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Fox River Grove ski jump circa 1910
Illinois Ski Area Guide -- Very Complete
- Chestnut Mountain Resort, Galena • 139 skiable acres (?!) on 475' vertical
Specs: Summit elevation: 1040'; Base elevation: 565'. 8 Lifts: 2 quads, 3 triples, 3 surface. Uphill Capacity: 10,000/hr. Terrain Mix: 30-40-30. Longest Run: 3500'. Season: usually late December through mid-March. Night Skiing 7 days. Rentals. Annual Snowfall: 48". Snowmaking: 100%.
The SKInny: Chestnut is certainly the class of Illinois skiing: good conditions, "regular" trails, and a decent vertical as midwest resorts go. The 139 skiable acres is a bit much; estimate it more in the 60-75 acre range. Downside is that it gets crowded, sometimes very crowded, and has the usual weather issues. When conditions are on, it's fantastic. On a good day you can (almost) imagine yourself at Stowe.
Signature Trail: Warpath. (coincidentally, this is the trail shown here in the photo)
- Four Lakes Village, Lisle • 25 skiable acres on 100' vertical
Specs: 6 surface lifts. Terrain Mix: 30-70-0. Longest Run: 800'. Annual Snowfall: 48". Snowmaking: 100%.
The SKInny: Crowded, leans more toward snowboarding these days. Lots of snowboarders. Skiers might be better off hoofing it up that hill at the local golf course. But when you gotta, absolutely gotta ski, you'll be glad Four Lakes is so close to Chicago. Great for taking the beginner prior to that winter vacation. Snowboarders are a blight on modern society.
- Norge Ski Club, Fox River Grove • Ski jumping facilities
The SKInny: Illinois can proudly say that it is home to the oldest continuously operating ski area in the United States. So what if it happens to be ski jumping only. Memberships available, volunteers "snow" the hill, training, competitions, you name it. Great group of people. If you're looking for more information about ski jumping, please click here for an "introduction" on the Snow/WinterSports website.
- Plumtree Ski Area, Lake Carroll • 25 skiable acres on 210' vertical Not open to the general public
Specs: 2 Lifts: 1 double, 1 t-bar. Terrain Mix: 65-35-0
Longest Run: 1,500 ft. Annual Snowfall: 44". Snowmaking.
The SKInny: Former public area, Plumtree is now a private club for Lake Carroll property owners, guests, etc. Aging equipment, wide open bowls, decent place. Look up "typical skiing in the Midwest" and you'll find Plumtree Ski Area. Wish there were more Plumtrees open to the general public.
- Ski Snowstar, Taylor Ridge • 25 skiable acres on 228' vertical
Specs: 6 Lifts: 2 quads, 2 doubles, 2 rope tows. Terrain Mix: 10-50-40. Uphill capacity: 4,800/hr. Longest Run: 2000'. Season: usually December through March. Night Skiing 7 days. Rentals. Annual Snowfall: 36". Snowmaking: 100%.
The SKInny: Another "upside down" ski area (lodge at the top). Certainly gets crowded -- too crowded -- but certainly does a good job moving people up the hill. Good family atmosphere.
Signature Trail: Cosmos
- Villa Olivia, Bartlett • 15 skiable acres on 180' vertical
Specs: 4+ Lifts: 1 quad, 3 surface. Terrain Mix: 40-50-10. Uphill capacity: 2,400/hr. Longest Run: 1300'. Season: usually December through March. Night Skiing 7 days. Rentals. Annual Snowfall: 25". Snowmaking: 100%.
The SKInny: Small family type operation, golf course that added skiing to keep the cash flowing in the winter. Lodge mid-hill, pleasantly crowded little ski area, fun atmosphere -- especially for kids. Snowboarders tend to stay in the terrain park area.
Lifts We don't consider a ski area's tubing-only lifts as part of the total. Signature Trail Is mostly subjective. Whether it's history, reputation, the view, or degree of difficulty...it's the run you have to do, even if it isn't necessarily the best the resort has to offer.
Finally, a note about ski area statistics: Although it's hard to believe, some ski areas are (gasp!) less than truthful with their numbers. Like the guy who lies about his, uh, shoe size, some ski areas believe that inflated numbers make their resort sound more appealling. When these numbers are obviously questionable, we put a note: (?!) and will attempt to verify the legitimacy of the claim.
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