9 Best Ski Resorts in Wisconsin for Families

by Simon Knott | Updated On: June 27th, 2022
green jacket

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Thanks to its hilly terrain Wisconsin has become something of a Mecca for skiers and to date, there are 35 resorts scattered across the State. We’ve taken the pick of the bunch, so take a look through to find which resort fits your family’s needs.

Some Wisconsin resorts are long-established, often created originally to simply give locals somewhere to ski. In many resorts, these family origins still exist giving authenticity, so if you’re looking for somewhere a bit quieter where you can develop your skills, then Wisconsin has plenty of choices.

Our Top Picks

    9. Sunburst Ski Resort

    Ski Resort 7

    Family Skiing

    Sunburst Ski Resort was created in 1961 by the passion of two Wisconsin families, who wanted their own place to ski together. They cleared the hill for the main run and installed a 1200 ft T-bar from Germany and named their hill Wunderberg or miracle castle.

    Located in the small rural town of Kewaskum, Wisconsin, Sunburst draws skiers from Milwaukee, only 30 minutes away, and from Green Bay to the north in just under an hour.

    Now the resort boasts three chairlifts, 11 runs, two terrain parks, snowmaking, grooming, and the claim to the world’s largest tubing hill in the world. The tubing park has more than 40 chutes with a quarter of a mile run and a 90-ft drop. Speeds of up to 30 mph are easily achieved and two magic carpet lifts take the strain out of getting back up the hill.

    Fun for Kids

    Sunburst Ski School prides itself on its private lessons for kids aged five and up and of all abilities. The lessons are aimed at getting beginners comfortable in their gear and starting to learn their way around slopes.

    For skiers returning to the slopes or those wanting to up their game instructors can customize lessons to work on particular aspects and so help you achieve your skiing goals.

    Sunburst Ski School also offers Snow Much Fun Lessons which are designed for the family to learn together for ages 5+. Ski and snowboard instructors will concentrate their attention on those in the group who need the most help.

    Even the youngest are catered for in Sunburst Ski School, where the Snowman Adventure Club offers a fun introduction to skiing and equipment for youngsters aged 3 to 5.

    Off the Slopes

    Kewaskum is a rural location but there are plenty of lodging opportunities a short drive away. These are mostly mid-priced chain hotels and motels aimed at the family market.

    What we love about Sunburst Ski Resort

    • Sunburst is a compact resort with enough variety to entertain beginners
    • The tubing park is a must for families
    • The lessons are well thought out and adaptable for different ages and abilities

    Sunburst Ski Resort Stats

    Summit Elevation:1100 ft / 335 metres
    Skiable terrain: 37 acres
    Lifts:10
    Runs:11

    8. Nordic Mountain

    Ski Resort 6

    Family Skiing

    Ideal for first-timers and beginners, Nordic Mountain offers a simple ski area to practice skills in a safe environment. Set in a 60-acre park Nordic Mountain rises to 1137 ft (346 m) with a vertical drop of 265 ft (81 m). The eight straightforward runs are mostly blue and green with a handful of blacks. There is a separate learning area at the base of the hill, which has two conveyor lifts.

    There are three different terrain parks, small, medium, and large, and a tubing park to one side. All ages are allowed on the tubing park but there is a 42-inch height requirement. You can choose from different chutes, some faster than others, where you can get close to 40 mph. Getting back up to the top is easy with the conveyor lift.

    Lift tickets can be bought daily, weekly and for the season also. Nordy’s Pub in the lodge is a great place to warm up by the fire and stoke up on sandwiches, wraps, and pizza.

    Fun for Kids

    Private lessons are offered by trained instructors for ages 3+ for skiing and 5+ for snowboarding. Lessons last 1.5 hours and additional students can be added for $39.

    Lift tickets and equipment rental are not included but can be reserved at the time of booking. Pre-booking is recommended, as the classes are popular.

    There are several multiweek group courses aimed at different age groups throughout January and February, as part of the Academy at Nordic Mountain. For those with a need for speed, the Nordic Mountain Racing course offers an introduction to downhill racing for those aged 8+ and who have reasonable skills on the runs.

