Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports is about 15 minutes from home, close enough that we could walk if we wanted to. Until Friday, we’d never been there, snobbishly thinking it not worth our time. We’re discovering quickly though, that in the Midwest, it’s just about the fun, not about the elevation or vertical feet, or location. And, if we were to have a neighborhood ski hill, this would be it, so why not?
On paper, there’s not much there: 5 runs and 7 Tow Ropes. The funny part is, we had a blast. After figuring out the rope tows (Munchkin struggled to the end), we slid up, then slid down. I lazily carved turns (not easy with the minimal speed), Munchkin bombed down in a straight line, while Gaigai was somewhere in between. Tazer explored the terrain park, the only skier in the bunch.
While he was thus occupied, the remaining three of us warmed up on the beginner’s slopes and then spent the rest of the morning on the Intermediate. For some reason, the Advanced Area never opened – it didn’t look much different than the Intermediate, but Tazer said it looked a bit steeper and bumpier.
Between the manmade snow and what Mother Nature had provided, we had plenty of fun once we figured out the proper way to ski it. Even at its most crowded, we never had to wait long — I’d hate to see it on a busy weekend though.
The negatives: only one drinking fountain in the lodge and the slipperiness of the intermediate rope tow. It was hard enough to get Munchkin up the slope as it was – a slick rope didn’t help matters. On the positive side, our gloves were torn up a lot less than if the rope had been rough.
While minimal in size, vertical feet, and amenities, Four Lakes is handy to have so close to home. While we’re planning on making efforts to visit as many areas as possible, we’ll come back at least one more time this winter as a family. I’ve also inquired into getting educated as a ski patroller, figuring something so close to home is the way to go. More on that later.
Other Midwest ski areas: