The Midwest's Granite Peak Ski Area and Wausau, northern Wisconsin's largest city, make a good combination, as I discovered on a recent trip.
Standing in the town square, near where I stayed, the ski area illuminated the mountain rising above the town. That's often commonplace in the Rocky Mountains, but unique for the Midwest.
There's plenty going on in Granite Peak over the next couple of months:
The Family Festival arrives March 9-11. The package, which starts from $489 for a family of four, includes two nights' lodging, two days worth of lift tickets, ski and snowboard rental for the entire family, horse drawn wagon rides, a Saturday night bonfire and fireworks display.
Valentine's Weekend the Jefferson St. Inn, located on the town square, has a Romantic Getaway package that includes a two-night stay in a two-room suite with in-room whirlpool and fireplace, two lift tickets for two days and a couple's massage. The package starts from $595.
Midweek Bliss packages, two people, two nights, start from $399 and include breakfast, lift tickets, keepsake champagne glasses, chocolates, and a bottle of champagne.
Granite Peak does not have lodging, but works with a variety of motels, hotels and quaint B&Bs that package with the ski area. Check their website.
Granite Peak, with the Badger State's only high-speed, six-seat lift, offers over 70 trails with a 700-foot vertical drop, one of the largest around the Great Lakes. The base facilities include the historic Tenth Mountain Chalet, which is augmented by the 10,000-square-foot Sundance Chalet and a new outside patio area that features textured color-concrete, overhead heaters, an outdoor grill and seating for 400. Terrain ranges from beginner areas with Magic Carpet lifts to advanced rocky chutes on the upper mountain. Glade skiing is available in abundance, and their terrain parks have been rated among the best in the Heartland by Thansworld Snowboarding.
Wausau is a neat Midwest ski town. Scattered around the base of the mountain it offers, in addition to great lodging choices an excellent variety of restaurants for all price levels and a vibrant, active downtown with lots of cultural events, international entertainment and museums.
The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum houses an incredible collection of historic and contemporary paintings and sculptures focusing on birds. The museum has been named the "Best Indoor Bird Watching on the Planet," and is the only indoor venue listed on Wisconsin's DNR Great Birding Trail. The Yawkey House Museum, built in 1901, is a fine example of a wealthy lumberman's home. It's on the National Register.
Sylvan Hill Winter Recreation Area offers the longest tubing runs in the state, and some of the steepest. It features six chutes with two tow lines to keep tubes moving. Nine Mile Forest, one of Wisconsin's premier cross country centers, offers 33 kilometers of double-traced, skate-lane trails for all levels of expertise.
Wisconsin, known for its Supper Clubs, has a couple of the best in Wausau; Michael's Supper Club and Pine Woods Supper Club. Both offer themed décors and superb menus. Brew Pubs are also a Wisconsin tradition. Check out the Great Dane for fine handcrafted beers and a nice variety of menu selections.You have great skiing and winter outdoor activities combined with the fascinating culture, history and ambiance of this north woods city. It makes a nice combination for a multi-day ski vacation.