    The tubing run is a great activity for all the family to join in.

    Off the Slopes

    There is no resort lodging at Nordic Mountain but the resort has partnered with numerous independent lodging and restaurant companies in the locality, which are listed on the website. There are plenty of nearby inns and motels close to Wild Rose, as well as holiday rentals on the shore of Lake Winnebago.

    What we love about Nordic Mountain

    • It’s an easy, day ski resort that is set up for first time and beginner skiers
    • The tubing park is a fun way to get the whole family involved
    • Green Bay is one hour away and Madison and Milwaukee are two hours by road
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    Nordic Mountain Stats

    Summit Elevation:1137 ft / 346 metres
    Skiable terrain: 60 acres
    Lifts:7
    Runs:16

    7. Mont du Lac

    skiresort5

    Family Skiing

    Mont du Lac Ski and Golf Resort is a year-round destination in the far northern tip of Wisconsin on the State line with Minnesota. The closest small city is Superior, which is on the westernmost tip of Lake Superior.

    The ski resort has 12 runs and four lifts, and the site is spread over a 10-acre western-style bowl. The longest run is 3000 ft and there is a 320-ft vertical drop. The tubing village is situated close to the Base Lodge, where the chutes are divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced.

    Dining on the runs is easy thanks to the Base Bar and Restaurant lower down and Trophy Lodge perched on top of the ski hill. Both restaurants have menus of popular items such as burgers, wraps, pizza, and sandwiches.

    Fun for Kids

    All instructors at Mont du Lac are PSIA/AASI trained and certified. Group ski and snowboard lessons are very popular, and booking is recommended. Groups consist of the first eight people to sign up aged 9+. Lessons last for 90 minutes and take place throughout the day at weekends and at 5 PM during the week.

    Private lessons operate on the same basis but for kids from 2+ up to a group of three.

    The Mont du Lac Adventure Club is ideal for kids and teenagers aged 3-17. The aim is to have fun but at the same time build on existing skills, improve confidence, and learn about etiquette and safety while skiing.

    Off the Slopes

    Mont du Lac offers a number of quality, on-site lodges, and cabins for rent. In addition, an RV park offers pitches for rent throughout the year. For those preferring to lodge outside the resort, the nearby town of Superior has plenty of hotels and inns close to the shores of Lake Superior.

    What we love about Mont du Lac

    • The resort is spread over a compact 10-acre western-style bowl
    • There are two restaurants on the mountain to speed up service
    • There is a variety of quality lodging on-site, from cabins to the RV park

    Mont du Lac Stats

    Summit Elevation:10677 ft / 3254 metres
    Skiable terrain: 400 acres
    Lifts:3
    Runs:10

    6. Christie Mountain

    Christie Mountain

    Family Skiing

    Christie Mountain ski area was designed and built by a couple, George, and Pat Sorenson, who opened it for business in 1977. The resort is located close to the small, rural village of Bruce, which is 120 miles east of Minneapolis.

    For a smaller resort of only 42 acres Christie Mountain packs in a total of 30 runs. 11 rated beginner, six rated medium, seven rated difficult, and six rated extremely difficult.

    There is a vertical drop of 350 ft and the longest run is just over 4000 ft long. Coverage shouldn’t be a problem as 90% of the trails are covered by the snowmaking facilities

    Fun for Kids

    Skis, snowboards, and even Telemark skis are available for rental on-site, along with poles and helmets. For tuition, the Kinder School is for absolute beginners from 3 to 7 years. The aim is to teach kids the basics of skiing through the fun of playing. Ski rental isn’t included in the price of the lesson but under 8’s are entitled to a free lift ticket.

    Private lessons are available for all ages and can be organized on an individual basis to concentrate on specific goals or extended to include other members of the family or traveling party.

    For groups, there are two options the Never Ever Group Lessons, for those eight and older who have never skied before, and the Refresher Group Lessons, for those looking to brush up on previous skills.

