Are you ready to hit the slopes this winter? Most of Ohio’s ski resorts opened this weekend and those that didn’t will follow suit shortly.
Winter is here and for too many of us that just means a long five-month wait until the warm weather comes back.
But for others with a zest for winter outdoor adventures, it’s an exciting time of the year to enjoy beautiful snowy landscapes and the exhilarating speeds of downhill skiing.
The snow-making machines at area ski resorts are pumping out man-made powder like there’s no tomorrow. Mad River Mountain opened for the season this past Saturday. Many other ski resorts in Ohio’s “Snow Belt” also opened over the weekend.
Big thrills down hills are very attainable in this part of Ohio. Many in the area actually feel very lucky to be located on the edge of Ohio’s snow belt.
There are eight ski resorts within a 25-minute to 3-hour drive from the Urbana/Indian Lake area. They offer skiing, snowboarding, tubing, lessons, rentals concessions and more.
Snowfall has actually already begun this year and snow cannons have been cranking out even more of the fluffy stuff, stockpiling on-top of mother nature’s own fresh powder for the gnarly down-hill enthusiasts to enjoy – even if it warms up a bit for a few days.
Additionally, ski resorts in Ohio also benefit from the regions lake-effect snows from Lake Erie, which ensures natural snowfall from December through early March. Here are the eight closest ski resorts to the Urbana/Indian Lake area:
Mad River Mountain
Just a short drive from the Urbana/Indian Lake area, this Zanesfield, Ohio resort is tops on the list as a local favorite. With over 20 trails, 12 lifts, a 1,460-foot mountain elevation, 4 terrain parks, Ohio’s largest tubing park, 144 ski-able acres and a 300-foot vertical drop, you can’t help but have a good time here.
It is also home to Ohio’s largest snow-making system, with 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 new grand resort lodge. It is impressive, 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.
This new lodge, which opened in grand fashion last year, is Ohio’s largest ski lodge. It’s a stunning two-level lodge which features a loft area on the second level with elevator access, a live music stage, bar, retail space, cafe, a slope side deck with impressive views of the mountain and seating for over 300 skiers and snowboarders. The first level dining area has double the seating of the previous lodge with over 800 seats.
Located near Mansfield, Ohio, this ski resort has 12 slopes and 13 trails with a maximum 300-foot vertical drop, a tubing park, a terrain park and a ski school.
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, 18 trails, and 15 lifts. Lift tickets and passes are valid at both parks. 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, Ohio longest half pipe, a tubing park, a learning center and a chalet.
Big Creek Ski Area
Located in Painesville, Ohio this resort offers 9 slopes, skiing, snowboarding and tubing with a maximum 175-foot vertical drop.
Clear Fork Adventure Park
Located near Mansfield, this place has re-invented itself into a multi-adventure park and offers great snow tubing featuring steep, fast 600 foot runs, sledding and snowmobile riding.
Perfect North Slopes
Located just outside of Cincinnati in Lawrenceburg, Indiana this tri-state favorite has 20 lifts and over 80 trails for skiers and snowboarders. Check out the 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.
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.
Ron Brohm is a regular contributor to this newspaper.