Question for Robbie Allen
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JimK - DCSki Columnist
March 26, 2007
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,723 posts

Robbie, I read some of your Midwest reports at time of publication, but others I am just recently catching up with. They are great, well written, informative, and infused with a positive attitude about making the most out of modest mountains; something us mid-Atlantic skiers/boarders can relate to strongly.

Question: what brings you to these far flung and sometimes obscure places? Do you go on a lot of business travel to the Midwest and then hit them on side trips before returning to DC? Or do you travel purposely to visit these places? Sorry if you already explained this in one of your reports.
oldensign - DCSki Columnist
March 26, 2007
Member since 02/27/2007 🔗
437 posts
Jim -

Thanks for the question!

Well a bit of both. I have been traveling the Midwest for work this year a lot and just decided to tote my ski's along. I did get some funny looks checking skis at Dulles to fly to Milwaukee or sticking a ski hiker on a rental car in Detroit. But it has worked out great. It is definitely more fun to go out and ski some place new (no matter how small) verse sitting in a hotel room watching TV.

Also my wife is from Peoria, IL thus visits to her folks provided the base to reach out for those western trips to Iowa and Illinois. LOL!

I am think of putting together a Midwest Skiing guide book. The skiing isn't 1/2 bad and very cheap! I don't think I broke the 30 dollar barrier all season!

Thanks for the compliment !

Robbie
SkiBumMSP
March 26, 2007
Member since 12/8/2004 🔗
224 posts
Quote:


I am think of putting together a Midwest Skiing guide book. The skiing isn't 1/2 bad and very cheap! I don't think I broke the 30 dollar barrier all season!

Thanks for the compliment !

Robbie




I loved your write-up on Snow Trails just north of Columbus, OH. My older brother used to ski-patrol there and I've skied many a run myself, as I've lived in Columbus for a short bit before moving to Virginia. My parents where still living there, so of course, during Christmas, I'd have to take my skis. After spending a weekend skiing there when visiting and then coming back to Massanutten was pretty interesting! Made Massanutten actually look pretty darn big by comparison! However, that is a nice little, friendly place to ski. Granted, I am not going to make a special trip out there just to ski it, but if I am in the area, what the hell!

Did you ever get a chance to check out some of the ski areas in Wisconsin? As I am originally from Wisconsin, I remember Alpine and Cascade mountain. Also, I remember the very first time I've ever skied was at some rinky-dinky tiny little thing there in Wisconsin. I think it was called Tyrol Mountain or something like that. I remember it had two tow-ropes and a chair lift. I took up skiing in earnest when I moved to PA and we had this tiny little ski area up there in Treasure Lake. All of two slopes with a tow-rope, and then upgraded to a T-bar lift. It was maybe 200 feet vertical if we were lucky.

Also, I vaguely remember reading somewhere that Wisconsin actually has more ski areas than Colorado! Granted, all these areas are small and most likely, the total ski-able acreage of all these resorts put together would not match a single Colorado resort, but still. It is actually pretty amazing how much skiing there actually is in the mid-west, and like you said, many of these little areas are actually pretty nice and do offer some decent skiing for pretty cheap.
wgo
March 26, 2007
Member since 02/10/2004 🔗
1,360 posts
Quote:

Also, I remember the very first time I've ever skied was at some rinky-dinky tiny little thing there in Wisconsin. I think it was called Tyrol Mountain or something like that.




Tyrol Basin. When I was in grad school in Madison I would ski there and Cascade Mountain quite often, especially Cascade on friday nights (10 bucks w/ a college ID). Cascade is 450 vertical ft and Tyrol is 300 ft (but we always used to joke that it skied bigger than 300 ft, ha ha). I have very fond memories of both those places and if I ever find myself in wisconsin during the winter I will definitely try to ski one of them again. I'll tell you, night skiing in Wisconsin is certainly good training for learning to deal with eastern ice!

