out rooms, a full-service restaurant and family movie night.