There aren’t a whole lot of family ski resorts in Illinois — most residents head to resorts in other Midwestern states, and even Chicagoans (or those who vacation in The Windy City) opt for day trips to Alpine Valley and Wilmot, just over the border in Wisconsin. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a Illinois family ski vacation, though. The state offers a handful of small, tame and budget-friendly resorts, especially perfect for families with new skiers.
Chestnut Mountain Resort
Among the features offered at Chestnut Mountain Ski Resort are a seven-acre terrain park, ski lessons for all ages, and 19 runs on which to practice newly learned skills. Summertime is just as fun, with a giant alpine slide that affords views of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin! The resort is just 15 minutes from the charming town of Galena, and — most importantly — it’s affordable, with themed daily deals to [ski] boot. Accommodations are available onsite, as well, and kids stay free Sunday through Thursday!
Recommended Nearby Hotel: Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa
Four Lakes Ski and Snowboard Area
For those who live in or are visiting Chicago, Four Lakes Ski and Snowboard Area provides an easy, fun day trip — it’s just 40 minutes from The Windy City. Families enjoy skiing and snowboarding, along with lessons to learn both sports; children as young as age 4 can participate in the Little Bumper Multiple Ski Lesson Program. Other offerings include terrain areas, seven tow ropes, restaurants and a lodge, should you wish to spend the night.
Recommended Nearby Hotel: BEST WESTERN Naperville Inn
Snowstar Winter Sports Park
Ski Snowstar Winter Sports Park is very much a place for families, with fairly docile runs on just 28 acres of land. It offers a terrain park and snow tubing opportunities, as well as ski lessons and a Magic Carpet lift specifically designed for beginners. Rates are reasonable, too — children age 6 and under ski free with a paying adult, and adult tickets start at just $16.
Recommended Nearby Hotel: Holiday Inn Express Moline – Quad Cities Area
A small ski resort in Bartlett, Illinois, Villa Olivia is especially ideal for families with new skiers. The resort offers tame terrain for skiing and snowboarding; lessons and a Snow Kids Program that teaches youngsters safety on the slopes are also available. Snow tubing is offered every Thursday through Sunday.
Recommended Nearby Hotel: Chicago Marriott Northwest
Raging Buffalo Snowboard Ski Park
Children as young as 10 months old have put their feet on a snowboard at Raging Buffalo Snowboard Ski Park! There’s even a dedicated area for tiny tykes, Riglet Park, where youngsters navigate the snow on boards designed for learners. Located in Carpentersville, Illinois, the ski park also offers children’s lessons for two age groups: 5 and under and 6 to 12.
Recommended Nearby Hotel: Comfort Suites Elgin
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