If you drive further north, to Northen Wisconsin and the Upper Penisula of Michigan, you get some pretty servicable ski areas. Still only 400-500 feet of vert, but 200-250 inches of snow per year. That much snow is gonna be fun, even if it is just a 400 ft hill!
oldensign - DCSki Columnist
March 27, 2007
Member since 02/27/2007 🔗
437 posts
I was all set to go to Tyrol Basin and up to Granite Peak @ Rib Mountain this week. Tyrol was offering lift tickets for 10 bucks! Granite Peak has rebuilt its mountain and now has almost 70 trails. However the warm weather has closed these and most of the ski areas in the Midwest. So I will be leaving my skis at home on future travels.

I still have a couple more articles on Midwest skiing in hopper for Scott.

Thanks for the support!
SkiBumMSP
March 27, 2007
Member since 12/8/2004 🔗
224 posts
Tyrol Basin! That's it!

I was checking their website out. Seems they've added a few more runs and lifts in the nearly 30 years since I was last there! I remember seeing the commercials on TV for Alpine Valley all the time during the winter, especially as it was the closest one to Beloit, where I am originally from. Unfortunately, my parents were not skiers by any stretch of the imagination, and the only reason we even got to go to Tyrol Basin that one time was because my father knew the guy that owned it at the time and got us hooked up with some free skiing there. Alas, I've never got to ski Alpine Valley or Cascade mountain, although one of my older brothers did as part of a group outing. The only reason I was able to ski as much in PA when we moved out there was because I was able to cross-county ski to the little ski area we had there and then change into alpine gear to go downhill skiing. And man, some of the snow dumps we'd get in to that little place. We spent more time skiing through the woods than we did on the actual slope!

Now, that Granite Peak, which I've never even knew about! That place looks like it would just about be worth making a special trip out for! Over 70 runs on some 700+ feet of vertical, with a ton of tree skiing and some pretty sweet looking expert terrain and moguls! From looking at the trail map, that place looks like it could even put Snowshoe and Seven Springs to shame! And believe me, having lived in Wisconsin, I know all to well about some of the dumps that could be had, but it could also get brutally cold as well (20 below anyone? Before Windchill? )!
wgo
March 28, 2007
Member since 02/10/2004 🔗
1,360 posts
Ah yes, Granite Peak. I went there a couple times in the years before moving out east, after they had expanded to 70+ runs. Given that its in the Midwest it is an OK area - somewhat steep, several moguls runs, some glades. However, it still does not come close to the better Mid-Atlantic areas for the following reasons:

1) Trail count inflation: I know that most areas do this, but even by this standard the number of "official" named trails to distict ways down is pretty high.

2) Slope flatness. The slopes can be described as having almost all their steepness in the first 1/3 of the trail length. Thus, you basically get 200-300 feet of good steepness and the rest is a greenish runout. Most of the glades are in this flat area.

3) Relative lack of snow: the area is far enough south that it really doesn't get that much snow - about 60 inches per year. They do manage to get the glades open wth this amount, but the opportunities to powder ski are limited, and coupled with the frequently icy midwest conditions can make the glades somewhat unpleasant, imho.

4) Expensive for a midwest area. You definitely break the $30.00 barrier there!

On the other hand Granite Peak is the area closest to Chicago with a "ski town" feeling, and I have had good times there. I guess I am just saying that the on-paper stats can make the area look comparable to some of the better areas in the Mid-atlantic, and I just don't think that is actually the case.

For a place in the midwest I would love to try out some day, go online and check out Mt Bohemia in Michigan. I've never been there (it's like a 11 hr drive from chicago) but that place would be awesome!

Thanks again for the opportunity to discuss Midwest skiing!
crunchy
March 28, 2007
Member since 02/22/2007 🔗
596 posts
Quote:

I remember seeing the commercials on TV for Alpine Valley all the time during the winter, especially as it was the closest one to Beloit,




holy smokes, i had no idea Alpine Valley was a ski area too. Ive been there a half-dozen times between 15-20yrs ago to see my old favorite musical act during the summer
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