    Snow tubing is ever popular, and you can choose between an easy chute that glides you to the bottom or taking in the bumps and jumps of the fast lane. The conveyor lift helps you recover on your way back up.

    Off the Slopes

    There are numerous budget and mid-priced motels, inns, and hotels located around nearby Bruce. Similarly, for condos and house rentals, Airbnb and VRBO offer a good selection.

    What we love about Christie Mountain

    • The resort was created as a family project and still retains that feel
    • There is a good variety of runs, from beginner through to expert
    • 90% of the runs are covered by snowmaking

    Christie Mountain Stats

    Summit Elevation:1650 ft / 502 metres
    Skiable terrain: 45 acres
    Lifts:6
    Runs:33

    5. Cascade Mountain

    Ski Resort 4

    Family Skiing

    Cascade Mountain has developed to become one of the top day trip resorts in the Midwest. Communication has been part of the key with Chicago just three hours away, Milwaukee less than two, and Madison just 30 minutes.

    With these size populations in easy reach, weekends can get crowded but fortunately, the design of the ski area still makes the trip worthwhile.

    A recent phased resort upgrade costing $9 million has improved runs, lifts, snowmaking, and grooming, which has added to its popularity. On the mountain, there are two high-speed quad chairlifts, as well as nine other lifts, so moving skiers uphill during busy times presents no problem.

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    In total, there are 48 trails, 38% rated beginner, 40% rated intermediate and 21% rated expert. There are four terrain parks and 15 snow tubing lanes. The whole resort spans 175 acres, of which 125 acres are floodlit for night skiing. The highest elevation is 1280 ft (390 m) with an overall vertical drop of 460 ft (140 m).

    Fun for Kids

    Lessons are conducted by qualified instructors and can be adapted to accommodate first-timers right up to racing enthusiasts. For a flat fee of $120 up to 5 members of the same family or group traveling together can join in the lesson.

    Lessons are popular so pre-booking is advised. Students need to organize their own lift ticket and equipment rental prior to the lesson (not included in the lesson price).

    The tubing park has designated lanes and snowmaking ensures there is always good coverage. There are no minimum age limits for tubing and so the decision is left for parents to make. A magic carpet to one side transports tubers back up the hill.

    Off the Slopes

    Although there is no lodging on-site there are numerous budget and mid-priced motels, inns, and hotels in the local vicinity. Similarly, for condos and house rentals, Airbnb and VRBO offer a good selection.

    What we love about Cascade Mountain

    • Recent investment has upgraded the runs, equipment, and snowmaking
    • 125 acres of the resort are floodlit for night skiing
    • There is plenty of mid-priced lodging in motels, hotels, and condos in the locality

    Cascade Mountain Stats

    Summit Elevation:1280 ft / 390 metres
    Skiable terrain: 125 acres
    Lifts:11
    Runs:48

    4. The Whitecap Mountains

    Whitecap
    Photo by Electronker licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    Family Skiing

    Whitecap Mountains Resort is located about four hour’s drive from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Nearby Gogebic-Iron County Airport services flights to Detroit and Minneapolis.

    The 43 runs are serviced by five lifts spread over three of the ancient Penokee Mountains, including Thunderhead, Eagle’s Nest, and Whitecap, which all together extend for more than 400 acres. The terrain is diverse and with more than 200 in of snowfall per season coverage is good for most months in winter.

    Outside of downhill skiing and snowboarding the resort offers extensive cross-country and snowshoeing trails that extend across frozen Weber Lake, as well as ice fishing and ice skating. Snowmobiling is popular too and you can either bring your own or rent one in the resort. Trail six is the dedicated route for snowmobiles.

    Fun for Kids

    Lessons at Whitecap Mountains Resort can be adapted for all ages and abilities, whether for completely new skiers or those returning after a long break. Lessons are for two or four hours and can be organized as an individual, one-on-one tuition, or as groups of up to 4 to reduce the cost.

