This never happens. You are standing at the airport gate in Cincinnati waiting for your connection flight when the gate agent announces “Flight 3456 to Washington Dulles is in an oversold condition. We are looking for volunteers to fly tomorrow. If you fly tomorrow we are offering overnight accommodations and $400 Delta Dollars.” Your mind goes into quick calculation mode: “can I go tomorrow? Deal or no deal?” I say DEAL!
Why “deal” and what does this have to do with skiing? The answer lays a mere 15 minutes away from the Cincinnati airport - Perfect North Slopes.
Perfect North Slopes is an odd name for a ski area on the border of Ohio and Indiana just across the Ohio River from Kentucky. But I guess it is all where you are coming from. The slopes are located in a wide valley facing a northeastern direction. The major benefit of this location is the protection from the frequent rain storms that move across the area following the Ohio River Valley. The location has proven so strong at holding snow that the area has not lost a single day this year after opening December 18th this year. This year’s marketing slogan is “it’s always winter here” and so far this year they have been right. The coverage was outstanding during my visit.
Perfect North boasts 22 trails and 2 terrain parks services by five lifts and 3 tows. The layout is the traditional lodge at the bottom of the slope, somewhat rare in the Midwest. Tubing is also offered in a vast 22-lane tubing park. Perfect North has the reputation as the best skiing in the lower Midwest. It prides itself on offering the best on-slope conditions possible, as well as strong customer service. It is probably the finest ski hill you will find heading west from Seven Springs until you reach the Rockies.
Perfect North Slopes is truly a skier’s mountain. It didn’t open the slopes to snowboards until 2002! The slopes are as challenging as you will find in the Midwest; in fact, more challenging than many Eastern locations. The resort’s signature trail is “Center Stage.” Located directly in front of the lodge with lifts on either side, it certainly is center stage. This is where the best in the area strut their stuff. The trail is a smaller “Squirrel Cage” a la Wisp. In the past the resort toyed with blowing lots of snow on the trail and keeping it open until late in the season a la Superstar at Killington. Imagine May skiing in Indiana!
The trail map is flanked by two strong blue trails “Backstage” and “The Far Side.” These trails provided by far the longest advanced runs I have found in the Midwest. No less than 7 other advanced trails descend the 400 feet of vertical drop available. But these are not just straight drops. The resort makes excellent use of the terrain offering some great gladed and semi-gladed skiing. Bring your brain bucket!
I spent a very enjoyable morning exploring the terrain at Perfect North Slopes. Exploring is not a term I normally associate with my Midwestern ski adventures. So if you are “forced” to make a layover in Cincinnati, you might just score a pile of Delta dollars for future ski trips and a day on the slopes. A win-win! Perfect!
Robbie Allen is an avid small hill skier. He has written several articles on the many small hills he has sought out.
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