The ski season is upon us. But don’t fret. You don’t have to dish out the big bucks traveling to Aspen, Utah or even northern Michigan to carve some powder on the slopes this year. Great ski resorts are practically in our own back yard in this part of Ohio.
How does having access to seven magnificent, really epic powder playlands with big downhill thrills, gnarly half-pikes and kicker jumps sound? All within under a hour drive to just up to a 3 hour drive to get there.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
Well, we got that, and much more, so let’s just go ahead and call them our “Magnificent Seven Ski Resorts.”
For all you snow fiends, now is the time to get out and shred some snow close to home this year.
The snow-making machines at area ski resorts are gearing up now to make man-made powder like there’s no tomorrow. Mad River Mountain will open for the season “very soon” according to their snow report hotline (within days). Other ski resorts in Ohio’s northern “Snow Belt” have already opened during a recent cold snap and the others will follow suit shortly.
Ski resorts in Ohio’s snow belt benefit from the region’s earlier colder temperatures and also from Lake-effect snows from Lake Erie, which ensure natural snowfall from December through early March.
But no need to worry if the snow doesn’t fall to our liking. All area resorts have powerful snow cannons that can crank out foot after foot of the man-made variety of the white fluffy stuff.
Our “Magnificent Seven” consists of 5 ski resorts in Ohio and 2 resorts in Indiana that are very drivable, have fantastic amenities, diverse terrain and vertical drops from 175 to over 400 ft.
Mad River Mountain
Just a short drive from the Urbana, Lima and Sidney areas, and just under an hour from Dayton and Fairborn areas, this Zanesfield, Ohio resort is tops on the list as a local favorite for most skiers, with over 20 trails, 12 lifts, a 1,460-foot mountain elevation, 4 terrain parks, 144 ski-able acres and a 300-foot vertical drop. It also has Ohio’s largest tubing park.
Also, home to Ohio’s largest snow-making system, Mad River Mountain has more than 120 fan guns that are able to pump out 7,000 gallons of water per minute covering the entire 144-acre resort with snow piling in as little as 72 hours.
Check out their impressive new grand resort lodge, with 46,000 square feet of space. The new lodge is almost twice the size of the old lodge, which was destroyed by a fire in 2015.
The stunning two-level modern ski lodge, Ohio’s largest, features a loft area on the second level with elevator access, a cafe, live music stage, bar, retail space, a slope side deck with stunning views of the mountain with seating for over 300 skiers and snowboarders. The first level dining area has double the seating of the previous lodge with over 800 seats.
Perfect North Slopes
Located just outside of Cincinnati in Lawrenceburg, Indiana this Tri-State favorite is just under an hour drive from Dayton and has 20 lifts and over 80 trails for skiers and snowboarders. Check out their gigantic tubing park and the 70,000-square-foot lodge. With a 400-foot vertical drop and a one mile run you can’t go wrong here.
Located near Mansfield, Ohio, Snow Trails started it all in this state being Ohio’s first ski resort and the first resort to make man-made snow. This premier facility encompasses over 80 acres with 12 slopes and 15 trails with a maximum 300-foot vertical drop, a tubing park, a terrain park and a ski school.
These two separate resorts, owned by the same management company, are located just five minutes apart in Peninsula and Sagamore Hills, Ohio. These resorts offer night skiing, a terrain park, a half pipe, 15 lifts and 18 trails, Lift tickets and passes are valid at both parks. Be sure to check out the Polar Blast tubing park at Brandywine for some great family fun.
This Chesterville resort, located in the heart of Ohio’s snow belt features 11 slopes, an extreme park, a tubing park, Ohio’s longest half pipe, a learning center and a chalet.
Big Creek Ski Area
Located in Painesville, Ohio this resort offers 9 slopes, great skiing, snowboarding and tubing with a maximum 175-foot vertical drop.
This popular resort, located in Central Indiana, has a whopping 25 lifts, 75 trails, a beautiful ski lodge and a super tubing park. The resort boasts a snow making system that can make 12 inches of snow in one night over the entire 65-acre resort.
Coming soon? (Bellbrook Mountain?)
A new ski resort may open to the public soon in Dayton. Bellbrook Mountain has a snow tubing park currently under construction and hopes to open in December of 2021. Bellbrook Mountain is actually the largest private ski resort in the Midwest. It is not open to the public.
Currently it has three private skiing and sledding runs over 1/4 mile long. Expansion plans include 4-6 snow tubing lanes open to the public with carpet conveyor/lifts and an addition of six to ten snow making machines.
Ron Brohm is a regular contributor to this newspaper.