    Off the Slopes

    Family-friendly resort lodging can be reserved in either the hotel or in the selection of private home rentals. In the hotel, guests enjoy ski-in, ski-out access, free parking, and continental breakfast. Additionally, there is a large indoor pool and hot tub. The hotel is pet friendly by arrangement. The newly opened restaurant and bar offer sandwiches at lunchtime and burgers, brats, hot dogs, pulled pork, soup, and chili.

    What we love about Whitecap Mountains Resort

    • Whitecap Mountains Resort is easily accessible from Minneapolis, Detroit, and Green Bay
    • A mid-size resort of 400 acres and reliable snowfall means there is good skiing for beginners and intermediates
    • There are activities beyond downhill skiing, such as cross-country and snowshoeing trails, as well as snowmobiling

    Whitecap Mountains Resort Stats

    Summit Elevation:1750 ft / 533 metres
    Skiable terrain: 400 acres
    Lifts:5
    Runs:83

    3. Bruce Mound

    skiresort3

    Family skiing

    Bruce Mound was started as a private ski club in 1948, then Clark County took over the reins in 1960 and has run it since. Located in rural Wisconsin, Bruce Mound is halfway between Minneapolis to the west and Green Bay to the east.

    The resort is laid out over one mountainside with the trails fanning over it through cuttings in the trees. There are 10 trails altogether, a few ideals for beginners along with some more challenging blacks for intermediates. One triple-seat chair services the main runs, while a T-bar and rope tow provide the lifts further down.

    The resort has seen considerable investment recently and now has good snowmaking and grooming facilities, along with a new chalet and restaurant. The trails are all lit for evening skiing.

    The longest slope extends for 3000 ft and descends over 375 vertical feet. For families on a budget, Bruce Mound comes highly recommended. The resort also comes with a smaller terrain park, snowmobile trails through the woods, a full rental shop, and a ski patrol.

    Fun for Kids

    Lessons are organized for the end of the week starting at 5.30 and 7 pm on Fridays or at 11 am or 1 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Lessons outside of these times may be possible and need to be discussed with the office.

    A smaller tubing run can be found at the base of the resort, which has five lanes.

    Off the Slopes

    Although there is no lodging on the hill at Bruce Mound there are plenty of family hotels and inns in the locality, as well as rental properties.

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    What we love about Bruce Mound

    • For a smaller family resort, Bruce Mound also has some more challenging black trails
    • Recent investment means the amenities are efficient
    • It’s good for quieter families who will enjoy the rural location

    Bruce Mound Stats

    Summit Elevation:1375 ft / 419.1 metres
    Skiable terrain: 40 acres
    Lifts:5
    Runs:12

    2. Mount Ashwabay, Salmo

    Ski Resort 2

    Family Skiing

    Located in north-western Wisconsin not far from the town of Bayfield, Mount Ashwabay is a small, day ski resort overlooking Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands in the distance. Run as a not-for-profit, Mount Ashwabay naturally relies on the generosity of volunteers and donors.

    As well to the recreational facilities Mount Ashwabay runs an Outdoor Education Foundation to promote the enjoyment of the outdoors for all age ranges. The resort covers 60 acres and has a chairlift and a drag lift to service the 10 runs on the hill. Equipment rentals and lift tickets can be purchased on the hill.

    The resort has an extensive trail system, which covers 25 miles (40 km) of classic and skate skiing trails with some great views of nearby Lake Superior in Bayfield, Wisconsin. Trails are regularly groomed and tracked by the staff and volunteers.

    There are also several trails for fat biking, snowshoeing, and dog walking.

    Fun for Kids

    Lessons are available for all ages and can be either one-on-one, for personalized instruction or a second person can join in at a concessionary rate. Lessons can be booked for 1 or 1.5 hours. Larger groups and families can be accommodated for lessons but these need to be organized through Mount Ashwabay.

    Off the Slopes

    Several local B&Bs and inns have partnered with Mount Ashwabay to offer competitive ski and stay packages, which are available from the website.

    Alternatively, there is a range of inns, hotels, and rentals available in nearby Bayfield, close to the shores of Lake Superior.

