Swiss Valley, located in Jones, Mich., just across the Indiana border, has been serving skiers from both states since the early 1970s . The ski area is located just north of South Bend and Elkhart, within an hour's drive of over a million people. It's not big, but with a staff of around 60 to 70 instructors Swiss Valley annually introduces thousands to the sport of skiing each season.
The area is a cruising delight with 11 unnamed runs, a 225-foot vertical drop and seven lifts including two quads and a triple chair. Wide blue cruisers and expansive beginner runs allow you plenty of room to carve long, lazy GS turns. The "base area," located along a ridge overlooking the ski runs at this upside-down ski area, is a collection of quaint Swiss-like chalets giving it the appearance of a miniature Swiss village; hence the name.
The Valley's season pass sale is underway and now is the time to buy. Individual passes are $249 until Sept. 30. The pass goes up to $309 after that. Family passes are also on sale. A family of two is $399, three is $549, and four is $699 prior to the end of the month. The passes will go up respectively $70, $80 and $90 Oct. 1.
You might consider a Big Ten Pass if you aren't a frequent skier or rider. It allows you to visit 10 times anytime throughout the season, no restrictions. The pass is $229 through the end of the month, which is a savings of $131 over buying 10 individual lift tickets. If you're a night rider they also have the Twilight Ten Pass, which allows you to ski or ride 10 times throughout the season from 4-10 p.m. every day except Saturday 3-7 p.m. The pass is $160 through the end of the month.
A nice thing about being a Swiss Valley season pass holder is that you get half-off daily lift tickets at Shanty Creek and Caberfae Peaks, Mich., and Wilmot Mountain, Wis.; half-off midweek lift tickets at Crystal Mountain, Mich.; and, $10 off full day lift ticket at Chestnut Mountain, Ill.