Sunburst Ski Area, located near Milwaukee, just completed a million dollar expansion of the ski area's support center and, although you may not notice, it translates into a smooth running operation that provides great skiing and riding. The expansion included a new maintenance facility, first-aid room, ski patrol training center, and the entire 10,000-square-foot building is now "green," heated with geo-thermal radiant in-floor heating. It also included state-of-the-art lighting for the ski hill that will help reduce energy costs.

Proprietors Jim and Kim Engel are celebrating 25 years of ownership this season. The ski hill was actually started in 1961 by a couple of families in Milwaukee who bought the land and erected a T-bar and a rope tow for family members to enjoy skiing close to home. Finding it was a lot of work, they sold it in 1971 to investors who named it Sunburst and operated it until the Engels purchased it in 1984.

They have added several new runs, new chairlifts, 100-percent lighting and snowmaking coverage of the ski hill, three terrain parks and one of the best tubing operations in the Badger State. It has its own chalet and 20 runs including eight, exciting luge-like lanes for a little extra thrill. The ski area now contains 10 runs, three surface lifts, three chairlifts, a trio of terrain parks for all rider levels, and one of the only double-black diamond runs, Holy Moly, found in lower Wisconsin.

While the ski area is not big, with a little over a 200-foot vertical drop, it makes the most of the terrain it has and offers a nice close economical choice for Milwaukee and Sheboygan snowsports enthusiasts. Lift tickets are $28 midweek and $38 on weekends.  Daily coupon vouchers are often offered online that you can redeem at the ski area.