    What we love about Mount Ashwabay

    • Mount Ashwabay has plenty of scopes to keep beginners occupied
    • There are extensive trails for cross-country and skate skiing, which take in great views of Lake Superior
    • The resort has teamed up with local lodging providers to offer ski and stay packages

    Mount Ashwabay Stats

    Summit Elevation:1320 ft / 402 metres
    Skiable terrain: 65 acres
    Lifts:2
    Runs:12

    1. Granite Peak at Rib Mountain State Park

    Granite Peak
    Photo by vxla licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Family Skiing

    Well established since 1937 and among some of the very first resorts in the USA, Granite Peak provides reliable, family skiing in the Midwest. Spanning one wooded mountainside the resort covers more than 200 acres with more than 60 runs and a vertical fall of 700 ft. If you enjoy tree skiing Granite Peak has plenty of challenges.

    Runs are equally split between green and blue, so there is plenty of scope for practicing beginners, although several black runs are dotted over the resort. Recent upgrades include the lift system, which includes one six-seat and two four-seat high-speed chairs.

    Of the four terrain parks, two are designed for kids, which are located close to the Santa and Blitzen lifts, that service the nearby beginner area. Amenities at Granite Peak congregate around the base area with all you need for a day’s skiing, including rentals, ski school, lift tickets, food & drink, and lockers.

    Fun for Kids

    Granite Peak is well geared up for lessons for kids right through to adults, using certified instructors. For new and beginner skiers aged 3 to 12 years (snowboard lessons start from 7+) the One-Day Lesson Programs are particularly popular and need booking early.

    Lessons are available Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and holidays and can be taken in the morning or afternoon or as a full day with lunch provided. For more experienced kids there are two progressive courses spread over three weeks.

    The first, The Rail Riders program teaches the fundamentals of freestyle skiing. While the second course teaches youngsters to improve their downhill skiing and snowboarding, as well as using the lift system safely.

    If you want a change from skiing one afternoon, kids can work off some energy at Sylvan Tubing Hill in nearby Wausau, which has six slopes. You don’t even have to climb the hill; a lift drags you to the top on the tube.

    Off the Slopes

    For lodging, Granite Peak is just a 10-minute drive from downtown and nearby Wausau is a further 10 minutes. Both towns are large enough to feature a diverse range of restaurants, as well as hotels, motels, and rentals to suit all pockets.

    What we love about Granite Peak

    • Granite Peak is a mid-size resort, which will satisfy beginners and progressing skiers
    • Recent lift upgrades should ensure queues are kept to a minimum
    • Lessons are comprehensive and even include freestyle skiing

    Granite Peak Stats

    Summit Elevation:1942 ft / 592 metres
    Skiable terrain: 155 acres
    Lifts:7
    Runs:58

    Why Choose Wisconsin for Skiing

    Wisconsin is blessed with more than its fair share of day ski resorts, which means easier and quicker access and more importantly, longer on the slopes. Several resorts don’t have that much elevation, but their extensive snowmaking facilities ensure that coverage shouldn’t be a problem.

    All the resorts we featured offer lessons for kids and their parents by certified ski and snowboard instructors. Some resorts even offer family lessons, the results of which are no doubt picked over at dinnertime!

    Wisconsin resorts might not have Big Sky airs but the State more than makes up for it with family fun, great learning breaks, and affordability.


    How Did We Order This List?

    To help rank our top selection of ski resorts for this list we compared the following ranking factors:

    👨‍👩‍👦 Ranking Factor📈 Power to affect Rank
    Amount of Beginner Trails (Mi) 4x
    Amount of Skiing Area (Mi) 3x
    Cost of two adult tickets + child ticket1x
    How many magic carpet lifts1x

    We gave each factor its own weighting depending on how important we feel it is for family fun across all ages. For example, a resort with more beginner trails is higher ranked than a resort with a lower-priced family ticket – with all else being equal. That’s because while cost is a factor, it’s not a primary one. We may also use our editorial judgment to remove or add resorts that we believe should make the list.

    When taking all of this into account, gives us our awesome list above. We hope it was helpful in planning your next family ski vacation.


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    Best Ski Resorts for Families In Wisconsin

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