Whether you come from out of town, are new to snowboarding, or just new to the Midwest. ‘Where to Snowboard in Chicago?’, is a question we hear most often in our store on the daily. When you think of snowboarding, the midwest is never the first, second, or even the third place you or anyone might think about. Thats ok don’t feel guilty.

Now will midwest snowboarding ever stack up to say Mammoth, Park City, Bear Mountain or most places out West? Of course not. But that is not to say you can not get your fill of great riding here. A few of the best parts of midwest riding include

  1. The snow. Annually the midwest on average can drop anywhere from 64 to 128 inches of fluffy white goodness.
  2. The options. You have many resorts to choose from depending how far you would like to travel. Chicago is central to a majority of these resorts ranging from states Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, and Michigan.
  3. The runs. While it may lack in vertical feet. It definitely makes up for in a number of other ways, like the number of trips up and down you can have in a day, and if you are a park junkie, this is a great way to get some reps. And finally Transworld Snow listed the top three spots in the midwest last year with the top spot going to Granite Peak in Wausau, Wisconsin. Tyrol Basin and Nobs Nub followed right behind.

Now I know a lot of us are not willing to make a five hour trek to go ride down a few hundred feet. Understandable. So hear are a few spots that are not too far but also well worth the price of admission. 

Devil's Head Resort - Trailmap

Devil’s Head Resort

Baraboo, Wisconsin. 189 Miles

Located in south central Wisconsin, just north of Madison sits Devil’s Head resort. Devil’s Head features one of the highest verticals in the midwest at 500 ft. As well as fantastic groomed runs. Added this season is the addition of a new quad chair lift (their second in three years) which will access their intermediate to advanced runs. If their is one thing boarders hate more than anything it is spending twice as much time going up than coming down. Devil’s head helps resolve this issue. Devil’s Head is one of the favorites among riders local to the Chicago area. 

Chestnut Mountain - Trailmap

Chestnut Mountain

Galena, Illinois. 164 Miles

The “mountain” part may get some people stoked in to thinking they will be barreling down some steeps. Not necessarily the case. It is just in the name. The self proclaimed diamond in the rough comes in just under 500 vertical ft. at 475 ft. Chestnut is a smaller resort, (under 100 acres), with 19 very wide trails, and  a 7 acre terrain park. If you are the kind of rider that like to take luxurious wide turns while riding to extent your runs, well then partner Chestnut might be right up your alley. Midwesterners love their elbow room and Chestnut Mountain is no exception. Thanks to two quads, four triple chair lifts, and three surface lifts, lines are virtually non-existent. A cherry on top of a cherry!

Granite Peak Trailmap

Granite Peak

Wausau, Wisconsin. 275 Miles

Voted the number one park in the midwest by TransWorld Snowboarding 2011. You will be miles from disappointment If you are willing to travel the distance to this park riders heaven. Only about an hour further than the rest on this list, Granite Peak brings six parks to the table, with more than fifteen jumps (featuring a fun-as-hell quintuple line), 35-plus jibs (including identical length box-to-rail progression sets), and a park staff who ride with the guests on the daily. The locals are friendly, loyal, and always open to sharing their parks. After all, there’s nothing quite like a bit of that good ol’ Midwest hospitality. And with a vertical of 700 ft., one of the highest in the midwest, you will be sure to get plenty of lengthy runs in.

Tyrol Basin - Trailmap

Tyrol Basin

Mount Horeb, Wisconsin 172 Miles

Moving up one spot from third to second last year in TransWorld best midwest parks category is Tyrol Basin. While it only comes in at a measly 300 vertical ft and may only have 30 acres of terrain, but it does maximize the area by constantly changing up the features. By reserving a third of its three-dozen rails it’s able to rotate them to keep things fresh. Keep an eye out for the 24-foot Barn Box and the Flex rail, which can be set up in multiple combos up to 70-feet long. Jumps range from 15-to 60-feet. Definitely a true hot spot in the midwest.

So there you have it. If you are trying to get the best riding day possible this winter, the previous four locations will be your best bet. If you are looking to barrel down some serious steeps, well you might want to keep traveling west. You won’t find them here. On the other hand, if you want to get a gajillion runs in a day and spend the time in some quality parks. This is where you want to be. 

If you are local to the city but do not have a way to get to any of these spots, you have options. We here at Windward will be sponsoring chartered bus trips this season to and from Devil’s Head and Chesnut Mountain. Call Windward Boardshop  to speak with an employee or check the website for further information.  

Ride On!