The hills of Ohio’s midsection emerge out of the state’s northern flatland like gumdrops that turn white with snow as they catch the westerly weather moving across the Buckeye state.

One of the main beneficiaries of that effect is the state’s biggest ski area, Mad River, sitting right on top of one of those gumdrops.

With slopes scheduled to open Dec. 8, Mad River is readying its four terrain parks, 24 trails served by 14 lifts, tows and carpet lifts and Ohio’s largest snowmaking system.

While it draws funsters mostly from Columbus (read: Ohio State students) to the southeast, it’s also only 70 minutes northwest of Dayton. Perfect, in other words, for a great winter escape.

This season, Mad River’s College Days & Nights promotion gets even better. Now, students with ID can ski, board or tube (tubing starts at 5 p.m.) Fridays until 3 a.m. Saturday for just $20.

Or, if you’re a frequent skier, take advantage of Mad River’s “Book of Five” deal. Buy a fully transferable five-pack of lift tickets for just $175, available only through Dec. 15. Or, students can spread out the fun and the savings amongst themselves. Or, take the family tubing on Thursdays from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. for just $50 for up to four.

For this season, Mad River’s spruced up its signage and added a new gladed area served by a two-place chair lift, and replaced a quarter of its rental gear. Preview your trip to the resort, now in its 51st season, at its website.